The Politics

A large number of text editors are available for Linux. SUSE Linux includes at least the following: e3, ed, emacs, gedit, jedit, joe, kate, kvim, kwrite, mined, mousepad, pico, qemacs, the, uemacs, xcoral, yudit, and zile.

In addition to these, there are various Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) for programming that have integrated text editors.

Each of the major graphical user environments, GNOME and KDE, comes with its own graphical text editor(s): GNOME has gedit and KDE has kate and kwrite. Others, such as mined, joe, and pico, are editors that run in a console. Some of these are more user friendly than others.

In practice, however, for people who do a lot of general text editing, only two editors really matter, and the vast majority of users tend to prefer one or the other or one of their variants. These two are vi and emacs. As with certain other preferences in the Linux world, there are strong views on each side, sometimes so strong as to be described as constituting "religious wars.''

Without taking sides in those wars, this chapter describes the main features of the two editors and allows readers to make their own choices.

In some ways, the situation is not quite balanced. You may or may not like vi, but in practice you cannot get away from it. You will have to at least be able to use it, even if it is not your editor of choice. The reason for that is that in a minimal installation of Linux (or any Unix system), you can rely on vi being installed and available, whereas emacs may not be there until or unless you install it.

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