Friday, December 29, 2006

Well it approches new years... I don't have any thing I wish to say about the holidays at the moement. SO far, I feel as if I'm ready to spread out but I'm told to wear shoes two sizes to small. I could go so much further given what I need.. yet I'm stuck shoveling $|-|1+. To day at work I thought up an interesting project, one that I could use to teach me a lot more about Object Oriented design and implementations. Some thing I could sit down and attack it till I learned every thing I'd need to finish it, then vim around till it was a master peice some day. The end result? I don't ph|_|{|<1|\|6 have the bloody time to do it. Ether to program it all or to learn what I need and would love to learn to do it. Finnally this weekend I get some time off, four days and I'm spending it on the servers. Get my fat NCO arsch back to duty. Even my studies for a new language have been going slow. I wanted to work on learning a word a day, complete with the words sex, spelling, and pronouciation.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

PBI Backup and Recovery planning

Well to make a long story short. On my desktop every *mozilla program I install on BSD or GNU/Linux has funky issues with text fields, all other GTK+ apps are fine though. The only ones not to be borked are the PBI versions I've used on it and my laptop. So needless to say I was a little apprehensive about updating from Seamonkey 1.0.4 to 1.0.6. I like _stable_ software more then bleeding edge. Now I don't mean to offend any one because I don't but, huh 's content is not always 'stable' by the time its approved. So, having no way to reinstall Seamonkey 1.0.4. from PBI I desided I'd do a little test on how to back it up manually so I could reinstall it with the least effort. Now of course the fact that speed and power are to of my favorite reasons to use the command line, I'll include a screen dump of my seassion as well as an explanation of doing it the *GUI* way. Be warned offten there is a /Programs/.sbin/program shell script to be backed up. I think its to do with making sure PBI apps use there /Programs/$1/libs directory, proper GTK/Pango crap and give us that annoying crash handler when they get killed. Any way here we go laddy. The best thing to do would be to open Konqueror as root, you can do that by using the K-Menu to find it, or type kdesu konqueror in konsole or use the run dialog. First lets look in /Programs/ to find are app, in my case SeaMonkey1.0.4. We want to back up this directory. A quick tarball will do the job, in Konqi you can do this with a right click since Ark is installed. I'd suggest ether a gzipped tar file or zip file depending on your needs. I keep my backups on ad0s1 which is a 20GB UFS2 partition. I have my mailbox and roaming profile on my USB stick so I backed that up as well. The "/usr/local/share/applnk/My Applications/Seamonkey" folder has our K-Menu entry so we want to back that up, beats rewritting the .desktop file(s). Plus to be safe and keep all my settings I backed up my ~/.mozilla folder. If this was a multi-user laptop a shell script would be good, I wrote a quick run'n'tosser in vi to back it up. If one wanted a script could be made to backup and restore the thing. After completing my backups I uninstalled the PBI and installed the new one, it had been downloading while I backed up.
Terry@Dixie$ cd /Programs                                                  4:17
Terry@Dixie$ su                                                            4:18
Dixie# mkdir /Backups/Seamonkey1.0.4
Dixie# cd SeaMonkey1.0.4/
Dixie# ls         etc                     pangorc     include                 seamonkey.png      lib                     share
bin                     libdata
Dixie# cd ..
Dixie# tar -czf SeaMonkey1.0.4_BACKUP.tar.tgz ./SeaMonkey1.0.4
Dixie# cp -r /usr/local/share/applnk/My\ Programs/SeaMonkey /Backups/Seamonkey1.0.4/SeaMonkey_KMenu_Entry.d
Dixie# mv SeaMonkey1.0.4_BACKUP.tar.tgz /Backups/Seamonkey1.0.4/
Dixie# ls /Backups/Seamonkey1.0.4/
SeaMonkey1.0.4_BACKUP.tar.tgz   SeaMonkey_KMenu_Entry.d
Dixie# PBIdelete -list|grep -i Seamonkey
Dixie# cp -rp /Lexar/Mozilla /Backups/Seamonkey1.0.4/
Dixie# cd /Backups/Seamonkey1.0.4/
Dixie# tar -czf ./SM_Mail.tar.gz /Lexar/Mail
tar: Removing leading '/' from member names
vi /Backups/Seamonkey1.0.4/

export PATH='/bin'

for n in `ls /usr/home/`
        cp -rp /usr/home/$n/.mozilla /Backups/Seamonkey1.0.4/$n.mozilla
Dixie# chmod 700 .//
Dixie# ./
Dixie# ls -l
total 45478
-rw-r--r--  1 root   wheel  19905054 Dec 24 04:26 SM_Mail.tar.gz
-rw-r--r--  1 root   wheel  26620953 Dec 24 04:20 SeaMonkey1.0.4_BACKUP.tar.tgz
drwxr-xr-x  2 root   wheel       512 Dec 24 04:23 SeaMonkey_KMenu_Entry.d
drwx------  3 Terry  Terry       512 Dec 21 21:48 Terry.mozilla
-rwx------  1 root   wheel       129 Dec 24 04:47
Dixie# PBIdelete -remove SeaMonkey1.0.4
Removing SeaMonkey1.0.4
Running custom removal script
Removing Directory
Cleaning PBI List
SeaMonkey1.0.4 was removed successfully!
To restore it I could have put things back as the were. There was no .sbin/seamonkey file to backup that I noticed so I'd hope it would've still worked but. Alas thats PC-BSD...

Friday, December 22, 2006


Sheesh, between mothers, school, and demos my head hurts !

