Busybox applet vi is the lightest vim alternative

Story: By Jove! It's a lightweight alternative to VimTotal Replies: 4
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Jan 05, 2017
5:21 AM EDT
Busybox is installed in most Linux systems; when you only need the basic functionality of the editor there is no need to install vim or vim-tiny or nothing more, the most simple way is use this lightweight alternative, create only a link.

sudo ln -s /bin/busybox /usr/bin/vi

Even more, some distros like Debian allow you to install alternatives that create and mantain links, also there are utilities to manage Busybox alternatives, for example:


bb-alts is an utility in a Debian package that installs alternatives for the most useful busybox applets, may be configured and installs only alternatives that are compatible with the other installed packages.

Jan 05, 2017
10:38 AM EDT
I usually create aliases in my .bashrc file so I don't have to include the command line argument to call the correct busybox utility:

    # use busybox vi instead of vim for vi:
    alias vi='busybox vi'
Your tip about the bb-alts utility is much appreciated!

Jan 05, 2017
11:55 AM EDT
nice, now that you mention it, i do remember that busybox included vi, but i would not have thought of it when thinking about vi alternatives. thanks for the reminder.

personally though, i wish for an editor written in a higher level language, not C. emacs fits the bill, but it's to large. a lightweight editor written in any other language would allow extensions to be written in the same language, which would allow them to be much more powerful and flexible. emacs itself is proof to that.

greetings, eMBee.

Jan 05, 2017
1:25 PM EDT
A very full featured editor, sublime text, is written in python. It is almost a textmate clone for any Mac users out there.

It is a great editor for programming and is extensively configurable. Add ons (called packages) are written in python just as sublime text is. It is free, but is nagware. You will get a message when you start it up if you do not have a license. I've been a user since version 1, and have no problem paying the license fee.

Take a look at the demo on the site linked above, or just go to youtube for many tutorials. It has a very large user base and is my goto editor.

Jan 05, 2017
3:29 PM EDT
i was not aware that sublime text is written in python. that is interesting.

however, the point of my wish is hackability, which is defeated by the sublime text license, so unfortunately, not something i want to work with. (i don't mind occasionally using non-free software if there are no good Free Software alternatives, but i will NEVER, EVER, write free code for a non-free ecosystem)

there are also atom and brackets, written in javascript, and maybe a few others. i forgot to mention though that i'd also like the editor to be able to run in a terminal.

on wikipedia i found zile: an editor framework written in lua with editors zemacs, zz, zee, and zi.

suplemon is comandline editor in python replicating some sublime text features.

diakonos is written in ruby.

yi is written in haskell, it has vi and emacs modes. it comes with GUI and commandline interfaces.

on the GUI side, most editors are written in c or c++, there are some in objective-c and java too. i found a few exceptions: leo and editra, written in python, and light table, written in clojurescript.

so there is actually some interesting stuff out there. i am gojng to have to see what of that is available in fedora for me to explore...

greetings, eMBee.

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