If you’re a Vim or Emacs user, you’ve seen a lot of jokes like this one from XKCD:
They usually end the chain with
cat but sometimes, like the above, they go all the way to butterflies.
All that’s good fun if a bit whimsical, but you sometimes see serious assertions that “real programmers” use
ed. If you’ve never used
ed, as most of today’s programmers probably haven’t, it’s no doubt hard to understand how silly that argument is. If you’re working on a teletype,
ed is just the thing. If not, it’s just masochism.
Or so I thought. Others disagree:
— Dominic v.d. Zypen (@dominiczypen) September 12, 2017
Dominic van der Zypen makes the case that ed is great for everyday use. I’m not convinced but you can read it and judge for yourself. I will say, though, that just because a lot of Unix development was done with
ed doesn’t mean much because that development was also done on, you know, teletypes. It’s like saying that just because Sun Tzu fought with swords, today’s armies should use them too.
Regardless, it’s fun, if a bit surprising, to see someone champion
ed for everyday use. If you’re running on some sort of Unix/Linux system, including macOS, you’ve almost certainly got
ed installed so fire it up and see what you think.