Subject: Re: RFC: Simple screen editor for NetBSD
To: None <>
From: Jay Maynard <>
List: current-users
Date: 01/07/2000 22:54:12
Thor Lancelot Simon's post offended me so much I replied to it, but that
reply seems to have vanished. I'll try to repeat the salient points here.

On Fri, Jan 07, 2000 at 09:39:53PM -0500, der Mouse wrote:
> Whom would this putative editor be for?  My first thought is that
> anyone who needs it - who is unwilling or unable to learn to use vi or
> ed - is going to *always* have trouble, and not just with text editing.
> Such people are never going to be able to use anything very much like
> UNIX; the closest they will get is using handholding interfaces that,
> under the hood, rely on UNIXisms.

You're making one assumption, and it's the same one TLS made that offended
me so greatly: he called these folks "f-ckwits". You both are looking at
this from a Unix mindset. There are plenty of other systems out there with
editors that make vi look primitive and EMACS the unwieldy space hog that it
truly is. Someone moving from one of those systems might well balk at
dragging themselves through vi, with reason, even though they're well
capable of doing everything needed to run a Unix system. An experienced VMS
administrator, say; he's used to modeless editors that handle cursor keys
properly and have simple, mnemonic command sequences.

> But that's not quite true; there is a place for it.  Novices who are
> presently ignorant but have no problem with learning a "real" editor
> still need to get their systems set up far enough to start on that
> learning curve.

There's a difference between ignorance and "f-ckwit"tedness, a difference
TLS is unwilling to recognize. ...and people wonder why NetBSD is seen as
hostile to newbies.

> Yes, we could add a "simple" editor.  But except for the novices I
> alluded to above, it'd be just papering over one tiny piece of a very
> large iceberg, to mix my metaphors.

Another way to look at it is that you're not adding to an already steep
learning curve the frustrating experience of learning to fly either vi or
EMACS, neither of which can be called anything approaching intuitive.

One other note: I would argue that the folks who got turned off by ee on
FreeBSD are just as much "f-ckwits" as those TLS derides...after all, aren't
they smart enough to CHANGE the default?

The only answer that will satisfy everyone is to make the default system
edirot configurable at install time.

The only "f-ckwit" in this discussion is TLS. NetBSD would be far better off
without him and his corrosive hostility to all but experienced Unix bigots;
after all, if no new blood comes into the system, it will wither and die,
and if it's because NetBSD has run off everyone not up to TLS' unrealistic
standards, that death will be well deserved.