Installed MOHAA just for fun while I downloaded the ArmA demo. Our DSL got upped to a 2.9MBps down / 322KBps up range just in time to Download from a slow server. The game looks good but I don't know how well I can play it. Needless to say I think my video card is lower spec then older models. Geforce 6200 and a TV Tuner not what I had in mind, I wanted a Geforce 6600 at least but I got a pre-build :@

The game is nice, I hope there will be a way to have focus follows crosshair style movement it would be kinda nice. It also looks like a game where it pays to top off the ammo supply before moving out.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Was reading a few of my old files, dunno if I feel better or worse from the thoughts incured.

I remember when I was transfering files to my desktop, most basically live on my laptop now. I cleaned up a directory of my personal writings. I delted a few and saved a couple. The book I was writing, balls never finished that. A little play'esq script, few old love notes.... closest I ever came to writing poetry.

*sigh* some times life sucks. My mind sure doesn't help me any, I'm supposed to be sleeping but I'm wide awake.

Fuuy, maybe I should try to forget some of the past, good times with the bad and be done. Doesn't help much though does it...

I'm going to bed, s'only work tomorrow. Same old boring labor, nothing new to learn.. I want to grow but I keep hitting the walls. If I could do more in the [SAS] I'd have joy in that but I still got to work. If I had the time to devote to study, I could maybe make a decent programmer or system admin but I've got work and school to do. Bastard of a system, who cares for tests about the 'laws of english' compared to artistry ? To me at least computing from a programming perspective is an art form, not a lot of people under stand that about me. To them its just me wasting time infront of a computer, to me its expression, its art, its design, its apart of me...

The more time I have to spend at it, the more often I enjoy it and the better I grow at it. Frig man, I've got my figers in C, C++, Java, Perl, Python, Ruby, not to mention sh script, and html/css markup. I might not be good at any of them but when your lucky to be able to devote more then a few hours a week. You can't be expected to master a life time of ability over night.

**** it, I'm going to bed, worry about it later.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I'm going crazy... Positively crazy. Its like no matter what day it is, I get a
headache around the 2200-0100 GMT range, maybe its because thats the time ma
gets active again on her days off..

Driving me nuts. Sucks to live with a headache, can't take aspirin
e.t.c. For it all the time because then you kill your stomach.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


I want to rewrite the mkXML function and merge it withmuch of the code from That way I can turn it into a flexible routine that will generate a PBC file accordingly iiregardless if it's run from interactive or batch modes.


Started merging files today, after a fit of the screamming heeby jeebies. Phone ringing off the hook, getting A.F.K.'d every 2 minutes and playing 20 Questions with ma. My brain could sync back to work...

mkProject has become a mondo sized function but is now fairly complete and handles the split between interactive and batch modes it self. The batchJob function will be most of

Rather then line of execution being
Interactive or batch test
    run mkHome, mkProject, mainLoop e.t.c.
    or run batchJob

It is  now more like this
    Interactive or batch test
        run batchJob if batch
        run mainLoop if interactive

Where mainLoop is the interactive root function that all the interactive I/O and configuration methods lay. The batchJob call just starts processing the information from the data. I'm also adding a usage function.


Well, I'm a bit leery about it but I've done it. I've posted on PC-BSDs forums. I had hoped to have a proof-of-concept out of this scraptest file before I delete it but I doubt that will happen without help. I also wanted to merge it into and complete the last stuff so I'd have both interactive and batch modes covered plus the planB method of PBI Creation.

The scripts not pretty but its just garbage for testing work, glad I don't really write finished shell scripts like that..

Been busy attacking an old Java source book. it dates back to before JDK1.0 but its a fun read. Maybe I'll take up Java I dunno. Recently I've been rather bored with most languages. Perl and Java study have kept me busy but the more I look into perl the more it looks like a great tool you don't want to have to read what some one else wrote some day just to quickly fix a problem and never rewrote it. Java I've never cared for the extra OOTyping needed but its more C/C++ like then Ruby or Python and still a nice language. AWT looks like a simple to learn setup but I've yet to see many Java apps that look nice. I don't know what is the most often used these days though, AWT, SWT, Swing, or other standard issue.

Being idle recently has been annoying, without any thing to work on what fun is there having some of the greatest tools ever made?

You know as long as no one changed the hier for home directories I could interate through each one setting up the icon files. If I could use PBC to just pack the project directory and do the rest with my script. It could work but that would mean for batch mode to work a special but very simple for joe blow to write project file would have to be created. HmmmmmM !!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Without being able to make any progess with getting an automated PBI creAted. And about as much info about whats wrong with the PBC file I ran through PBC.

I basically have nothing better to do then toy with typing tests and ancient computer history. It would be so nice if some one could help figure out why PBC does not work with the PBC files.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Trash, FUnk, and Crapola.

Some times I feel, as if I speak and no one cares. Maybe I should just learn to keep my mouth shut and my business to my self. I don't know any more.

Perhapes I should halt my work, let it rot and be done with it. Just go home and head out to the CQC Range with team mates. Life can be a load of bollocks some times... So far I've been wanting very much to start re-learning emacs but I can't stand the infernal editor ! I remember when I started I couldn't handle Vim so I tried XEmacs and learned it all right. While I don't remember the keybinds well I remember them enough, I'm just to "Vi minded" to use emacsen. Also my Vi User how to post is nearly finished, I've but a few more things to add to it.

