Subject: Re: 1.3_ALPHA vi and ! command output
To: Giles Lean <>
From: Brian C. Grayson <>
List: current-users
Date: 11/11/1997 10:12:45
Giles Lean wrote:
> In an xterm (X11R6 3.3.1) after a vi :! command the screen is cleared
> before I can read it, and the
> 	"Press any key to continue [: to enter more commands]: "
> prompt appears.  What obvious thing have I missed?  (This is likely
> and old problem; I've just moved from 1.1 to 1.3_ALPHA and upgraded
> X11R6 at the same time.)

  I thought :! meant `run the following program and return',
where the program is '', i.e., spawn a shell that does nothing
and return.  If I do :!$shell, it gives me a shell and I can do
useful work.  vim behaves similarly, FWIW.

  Under a /usr/bin/vi built on Nov 3 (is yours newer?), typing
:! results in the following output:

Usage: [line [,line]] ! command

i.e., you have to specify a command -- it's not optional.  One
more bit of info:  If one types 'sh -c ""' at a command prompt,
it also returns immediately, rather than starting up an
interactive subshell.  

  Does that make sense?  Does it match historical behavior?  I
haven't been using the ! functionality for that long, so I'm
not sure.

Brian Grayson (
Graduate Student, Electrical and Computer Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin
Office:  ENS 406       (512) 471-8011
Finger for PGP key.