Subject: Re: RFC: Simple screen editor for NetBSD
To: None <>
From: Laine Stump <>
List: current-users
Date: 01/07/2000 18:19:50
At 04:02 PM 1/7/00 -0600, John Hayward wrote:
>Mode editors
>like vi and emacs increase the learning curve - Also editors which don't
>have menu items are not as good for occational users.

Maybe your definition of modal is different from mine (or maybe you use
emacs in "viper" (vi emulation) mode). Unless I'm running gnus or vm,
typing an "a" in emacs *always* inserts the letter "a" into the current
buffer.  Much different behavior from vi, and definitely doesn't deserve to
be in the same category (no flames intended).

Also, when I run emacs it has menus at the top. The only problem with emacs
is that it's *big* (well worth it in my opinion, but not everybody is a
code-head ;-)

Now, about the whole idea of having a different editor be part of the base

1) the place that having such a thing available would be most useful to me
is during initial installation, so that I can tweak rc.conf before the
first "real" boot (without having to boot -s and mount all the filesystems
by hand so I can run vi). Since I consider a machine without emacs to be
"incomplete" (and since emacs comes up with menus, and recognizing arrow
keys), I personally don't care if there's another editor on the system
after the initial install, but can see where it would be helpful to others.


(I know - this next rant should be in netbsd-advocacy. I just didn't feel
like redirecting it for a single message, and I don't subscribe to that
list anyway. If discussion continues along these lines, it should probably
be sent there).

About the arguments along the lines of "if people can't use vi, they should
go use one of those other OSes because "we" don't need them", I have this
to say: I would very much like to use NetBSD in projects/products at my
place of employment, but this is thwarted most commonly because of the fact
that NetBSD isn't well known to the mass public. "We've heard Linux is
good, and look at what happens to stock prices when you mention it! Use
Linux!", they say. Having NetBSD more accessible to the common man would
make it more likely that the common man would know about it (and have heard
good things about it *from an uninterested third party*), and that approval
would be given to use NetBSD in more interesting places (very often, the
guys with the purse strings are "common (wo)men" ). 

As it is these days, it's nearly impossible to get anyone to agree to
anything that isn't Linux or MS-Windows. So even though "we" aren't
novices, and "we" can use it just fine the way it is, it would still
benefit us in the long run to make it more accessible to "them", because
sometimes "they" have control over what we work on (for example, if NetBSD
had wider acceptance among non-NetBSD people, I could probably be devoting
a lot of my time over the next 3-6 months to stuff that would directly
benefit NetBSD. As it is, I'll probably have to spend that time helping

Sure, we may have to put up with more lame questions on the mailing lists,
and end up with more "rabid" juvenile users like Linux has, but overall I
think it's worth it.

What? You say you're independently wealthy, and totally in control of your
own time and resources? Nevermind... ;-)