Untill I can find out what is wrong with the PBC file created by my proof-of-concept scraptest or get necessary data on how to bypass PBC all together. Most of my work is for naught. Dang it, I remember I started the day before thanksgiving and practicly sat at my laptop for three days. I'm not really a shell scripter by nature, although I've vastly improved. I worked like a dog to get as much done while having to learn and prototype several things on the go +work ITRW. Took a few days off then hit at it again and again and again. As time would allow, now it's in pretty good shape (near alpha imho) and with a proper rewrite my scraptest files could be fused into the main implementation.

Yet with out some fscking help to deal with PBI Creator or by pass it there is little more I can do, execpt maybe refine my icon configuration and finish the PBI.*.sh generator. My plans have been for it set up the PBI file to automatically do detection if the PBI is preinstalled or optionally a conficting/old version when ran. Maybe I should just change the files to bear the GPL (barf) and post them on the forums for some one else to deal with, I 'm getting sick of this $]-[|+. I started work in November, it's nearing January now and I can't continue very much alone.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


How to install PC-BSD using the QEMU Emulator

What is QEMU?

QEMU is software that allows you to emulate another computer in order to
install and use an operating system on your physical machine without actually
installing it. Much like a Famcom emulator uses software to create the
impression to a game ROM that it's really running on a Nintendo 8-Bit console.
It's really running on your PC. It's basically the same thing.

For Windows you can download QEMU as a ZIP archive and unpack it to any working
directory. If your using an older version of windows you may want to install a
program such as 7-Zip or WinZip (I reccomend the former). In order to use the
accelerator module you need to download it as well. You can find a link to it
on the main QEMU web site. Un pack the archive (it's tared and bzipped, try
7Zip or WinRar). Copy the kqemu.inf and kqemnu.sys files to your QEMU

If you are using a Unix/Linux system it is best to use what ever package
management system you have to install it. One should be able to find an RPM or
Deb for there system. PC-BSD users can install QEMU and KQEMU via PBI which
includes a simple GUI for setting it up.

The KQEMU module will make the installed system faster but it is not open
source software. Qemu is Open Source and Free Software. Installing this will
likey vary from system to system.

Qemu Website

Qemu for Windows

I will deal with using QEMU at the command line since it is the only portable
interface (Win, Lin, BSD, Mac). If your using a Unix/Linux system strip off the
".exe" every where.

Find the location of QEMU on your system once it's installed. Open a terminal
emulator (command prompt window) and change directory to it's location like
this, cd "C:\Program Files\QEMU\" or if using a Uinx/Linux system you can check
it's installed location with the command "which qemu" -> C Shell users may have
to "rehash" after installing qemu before they can run it.

Now since QEMU does not use your actual hard ware (it emulates it's own) you
need to create a file that QEMU can use to store data (acts like a hard drive
or swap file). We can create a harddisk image file in several different
formats. "raw" which should be portable between emulation software. "qcow"
which is probably the best choice for Windows systems. "cow" for Linux systems,
"vmdk" which makes a VMWare image, and cloop which ya don't want to toy with
right now !

Depending on the format used the size of the file should grow till it reaches
the limit we give it. Now PC-BSD should fit on a 6GB hard drive but to get any
real work done 15GB would be more realistic, assuming you like to store a lot
of photos, music, and video files. Then again for getting real work done you
should install an operating system not use an emulator (in my humble opinion).
It is good for testing things though but a few things to remember.

0.) Emulated hardware does not relate to YOUR hardware. So some things may work
or not work after really installing an operating system. Just the same some
things may not work in the Emulator but may work on the real system as the
emulator is simulating hardware.

1.) The system will run much slower then had you really installed it. Not only
is it going to use an alloted amount of memory (RAM) your computer will all
ready be running it's current operating system and other softwares. This is not
suitable for the "faint hearted" machines. The test system I have runs a
Pentium D 930 (2 x 3.0Ghz) CPU and 2048MB (2GB) of fast DDR2 Memory.

3.) With virtual solutions some times odd things about software just "don't"
work but are fixed when installed on the real system. Like wise it can be the
other way around.

4.) A lot of things won't work under emulation or not well, i.e. 3D Games e.t.c.

Ok phase one we will create a disk image to install an operating system on. I
suggest 5GB minimal, for this I will use an 8GB image file. Thanks to having a
500GB hard drive xD

qemu -create -f qcow acd.img 8G

The syntax as you can see is `qemu-img -option -f format filename sizeG. Now we
have to basic options on how to install, we can boot the emulator off a CD/DVD
or an ISO image.It's rather nice if you can use the ISO image and save your
self from burning a CD-R just for testing the system.

If using a Windows system

qemu -L . -cdrom "\\.E:" -hda acd.img -m 512 -boot d

If using a FreeBSD system

qemu -cdrom /dev/acd0 -hda acd.img -m 512 -boot d

The device names vary from Unix to Unix some tiems even Linux Distro to Distro.
It will probably be some thing like /dev/scd0 on a Linux based system.

Now this is very important the number after the -m is how many megabytes of
memory to give the emulated "virtual" PC. In my case I chose to allow 512MB of
Memory to run PC-BSD under emulation.

Now if you want to use the ISO image file it's slightly different.

qemu -L . -cdrom Imagefile.iso -hda acd0.img -m 512 -boot -d

qemu -cdrom Imagefile.iso -hda acd0.img -m 512 -boot -d

After the system is installed you can run it like so

qemu -L . -hda acd0.img -m 512

qemu -hda acd0.img -m 512

To try and enable KQEMU for more speed add a "-kernel-kqemu" option like so

qemu -hda acd0.img -m 512 -kernel-kqemu

The system should now boot and you can see how it works.

