Traditionally, most Linux distributions, including Fedora and Red Hat, install the cursor-based editors Vim and Emacs. Vim is an enhanced version of the Vi text editor used on the Unix system. These editors use simple, cursor-based operations to give you a full-screen format. You can start these editors from the shell command line without any kind of X Window System support. In this mode, their cursor-based operations do not have the ease of use normally found in window-based editors. There are no menus, scroll bars, or mouse-click features. However, the K Desktop and GNOME do support powerful GUI text editors with all these features. These editors operate much more like those found on Macintosh and Windows systems. They have full mouse support, scroll bars, and menus. You may find them much easier to use than the Vi and Emacs editors. These editors operate from their respective desktops, requiring you first have either KDE or GNOME installed, though the editors can run on either desktop. Vi and Emacs have powerful editing features that have been refined over the years. Emacs, in particular, is extensible to a full-development environment for programming new applications. Newer versions of Emacs, such as GNU Emacs and XEmacs, provide X Window System support with mouse, menu, and window operations. They can run on any window manager or desktop. In addition, the gvim version of the Vim editor also provides basic window operations. You can access it on both GNOME and KDE desktops. Table 11-7 lists several GUI-based editors for Linux.

The K Desktop



Text editor


Text and program editor


Notebook editor


Desktop publisher, part of KOffice




Text editor


Word processor

X Window System


GNU Emacs

Emacs editor with X Window System support


X Window System version of Emacs editor


Vim version with X Window System support (vim-x11)


OpenOffice word processor that can edit text files

Table 11-7 Desktop Editors

Table 11-7 Desktop Editors

NOTE Fedora Linux includes a fully functional word processor, Writer (OpenOffice). AbiWord is now part of Fedora, along with Kword, which is part of KOffice. You can find out more at


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