Editor in minimal system (was Re: The question of moving vi to /bin)

Jonathan McKeown j.mckeown at ru.ac.za
Fri Jun 26 09:19:27 UTC 2009

This whole thread only really got started because I questioned Manish Jain's 
assertion that there was no editor available in /bin.

To summarise:

There are several editors available ranging from ed (49604 bytes) and ee 
(60920 bytes) (both with two library dependencies) to emacs (in ports; 
5992604 bytes and 50 library dependencies in my installation) and probably 

One of them, ed, is available in /bin and therefore in single-user mode.

Two of them, ed and vi, are available in /rescue and therefore in single-user 
mode even when something horrible happens and libraries are broken (although
/rescue/vi is currently slightly broken itself due to the termcap issue which 
is being fixed in -CURRENT and I hope will be MFC'd).

Anyone who wants /usr/bin/vi available in single-user mode can install FreeBSD 
with one large partition; or mount /usr once in single-user mode.

The original poster suggested that the fix for not having vi in /bin was not 
to have any editor at all in /rescue, which comprehensively misses the point 
of /rescue.

The only argument that's been advanced for moving vi seems to be ``vi should 
be in /bin because that's how I want it''. I find that argument unconvincing, 
but it's not up to me. I'm open to a sensible argument, if anyone has one.


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