I've installed the system but it is very slow, taking about 2 times longer to install then normal and many minutes to boot + without sound or network. I don't have KQEMU so it makes emulated hardware feel faster then our first Pentium PC (with 32MB of memory). If my laptop wasn't so slow I might try it out that way. For running WinVista I'd say go with KQEMU on a system with 4GB of RAM and a lot 3.5 GB for it hehehehahhA !

Monday, December 11, 2006

Funky Monkey

OK - We have progess and we have bugs.

To night I have completed most of what I would like to call scraptest code or testscrap code. Basically it's my feelings for the kinda stuff ya just write to test it as you work on it with out meddling up your main source file/routines e.t.c. You could say it's about as close to spagetti as I'm willing to get. I know what it does because I just wrote it ! And have time to comment it before re-writting it.

So far we are able to generate a PBI file pretty easy, the only problem is dealing with the PBI Files creation. I think I need to supply more info to the program before I can get a PBI that 'works' out of it, although aside from not even being able to pass standards. It's a functional process - well it is essentially a throw away implementation but if I can gear it up. I'll merge it into the main script file(s). It's only a days work but it's pretty good for the amature (me) and my wanting a proof-of-concept ironed out.

I'm not there 100% yet but I know there is a way to auto-mate the creation of PBI's and I'm going to find it, some how, some way, some day !

Since nvi (afaik) only uses tabs and I have vim set to use spaces I think I'm going to be switched to using tabs instead of spaces for indentation. It beats having to toggle expandtab based on what editor I wrote the file in. When vim.orgs vim scripts section is up I'll look for a fixer upper hehe.

I wish my mom would understand, I have got to be able to work. I need my freedom to pour into a problem till I solve it, with breaks of course but still long, through concintration. I know I'm not the best about getting things done (nor quickly) but I know I can solve this, aside from one really funky win-like feeling things have gone well. Sigh, I wish I could do more, learn more, be more...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Bubble brain

Well I've been working on a forked/branched off type thing of the origenal script. Geared for the purpose of auto-generating a PBI both as a proof of concept and development field. After its finished I'll try to merge it into the main file (now interactive-branch). The only problem I see atm is icons. I'm going to try and get this version done so I can use it to show proof of concept that a script can be used to create a PBI file, with some measure of success.

It's been going pretty well, some stretch converting stuff so getLibs can handle being run on a list instead as a part of a loop but all is good. Been doing most of the work in a ssh session on Vectra. So I've basically been using nvi instead of vim, good editor really. Well alls been good un till 20 minutes ago. My head feels like it's in a bubble - total computational thought crash.

This is what happens when I have to play "hopping monkey" after dinner, my brain crashes and it don't leave no coredump file for me to pick over what the frig I was analizing.


Thursday, December 7, 2006

Late shift

I've tweaked a few things based on my templetfications of the PBI.*.sh scripts, I can't finish the process totally right now because I'm not at my laptop. While I keep the working (i.e. working on) copy of the file on my Lexar the actual project files including the templets are on my laptops HDD.

To do
  1. Finish pbi installer scripts and option to allow user to hand edit them using kwrite or ee
  2. Allow user to input the license and save it to a file to make a K-Menu link
  3. Fool proof icon setup
  4. Implement GTK+ support to getLibs // Prolly not till later
  5. Add demaind + support for a readme file and weblink k-menu entry, add associated functions
  6. Sort out templets to check if pkg is all ready instaleld, if possible also check for PBI.
  7. Implement "planB" routine(s) to fork out of fkBuild and wrap around PBI Creator, creating a minimalistic PBC file just in case

I don't want ot have to use PBI Creator for this but if I can get by with generating a PBC file and running PBI Creator from the program. Using the PBC file to provide only what my system can't do it it's self. It might make a stop-gap for releasing it early but if it turns out to be the only way. At least it will be ready, not a set back. Considering that PC-BSD is open source under a BSD style license. I could probably poke around and try to find out how to implement some thing my self given enough time but some how I feel that would be redefining the words. Having to "Reverse Engineer" a "Open Source" application which is really an Oxy Moron if I ever heard it. So if the developers can't help me bypass PBI Creator.... I'll have to live with it and scream bloody murder if changes to PBI Creator & the .pbc file format ever phL|{|<$ /\/\3 over.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

All or nothing

I've gone as far as I can go without being able to generate a PBI file. I've e-mailed Tim for help but I don't know what the response will be at all. I do know I want to avoid using PBI Creator for any thing as much as possible. I've also begun setting the ground work for setting up the & templets to encourage more advanced users to handle interaction with the user based on whether KDE is running or not. Sigh, oh most time to head back to work for a second supprise shift.

General blah

Starting to hit that busy season, looks like I'll probably be working (lightly) even on Christmas day. My endovers to automate PBI generation are only lacking the ability to create a PBI file. I know I could just use it to create a .pbc file to use PBI Creator in but PBI Creators issues have been my major reason for not submitting many PBI. I want to move from creating custom install scripts during the build process and instead mod a templet to meet the needs of the project. Short of the out right refusual to help in the PBI generation sector this things going to be completed if I have to install PC-BSD via emulation on my desktop. Installed ksh93 on Vectra to day, looking for a replacement for tcsh with vi editing mode. Only to learn that tcsh has a vi editing mode, slightly different then bourne styles after reading the manuals +S Ksh93 looks live a very good shell so far, I basically wanted a version of ash with completion but without the size of bash. Well I think bash is smaller then ksh but oh well I 'm used to zsh now :-) I also set up my .profile to split config into .kshrc if I login using ksh93 instead of (a)sh. I've got to finish my home work and vi how to, rather do the how to then the school work. Been a very stressful day, I never seem to be able to get any rest. Even when I do it's usually crap. After most of a week, I finnally got to read my mail.... My work with this PBI thing should have been finished the day after Thanksgiving but I couldn't get the time to do it all in a stretch. Life doesn't always match up to desire.

