The Oldest Religious War

Over at Slate, David Auerbach has an amusing article on the oldest religious war. That would be vi versus Emacs, of course. Auerbach has a dangerous marriage: he's an Emacs user and his wife is a Vim user so he's probably seen some front-line action.

I've logged a lot of time with both editors so I was able to evaluate his descriptions of the editors. By and large I agree but he thinks that Emacs is easier to learn than vi. Vi's modality can confuse a beginner for a short time but it seems to me the command set is pretty regular and intuitive while the Emacs key sequences are much less so. I think Emacs was harder to get really efficient in but the effort was worth it because of the tremendously powerful platform that you then have at your disposal.

There's not much new in the article for Irreal readers but you'll probably find it interesting anyway. Read it and see what you think. If you've got both vi(m) and Emacs experience, leave a comment telling us whether or not you agree with Auerbach's assessments.

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  • I came from Vim to Emacs because I needed a good NNTP client. Well...

    (On a server I'd still prefer Vim - Emacs is quite bad over PuTTy.)

    • toby

      Have you tried tramp mode? Run emacs locally and it will schlep the files back and forth for you. Combined with ssh certificate authentication it's damn near magic.

      • Well, yes, I use TRAMP at work. But on Windows, it just freezes reproducably. :-(

        • Phil

          Run a Linux VM on your Windows box (Ubuntu Server works well), run the Cygwin X.Org server to provide a local X display, then run Emacs on the VM.

          It sounds excessive, but it works really well, and you only need to set it up the one time. Then you have all the benefits of running Emacs under a Unix system. (In particular, having ControlMaster available for SSH when using Tramp is a huge win.)

          • Sorry but Linux sucks. It I had to, I'd probably prefer my OpenBSD box for that. OTOH, having to copy my files to another system just to edit them sounds a bit overkill.

          • Phil

            Obviously any Unix-like OS will do the trick.

            I'm not sure what you meant about having to copy files to another system to edit them (assuming you mean manual copying). You wouldn't need to do that -- the point of the suggestion was that Tramp works beautifully in such an environment, so you just use that to access the files wherever they are.

          • Ah, sorry - too slow in my mind. :-)

            Well, while this might work indeed, I'd probably prefer to know why TRAMP fails to work on my Win64. The guys at #emacs don't really know. Hmm.