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Re: Adding a simple editor to the base system

On Wed, 11 Feb 2009, Aleksej Saushev wrote:

David Brownlee <> writes:

First of all, I'm not even close to vi fan (I think that vi must die),
but I'm also hesitant about this change. ee isn't in particular much
better than vi and doesn't bring much improvement, since novice user
is going to get graphical interface most likely. And if this user is
locked into text console in some way, learning vi is going to be the
easiest part. Thus some kind of cheat-sheet should be enough. (Cross-
reference vi(1) in afterboot(8)? Add a section to afterboot(8)?)

        It might help to identify the target 'novice user' here.
        My view is a minimum level is someone who has at least
        basic computing skills, understands the concepts of files
        & directories, and knows how to use some form of text
        editor. Ideally they should know quite a bit more, but
        lets pick something as a base level.

        That hypothetical user is not going to have much trouble
        with ee. They can move around with the arrow keys and edit
        text. It even tells them at the top of the screen how to
        exit and work out what other keys do.

        Compare that to vi with its 'movement mode', 'insert mode',
        'replace mode'. Oh, you started to type? Well, the keys
        you pressed deleted half the file, joined four lines together
        and added 15 copies of the word 'nfiguration'.

        If in your considered opinion a novice user would not find
        ee significantly easier than vi, then I think my definition
        of novice usermust be way off the mark.

        A cheat sheet is a *great* idea, but that cheet sheet should
        be moving them forward to getting connected to a network,
        or enable remote ssh access, not leaving them stranded trying
        to work out how to delete a line in vi.

If we agree about desktop-as-add-on approach, ee addition can be done
by means of local "novice" set or even meta-package. If we don't agree
with this optional nature, we're going to fight with conservative
resistance and add software for very little gain, receiving justified
complains about software bloat.

        Justified complaints about software bloat in adding one
        small binary to a base system with over 900 programs? NetBSD
        has *two* commands for reformatting fortran source (asa
        and fpr for anyone who cares).

I think that the first we should do is to settle, what is the approach
in general, because adding more and more tools to base system is the
easiest path to "improvements", both real and imaginary.

        I think *any* program being added to base should have to
        justify the addition on merits. I believe ee does. Quite
        a few other people do, and some people don't. I believe
        those who use it would find it *amazingly* helpful compared
        to fighting vi (or ex, or ed).

        I know people who use and develop on NetBSD who would be very
        happy to find ee available on their system the next time
        they find themselves dropped into single user mode, or
        after install before they had customised the system.

                David/absolute       -- No hype required --

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