Saturday, December 2, 2006


Ok been working on a Vi user how to, I want ot ge that finished by monday. Note to self disable my word wrapping settings before editing the file.

I tested the *.desktop files a bit and I've tweaked the program accordingly. getInput now asks for a K-Menu name for the program, should it run in a terminal or not (with a function to handle that). The mkXML file now is ready to handle the new data and sets Startup Notifications on for every thing. MIME types, Web links, and Doc links aside I think mkXML is read op.

One thing I have learned is that Regular Expressions are fun things, makes life very easy at times :-)
Really using a mix of unix util in the shell I think one could bypass a text editor all to gether but the slide-sling of file redirection makes me understand how editors like ed and ex became standard programs in UNIX before vi was created.

Vi User How-To

Welcome to an introduction and usage study of one of the worlds most common text editors. It is also my favorite style of editor. We cover several sections each detailing a given aspect of the Vi editor.

Table of Contents

Short history
Which Vi is my Vi ?
Initial Fear
Learning Vi
      Required Commands
      Helpful Functions
      A few extra commands
      Making sense of Vi options
      Deletion Wars
      Cut, Copy, and Paste the Vi style !
Options and configuration
How to make a exrc file

Document Version: 0.90.0

This post has the underlying assumption that you want to learn to use the Vi text editor but know jack about it. I won't insult you but I'll try to teach it without being to terse or "hand holding". We all need help but one has to put in a little bit of effort to master a program.

I have always cared more for content and understandable English then for closely following the "laws of the English anguage" so forgive any grammatical errors and ether curse or help improve the content :-P

Short History
In 1976 a man named Bill Joy wrote the Vi text editor for an early BSD release. It took the existing ed and ex line editors and created a visual interface. While ex was a simple line editor vi gave us an interface much more like what we are accustomed to in this era.

Vi is a modal text editor which means that depending on what editing mode one is in at any given time what each key does changes. Vi has thankfully only two editing modes of importance command and insert. Unlike common editors such as Emacs or Kate commands are entered by shifting the entire keyboard into command mode and back into insert mode to continue inserting text. This modal concept is probably the biggest adjustment new users have to make when learning Vi. Some notable influences on the Vi command set was the ADM3A terminal which had the Esc and left Control keys where the Tab and Capslock keys are on modern US_QWERTY keyboards. There was also arrows on the H, J, K, and L keys which intern became the Vi movement keys.

Picture of ADM3A Keyboard

Which Vi is my Vi ?
There have been many vi implementations and clones through the years and on many systems but you can always count on an Unix to have a Vi. By high decree of the POSIX (Portable Operating System Interface for uniX). It would be best that before you try to start learning how to use Vi you learn what type of Vi editor you have. Many GNU/Linux systems will use a Vi clone in place of Vi while BSD Unix's use nvi. This how to should be relivent to every Vi/Vi Clone but most Vi Clones have a lot more to offer then Vi does.

Vi is the classic BSD
implementation now free and open source under a BSD style license.

Nvi is a re-implementation of Vi used for the 4BSD release when the original Vi was considered encumbered code. This is what is like wise used on Free, Net, Open, PC, and Desktop BSD and the focus of this how to.

Elvis is a Vi clone that adds a number of features and commands. Elvis functions on Unix, Dos, NT, and OS/2 systems both as a console and graphical application. It is standard issue on Slackware Linux for the systems vi program.

Vim or Vi IMproved is a Vi clone that implements many additional features and options. It's known to run on many platforms including Amiga, GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, OpenVMS, OS/2, and Unix like systems. Vim supports several graphical user interfaces including Motif, GTK1, GTK2, and Athena versions. It is also what this post was written with.

Vile was initially derived from an early version of Microemacs in an attempt to bring the "modern" benefits of the Emacs multi-window/multi-buffer editing paradigm to users more comfortable with the vi command-set. Vile functions on DOS, Windows, OS/2, GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Unix like systems.

Viper-mode of the popular Emacs editor tries to emulate many common vi commands and may prove interesting to emacs users and humorous.

It does not matter what Editor one uses as long as one is happy, productive, and effective but I would recommend using a Vi Clone with good documentation. So know any good jokes about Vims 25,000,000,000 page manual ? Hehehe.

You may invoke the vi editor from a console window by typing "vi", if your using another type of editor or "vi clone" please consult it's documentation.

Initial Fear
The traditional vi runs in a command window which is enough to scare off many new users. While newer Vi Clones such as Vim and Elvis have graphical user interfaces that can run with such luxurious features as tool bars and menus it is important to know that the editors are still available in the command line environments without loss of functionality.

One of the most confusing things to scare you about learning Vi is the concept of editing modes. Most users are used to an editor that starts with and is always in "insert-mode" that is you type on the keyboard it and writes text to the screen. Vi by default starts in a command mode where the keys are used to issue editing commands such as delete, replace, yank (copy), paste, cut and movement keys and such. When one wants to start writing text they have to enter insert mode. Once you get sed to this idea you will start to grasp Vi much better. When you are working in insert mode Vi will behave in a similar manor to what most users expect a few differences aside (like the Esc key and copy/paste commands). To indirectly quote a man named Jon Lasser about vi editing modes.

