The question of moving vi to /bin

perryh at perryh at
Thu Jun 25 07:30:40 UTC 2009

> ed is an interactive program, and it has always been considered as
> such, at least since BSD 4.2.  Way back then there were three main
> editors, ex, vi, and ed.

ed goes back at least as far as the Bell Labs 6th Edition (PDP-11),
where it was the only editor in the distribution.  ex and vi (and
termcap, without which there would be no vi) were written later, at
UC Berkeley.

> If you had a nice video terminal then you used vi.  But if you
> were stuck using a hard copy terminal like a Decwriter, then you
> used ex.  And ed was the simplified (dumbed down) editor for
> newbies.

More like, ed was the "original" Unix editor; ex and vi presumably
were inspired, at least in part, by a desire to improve on ed's
limitations.  I doubt I'm the only one who muttered about the bother
of horsing around with ed, back when there was nothing else.

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