When I first started Linux, I fired up “Text Editor” and almost collapsed. What the hell was that? I like many Windows and Mac users, hit this bird on the first flyover of Linux. Now I could have used Open Office but I’m an old dog, and if I’m gonna be taught new tricks they better be damn good ones.
So I needed to bold a word in gedit, and couldn’t find a bold button in the title bar. “I can’t even bold what the !@#$.” This was my first foray in real text editor.
Why Not Bold
Once I was forced to use gedit, and hence to transfer the document to another computer and another application, I began to love how simple it was. It just worked. There were a few bolds and underlines to put in and that was it. Having manually converted documents like AppleWorks previously, I didn’t mind doing this.
Vim is Alot of Talk
People on the forums talked alot using Vim, and I thought “that archaic editor”. I’ve heard of it in the early days of computing and just decided to stay away from vi(vim). As the more I got involved in Linux and needing to do more complex tasks, the more my searchs found people talking about it. So, I gave Vim a try thinking that this will be a ten minute exercise before I frustratingly jack hammered the keyboard. What has occurred is a love affair of sorts (don’t get excited) and I haven’t looked back much since.
How to Start
I began by the Gentoo Wiki which has a nice basic tutorial for Vim. There is, as well,
vimtutor that is installed with Vim, which I didn’t know at the time – oh well. I learned the basics (and they can be learned in about an hour) then I became free to begin typing.
Of all the details I’ve read of vim, the most I’ve read over is how people customize Vim to their particular needs. The Vim homepage contains thousands of scripts to vary and add to the uses of the editor.
Vim isn’t everything but it tells me whats most important about writing – letters. In fact I’m typing this post on Vim and even posting from it.
Tomorrow, I’ll talk about customizing Vim and a few basic tips to setting it up.
- The best quick reference I found was Donald J. Bindner’s “Vi Reference Guide”