When you move your (mouse) pointer out of the screen area, you can't type in text. You have, in effect, moved from insert mode to command mode. "It's the same thing,"

Most implementations of Vi including nvi should be able to make use of ones cursor (arrow) keys and the insert/home/pgup/del/home/pgdwn clusters we take for granted but using the arrow keys are less effective then using command mode & the classic movement keys. I'd say you should try to use the cursor keys for simple movement at first because they work in any mode and are less foreign. When some day you find yourself without working cursor keys you will be bloody
happy you learned to use H,J,K,L instead of LEFT, UP, DOWN, RIGHT. Trust me it can happen, I once had a very bad system boot the kind your usually lucky to be able to fix without a rescue disk kind. I had to edit a file and my choices of editors were rather limited (ed, ex, vi, ee). When I ran vi it could not use my cursor keys forcing me to use the H,J,K,L cluster in it's place. Never before was I so glad to know two ways of doing the same thing in a text editor !

Learning Vi

I will split this section into several groups of commands. When I first tried to learn Vi(m) I didn't like it because I could not figure it out at the time. After a while on the FreeBSD command line I learned how to use it. In the process I also learned the easiest way to learn how to use Vi, aside from using Vim instead (:help) was to learn things in small pieces. It won't do you any good to try and learn Vi all at once but if your able to just sit down and inhale it I'll probably edit in a cheat sheet or a link to one at the end of this how-to.

Required Commands

So named because these are what I feel are the fewest commands one needs to know in order to use Vi. Maybe not use it well but use it as well as Notepad is a good editor. While we are on the subject of Notepad. Just to say it, notepad is a good editor for several reasons:

It is on nearly any Windows system, it's very simple and light weight.

You don't need a Ph.D to use it.

It's also very week and very basic.

Vi like many Vi users prefer Speed, Power, and Efficiency over a small inertial learning curve. Many people say Vi is not intuitive to learn but I must disagree it is only a matter of adopting ones mind to shifting between insert and command modes. The more one learns with Vi the more productive they will be but no one need learn every thing on day one !

These are the core super simple commands you have to know to use Vi like most editors.

Key         Action

h           Move left one character - the left arrow does this as well
j           Move down one line - the down arrow does the same thing
k           Move up one line - the up arrow does this too!
l           Move right one character - Right arrow yet again.
Esc         Enter Command Mode /or cancel commands
i           Enter insert mode - the Insert key will also work
x           Delete the character under the cursor - just like the Delete key.
ZZ          Save file and quit Vi

To tell the truth compared to using Notepad you only learned 3 commands. Esc, i, and ZZ or enter command mode, enter insert mode, and write file and get me out of this crazy editor!

The h, j, k, l, and x keys are analogous to the arrow keys and the insert and delete keys on your keyboard. The only difference is these keys work when nothing else does. Some terminals don't support luxuries well such as home and end keys so when working on a machine from a remote session or laptop these can be your best friends. You should be able to live with having to press ESC to use commands and go to insert mode to input text.

Helpful Commands

These are more keys and commands that are not necessary to edit a file but do make live a lot easier especially if you often find your self editing text not just creating it. If you have some experience with some thing called regular expressions a few of these might even seem familiar to you.

Key         Action

:           Enter "ex" like commands in a "command line" mode
:w          Write changes to file
:q          Quit Vi
:e file     Open file for editing

/word       Find "word" much like Control+F in many other editors
n           Go to next occurrence of the search term below the current
N           Go to next occurance of the search term above the current one

a           Enter insert mode right of the cursor
A           Enter insert mode at the end of line
o           Insert line below cursor
O           Insert line above cursor
w           Move forward one word
b           Retreat one word
$           Move cursor to the end of the line
^           Move the cursor to the start of the line
Control+u   Page up half a screen
Control+d   Page down half a screen

u           Undo previous command(s) - some Vi clones have unlimited undo/redo
Control+r   Redo the undone command(s) - same as above ^

r           Replace one char and return to command mode
R           Enter Replace mode - works like pressing insert in most editors
c           Change, takes an operator like d. example: cw=changes a word
d     Delete using a following movement command (see below)
dd          Delete entire line

None of these commands are necessary to know but they sorta make life easier. Personally I find these much easier on the wrists then Emacs which uses key combinations using the Control and Meta keys instead of a command mode.

A few words about the ":" key, it enters a little command line mode. When you press the : key in command mode it gives you a command line to type an ex (extended editor) type of command. After you have typed the command you press enter to run it and should return to normal mode. If you need to force a write or quit you can append the "!" Symbol to it. If you are a ex guru or need to enter many commands in this way you might try the "Q" command to enter Ex mode. For example the ZZ command is the same as :wg. One can mix and match actions and movements very well in Vi, for example if one wanted to delete to the end of the line you could use command mode to enter d$ and delete from the cursor to the end of the line. When one shifts between command and insert modes often in there editing style you soon find the a, A, r, o, and O keys very useful. I've mentioned a few other modes then command and insert but they are of little importance to you unless your into reading good ocumentation. Consult your Vi implementation for details, for users of nvi it's nothing to fart about at this stage of learning. Many commands allow one to specify a location or a movement. This is especially true for using the commands for deletion, joining text, copy/cut/paste, and multiple editing buffers (windows) if your vi supports it.

