The question of moving vi to /bin

Jonathan McKeown j.mckeown at
Wed Jun 24 14:22:22 UTC 2009

On Wednesday 24 June 2009 12:59:13 Manish Jain wrote:

> About ed first. I might annoy a few people (which would gladden me in
> this particular case), but ed was just one of Ken Thompson's nightmares
> which he managed to reproduce in Unix with great precision. By no
> stretch of imagination would it qualify as an editor, because an editor
> can meaningfully edit only what it can first show. And ed has never had
> anything to show. A modern operating system like FreeBSD should really
> be kicking ed out of the distribution completely : bad ideas don't have
> to be necessarily perpetuated just for the sake of compliance with the
> original concept of Unix.

Hold on. I didn't claim it was a *good* editor - I was reacting to your 
suggestion that /bin didn't contain an editor at all. ed(1)'s interface is 
certainly minimal, but it's easy enough to list lines in the file you're 
editing, contrary to what you seem to be saying - to list every line of the 
file, try the two characters , l.

However, if you want a more visual editor, perhaps /usr/bin/ee (which is just 
over 10K bigger than /bin/ed) would do?

You also suggested doing away with ed and /rescue/vi altogether. You may not 
need statically-linked tools very often, but when you do need them, you 
*REALLY* need them. Don't suggest throwing them away without thinking through 
the implications.


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