[TUHS] Unix taste

John Cowan cowan at mercury.ccil.org
Sun Aug 3 02:07:04 AEST 2014

Doug McIlroy scripsit:

> Yes, ed for small things. It loads instantly and works in the current
> window without disturbing it. And it has been ingrained in my fingers
> since Multics days.

I use ex exclusively, being willing to trade a little standardosity for
a little more user-friendliness.  I have no trouble switching to ed if
necessary (as when /usr is not mounted, though nowadays /usr is typically
on the root file system).  It is certainly ingrained in my fingers;
I'm using it to write this email.  I usually write scripts for ed rather
than ex, as I usually write shell scripts for a Posix shell, not for bash.

Very occasionally I switch to vi mode, mostly so I can use the % key
when editing Lisp, or to edit a highly repetitive line (try changing
"one one one one one one one one one" to "one one one one one two one
one one one" with ed/ex alone!)  The only vi commands I know are h, j,
k, l, x, i, %, and most importantly Q, which gets me back to ex mode.

My answer to "What's your IDE?" is "Console running a bunch of 'ex'
tabs and one shell tab for typing 'make'."

> But for heavy duty work, I use sam, in Windows as well as Linux.

I've tried to switch to sam several times, but so far without success.
The lack of arrow keys is annoying for close-up editing, and since I use
Windows as a terminal to hack remote Solaris or Linux systems, the lack
of -r in the Windows version of sam is very annoying.

> Sam marries ed to screen editing much more cleanly than vi.  It has
> recursive global commands and infinite undo. Like qed (whence came
> ed's syntax) and Larry's xvi it can work on several files (or even
> several areas in one file) at once.

Agreed on all points.  See esr's "A Tale of Five Editors" at
<http://www.catb.org/esr/writings/taoup/html/ch13s02.html> (be sure to
click the "Next" link for his analysis).  I contributed much of the sam
and acme/wily sections.  (I know you've read this, since you are quoted
in it, but others here may not have.)

> I would guess that a vi adept would miss having arrow keys as well
> as the mouse, but probably not much else. Sam offers one answer for
> my question about examples of taste reigning in featurism during the
> course of Unix evolution.

"Reining in", please (peeve, peeve)

John Cowan          http://www.ccil.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
Adam [...] did not want the apple for the apple's sake, he wanted it only
because it was forbidden. The mistake was not forbidding the serpent;
then he would have eaten the serpent. --Mark Twain

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