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Vi isn't a word processor, it is a text editor. Think of vi as notepad on steriods. vi is the wrong tool for your specific purpose, you should stick with a word processor. You can of course learn a markup language such as latex and write your letters in vi and use latex commands to specify formatting.
Just to make it clear vi won't then render the html or interpret the shell escape commands, they will always appear as jlliagre wrote them. However a browser will render the html and you'll get your formatted text.
In the same way once you have written your latex source file it needs compiling into some format of your choosing.
I'm unfamiliar with Mandrake, use your package manager tools to find out if it is installed.
Write a letter in openoffice, or some other word processor and add colours, different fonts and sizes to it. Save it as an rtf "Rich Text Format" file . Go and open that file in vi. Other document formats will not work because they are saved in a binary format.
vi just works with plain text documents, it knows nothing of formatting, colours and what have you. When you write your document in a wordprocessor all the formatting must be saved along with the actual text as demostrated by the above test. vim does the same job as vi, it just has more features, but none that make it act like a wordprocessor.
You either need to learn a markup language and in vi use the markup tags to specify the structure of your document, or use a word processor and WYSIWYG techniques.
Edit: Again cat just deals with plain text, it reads a character from a file and prints it on stdout (normally your console). OK its a little more complex than that but thats beyond the scope of this thread, but it does not parse the file for formatting instructions.
I'm using elvis instead of vim as my preferred vi clone, it has the ability to properly render some text formats like html, tex and nroff manual pages.
You still need to enter the formatting commands manually though.
Nope, thats right. If you scroll down you'll start to see the text you entered in OpenOffice. Those tags and keywords are instructions to specify the structure and formatting of your document. As you can see vi hasn't interpreted them and formatted your text appropriately it just shows the keywords as text.
Hold on, did you write nonsense in your document. Are these strings from it:
OK, this definately is a string from it
Using non-ascii characters and random strings makes spotting your text even harder.
Distribution: open SUSE 11.0, Fedora 7 and Mandriva 2007
Out of context, I wonder whether it is common to use Open Source operaing systems in England. I mean the home users. Here it is very rare. If I ask 100 people, I wouldn't find a single individual who uses any Open Source at their home computers.
However, I know 2 people who uses Open Source operating systems. One uses Free BSD and the other uses Linux.
Well, seeing as your taking your own thread off topic I suppose it doesn't matter
I don't really know. Certainly with people I know who do Computer Science degrees it is reasonably popular, but I don't know anyone who uses a computer as a means to an end that uses Linux. However in other parts of England the case may be different, its a funny country like that. When I was at sixth form college (16 to 18 years old) I knew only one person that used Linux.
The rest of my family won't touch my machines, they'll only use Windows.