You might want to get used to using most of these commands or at least the concepts be fore we try to tackle such tasks as more advanced delete or copy/paste commands. A coffee break about now is a very good idea.

A few extra commands

These are other commands useful to users but I broke them off from the above list to ease session based learning.

Key         Action

:!cmd       Execute shell command cmd.
:command!   Force command to run, such as force write-quit (:wq!)
:r!cmd      Run cmd in shell and insert it's output in the file

G           Go to end of buffer (the bottom of the file)
1G          Go to line one in the file
nG          Go to line n. So 10G means go to line 10

>>          Shiftwidth text over one indentation level to the right
<<          Shiftwidth text over one indentation level to the left

One cane execute commands from vi that one would usually run in a shell such as bash or cmd.exe. :!dir \b "C:\Program Files" would be executed just as if one ran the dir command from cmd.exe or If you want to nab the output of a command into your file use :r!command this is very good if one needs to quickly grab some data thats a fast pipe away. The G command is a go to without any arguments it goes to the bottom of the file. If one was to type a number before it it would go to that line number. The >> and << are useful for shifting text around but have likely little need for users not into programming or scripting e.t.c. So I have nothing to say about these commands. Making sense of Vi options One of the worst things is that by default vi generally does not tell you what mode you are in or where the cursor is this can make life harder. Lucky for us Vi has the ability to set options. Really this belongs in a customizing vi section and I'll probably paste it there but I think knowing some of this now will help you. You can set options thus turning them on, off, or setting a value :set option :set nooption :set option=10 If you want to see all the options available you can type :set all if you have a good Vi clone you should be able to get some documentation on what all of these do, for the sake of making Vi more friendly we will cover some good stuff here. :set showmode :set ruler ;set ignorecase These three options (in order of appearance) will make vi show you the current mode at the bottom of the screen, show you the cursors position as line,character at the bottom of the screen, and turn off case sensitivity when searching in a file. You can make a startup file that vi will read when it starts that will set options for you. Ex/Vi and Nex/Nvi use the /etc/exrc and ~/.exrc files but depending on your implementation it may be different such as Vim or Elvis. I don't have much experience with Elvis but for Vim it reads the .vimrc file(s). You can turn these off pretty easy like so :set noshowmode :set noruler :set noignorecase If you want to make a .exrc file for your self you can store commands in it that are what you would type after hitting : so a .exrc file enabling showmode would look like this: set showmode and saved as ~/.exrc if you want to leave a comment in the file preside it with a single " quote. The " Comment marks that entire line after the " character not to be read when starting up. A few options that may interest you are autoindent, tabstop, shiftwidth, wrapmargin, and warplen. By default when one tries to type past the end of the screen it rolls to the line below on screen but is treated as one long line. One can try and make this more like most editors word wrapping with some play time. I will only discuss the autoindent option since it is some thing you will ether long for or hate if you use vi for editing code, scripts, web sites e.t.c. When one sets autoindent on vi starts a new line with the same indentation as the last. The word indentation is a little odd in my opinion if your not a programmer so I'll give a short example of how it goes.
if i is-greater-then 0
      do this code
      and this code
      do this instead
If typing that with autoindent on pressing return after typing "do this code" would automatically indent the next line to the same level. You can press Control+D to kill the autoindent such as if you wanted to place the "else" in our pseudo code at the same level as the "if" and "endif". Deletion Wars If you remember awhile ago when we both were still sane. I mumbled about being able to combine a command and a movement. This is pretty much true with most movement, deletion, and "visual" commands (visual as in cut, copy, paste). x deletes the letter under the cursor but what if we want to delete some thing else? We can use the d key along with a movement specifier if you recall the movement keys h, j, k, l, $, ^ we can combine them all with d to make it mean delete this way. So d^ really means delete to-start-of-line. This makes for very versatile work and it's not just limited to deletion. Much like we can use a number and G to go to a line like 275G to go to the 275th line of a file. Nvi users will especially need to know this for dealing with copy/paste as it lacks a Visual mode that makes it more like other editors. A very fast way to delete an entire line is the dd command or deadly delete :-) You can prefix a number of lines to a command as well, so for example 10dd will delete the current line and the next ten for you. Unlike most editors Vi does not really know you have a mouse, although Vi Clones should if they have a GUI. Some like Elvis and Vim have a "visual" mode that can highlight text using movement keys and then delete it or do the cut, copy, and paste antics with it.
Key         Action

y           Yank (copy) - selects text in a similar manner to the d command
yy          Yank line - selects text in a similar manner to the dd command
yyp         Duplicate line - copy/paste current line on the line below.
p           Put (paste) text
v           Enter visual mode - for some Vi Clones

