Abishek comes through again with a timely article (the great text editor wars?)

Thirty minutes or so, ago, I’m bashing away at some text file stuff and copying / pasting, and the default Gnome Text editor in Ubuntu 20.04 “gedit” 3.36.2 is making me angry - because - while it supports things like “middle-click” to paste from the X select buffer (e.g. I double click on a word in a terminal window) into the current text document, I cannot select text in that document and then paste it elsewhere in the same document with middle-click, yes - I can use Ctrl+C then Ctrl+V - or right-click copy, right-click paste - but that costs me time and time is money! Every stray away from keyboard across to mouse and back, is LOST PRODUCTIVITY! :smiley:

So I read Abishek’s article (it was one of the first entries which popped up in my google-fu) - and decided to try out “atom” (I’m sure I’ve used it before, and sublime) - and atom behaves like an X application should, from the heady days of UNIX workstations and the late 1980’s, i.e. select text into “x select buffer”, and then select-buffer-paste with middle click (usually the mouse wheel - but - I also use a Lenovo Thinkpad keyboard [just got the newest member of the family delivered today - “Thinkpad Keyboard II” and putting it through its paces] with trackpoint which has middle button too!).

However it wasn’t a simple “apt install” away - I had to use snap… “sudo snap install atom --classic”… but it works… and now I’m deploying it everywhere else I need it… And I’m thinking I may as well get used to snaps, and may in fact, switch back again to Chromium, as a snap, instead of Google-Chrome - so it looks like I’m learning to live with snap, just like I did with systemd :smiley: .

I’m pretty sure Microsoft Visual Studio Code works “properly” too, but it, like Sublime are just huge pieces of stuff to install/run when all I want is to edit text files…

THANKS @abhishek - love your work mate!


Actually, this was a lovely article and pretty instructive.
The choice of a text editor is very much one of personal preference if you’re not in some corporate environment where this choice is taken from you by the management.

In that aspect, I am pretty conservative: I stick to what I know and like. Back in university, I was an Emacs babe other than the hardcore vi guys and I stuck to it for a long time. Nowadays, I use nano in the terminal for the very quick edits, kate as all purpose editor and for the really professional programming projects VS code which has always been, IMHO, the best IDE on the market and is now fortunately also available for Linux.

ed is THE editor

I should qualify my first post - I’m a diehard “vi” user - been using it 25 years or so - use it all the time, every day, when I’m not using vi to edit a text file on a remote system, I’m using the streams editor “sed”… But sometimes I just want to keep a text file open as a gui window, so I can paste stuff in from elsewhere, maybe with multiple tabs and multiple text files… e.g. putting together a batch of commands to run, or a for loop…

I’ve never used emacs however… wouldn’t know where to start…

Annoys me when I don’t find vi, e.g. the rescue “busybox” shell on Debian based systems doesn’t have vi/vim - it only has nano, and “visudo” annoys me too on Debian based systems (e.g. like Ubuntu) - because it defaults to nano, but I know this so it’s “export EDITOR=vi” before I run visudo on those systems, “crontab -e” does have the grace to ask you which you’d prefer…

Also - I do remember using “edlin” in MS-DOS prior to MS-DOS 4 (which had the “wordstar” like “edit” command) - I believe edlin was a lot like “ed”…

I agree VSCode is a great IDE - but I’m not a developer, other than shell scripts, and when I’m writing shell scripts - that’s mostly in vi in a terminal window, most likely via SSH on a remote system… so VSCode is kinda overkill for my use case…


Since I started using VS Code, I was the first time fully satisfied with an IDE, that I tried. It’s the best I ever had to use. So even if it might seem a bit much, I think it does not matter, because VS Code is just so convenient and pleasant to use, that it would make your life much easier when using it. Additionally – unlike those bloat hells like IntelliJ, etc. :face_vomiting: – VS Code is extremely lightweight, especially if you do not install any or not that many extensions. So it never will feel “overkill” for any use case, because it is so quick and slim, to begin with.

For your use-case:

That’s just so convenient, easy and pleasant to use.

There is also an extension for shellcheck and one called Bash IDE, that helps detecting some common mistakes, which you usually would need to find manually in a very nitpicky fashion. So, even if you mostly write bash scripts, this would improve your workflow and let some of the boring jobs be taken care of, by this IDE.


sed is indeed a fantastic tool for shell scripts. I use it quite a lot but I often find myself rather using perl one liners, due to the greater choice of control structures and the enhanced regexes.

I’d say: no need to nowadays, there are so many far more beautiful editors out there which are almost as feature rich. I haven’t used it in years and I don’t remember all the cryptic commands any more.

But you might agree that for somebody who isn’t used to vi, nano is a little more intuitive and has a more helpful UI.

Yes, both were equally nightmarish …

I can see that but that’s not my case: I mainly work with C++ and all the web languages. So, all its features come in very handy.


I’m not a great fan of MS products but you have to give them credit where it’s due.


This was one of the reasons, why I didn’t use this product for such a long time. Since I actually started using it, I stopped the overall accusations toward whole brandings, to prevent such a situation from happening again. Sometimes one has to move past ideals and accept reality.


Being a unix/linux admin I’m not a great fan of the Microsoft company. But I have to admit that VS Code is just the best all-purpose editor, for many reasons.

The annoying thing about VS Code is that it contains telemetry and tracking. The source code of VS Code is FOSS, so it is perfectly possible and allowed to disable telemetry and tracking, and subsequently distribute it as packages for many OS’es. Take a look at vscodium. If you value your online privacy as much as I do, vscodium is a great alternative to VS Code.


cheers for the pointer - I just “rolled out” the Redmond “sanctioned” version of Code to 4 of my Ubuntu machines - and got them to sync settings using GitHub…

but not too late to try vscodium… and there’s armhf and arm64 deb binaries - so - I might be able to run it on my CDE themed RPi 4B :smiley:

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I also use VSCodium.
In my opinion, after an intense use of VSCodium for the last 6 months, I can say that, for me, it is an excellent program.
There are a few small differences when compared to VSCode, for example:
Not all VSCode extensions are directly available through the VSCodium IDE because VSCodium uses Open VSX to download extensions, while of VSCode uses its own Microsoft Marketplace

More about Open VSX here and here