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Something that has had me wondering for a while: Is it really necessary to use a text editor like vi or emacs when editing a file. Say for instance /etc/samba.conf or any other config file.
Is it just the same to use kedit or xedit or another plain old text file.
Vi and emacs and the like just seem so complicated.
Is there a golden rule here?
There are. Both vi and emacs are designed for heavy duty file editing of programing style files. They include lots of useful functions to assist in all sorts of editing activity, as well as act like crappy IDE. In the case of emacs, things go even further, its sometimes called its own OS (a testament to just how over designed it is for merely editing text files).
In most cases tho, a modern GUI text editor with the basic advanced features (syntax highlights, and various editing functionalities) is good enough. Both vi and emacs have evolved over the years to add lots of features most people will never use, actually, emacs kinda started out that way.
I would take a few hours to learn the basic vi commands - it's extremely fast to use for editing things like config files. The couple of hours spent learning it will be paid back in a very short time of using it.
That said, I still use EMacs for coding. EMacs for the win.
Hours? No way, Gentoo has good vi options already all set, so not much need to change them for me. All you need to know: press "insert" to enter the insert mode (or "i" from command mode), press "insert" from insert mode, and you enter replace mode, "insert" to return to insert mode. Press "espace" to exit a mode, such as to return to command mode. The command ":w" saves a file, ":q" exits, ":wq" saves and exits. Undo is "u" from command mode.
Actually, those about all the vi command i know (sad, but true), but i still use it as my primary editor (the graphical version of it, yay for menus).