One should really know both ways if possible. Personally I prefer visual mode, it's more like what we are all used to. That is you select (aka highlight) text then do with it what you want, such as copy or delete. With classic Vi as included in FreeBSD at least one will get an error. If one wanted to copy the current line and the next tree. You would type 3y in command mode. Go to where you want to paste it and press p key in command mode. This is more or less how it works in traditional Vi. This is how it can also be done in a Vi clone like Vim. You can enter visual mode (v key). Once you do that the editor starts treating the cursor movements just like when you old the left mouse button and start dragging the pointer around. Only it works without a mouse ! Once you've high lighted some text you can act on it.So for example if you pressed "vwwd" you would have just deleted from the current cursor position to the next two words. You can use the "c" command to "cut" in visual mode. I have not tried elvis much but it should be similar to vim. Search and Replace If you are familiar with regular expressions, sed, awk, ed, or ex you should be at home right here. The search & replace takes syntax like this 'n,m s/find expression/change expression/cmd'. So if I wanted to change every occurrence of 'vi' to 'emacs' in this file I could do this. :1,$s/vi/emacs rules/g That is from line 1 to end of lines search for the string vi and replace it with emacs globally. If I only wanted to change it for n through m lines I could have tried some thing like this :260,285s/emacs/vi/g Regular expressions are similar to the wild cards used by the shell but they are different. Same concept (imho) but different syntax. Much like C and C++ maybe. A detailed Analise of regular expressions would be out side the scope of this how-to and totally irregular :-) I suggest the following links for more info about regex (regular expressions) Back in the days before operating systems when software ran on the bare hardware. Stuff like this "regular expression" mumbo-jumbo was a thing just for the uber-nerdy scientist but now it's in the power of your editor. It should also be worth learning how to use regex. As it is a common syntax with many uses. The better you know regular expressions the better you will be able to use tools like sed, grep, awk, find, perl, ex, and many more. Options and Configuration We touched on this back in section 4.4.Making Sense of Vi options but will go over a few things again. Saves your scroll bars eh? :-) Vi has a number of options that adjust the way it behaves, here is screen dump of the default setup of nvi. As used on FreeBSD 6.1-Release.
noaltwerase     noextended      matchtime=7     report=5        term="xterm"
noautoindent    filec=""        mesg            noruler         noterse
autoprint       flash           nomodeline      scroll=12       notildeop
noautowrite     nogtagsmode     noprint=""      nosearchincr    timeout
backup=""       hardtabs=0      nonumber        nosecure        nottywerase
nobeautify      noiclower       nooctal         shiftwidth=8    noverbose
cdpath=":"      noignorecase    open            noshowmatch     warn
cedit=""        keytime=6       optimize        noshowmode      window=24
columns=85      noleftright     path=""         sidescroll=16   nowindowname
nocomment       lines=25        print=""        noslowopen      wraplen=0
noedcompatible  nolisp          prompt          nosourceany     wrapmargin=0
escapetime=6    nolist          noreadonly      tabstop=8       wrapscan
noerrorbells    lock            noredraw        taglength=0     nowriteany
noexrc          magic           remap           tags="tags"
paragraphs="IPLPPPQPP LIpplpipbp"
sections="NHSHH HUnhsh"
Press any key to continue [: to enter more ex commands]:
You can get a screen like this by using the :set all command. Every option or "variable" can be turned off by appending 'no' to the command. So if we wanted to turn on autoindent we would :set autoindent We could also have used the short form and typed :set ai but that makes it harder to read. Why this matters I'll tell you in a sec :-P To turn it off we would then type this. :set noautoindent Some options take a numeric value and are set like this :set shiftwidth=4 I'll try to quickly document each of these options the best I can ones of value. So you can choose what you prefer. I'd suggest if you want to modify Vi's behavior to test a few options to see how you like the changes. If I have no information about the option, it is not listed. Option: autoindent Short form: ai Value: on/off Default: noautoindent Description: When turned on 'ai' will automatically start the new line to at the same depth as the previous line when breaking lines (i.e. pressing enter). The value of the 'shiftwidth' variable is used when inserting tabs. When your done you can undo the autoindent by pressed the control+d. I've yet to figure out if it is a bug or a configuration error but if tabstop and shiftwidth have different values. Control+d will not un-indent the line correctly if sw and ts are not equal. Line one line two Autoindented Cntrl+D Option: autoprint Short Form: ap Value: on/off Default: noautoprint Description: I don't see any effects but my reference says 'Display changes after each command.' Option: autowrite Short Form: aw Value: on/off Default: off Description: Automatically write changes to file after certain events. Option beautify Short Form: bf Value: on/off Default: off Description: Ignore all control characters during input (except tab, newline, formfeed). Pressing control+letter in insert mode when no command exists will result in text like this by default. How to delete a tpyo No I'm not trying to insult emacs users, I would probably use M-B M-D to fix such a typo when using Evil Macs. Option: columns Shot Form: col Value: numeric Default: varies Description: The number of columns to use for the text area. Example, how to set vi to 85 columns wide. :set columns=85 Option: edcompatible Short Form: ed Value: on/off Default: off Description: Use ed-like features on substitute, probably more useful for Bill Joy then you or me. Option: errorbells Short Form: eb Value: on/off Default: on Description: Sound the system bell when you make a booboo. Option: exrc Short Form: ex Value: on/of Default: off Description: Vi can read an exrc file that will run a set of commands at startup. Basically a configuration file for setting your options (see next chapter). Option: hardtabs= Short Form: ht= Value: numeric Default: 8 Description: Set boundary for hardware tabs, may be useful for a Teletype. Option: ignorecase Short Form: ic Value: on/off Default: off Description: Ignore case in regex expressions. Option: lisp Short Form: ? Value: on/off Default: off Description: Turn on lisp mode, I think it aids the formating of old lisp code. Option: list Short Form: ? Value: on/off Default: off Description: Display all tabs, end of lines. Turn this on for fun :-) Option: magic Short Form: ? Value: on/off Default: on Description: Enable more regex expressions Option: mesg Short Form: ? Value: on/off Default: on Description: Allows mesgs to be sent to terminal, see man mesg(1) Option: number Short Form: nu Value: on/off Default: off Description: Enables line numbering, this can help when debugging files. I usually have a mapping to enable it with the F2 key in my ~/.exrc file. Option: prompt Short Form: ? Value: on/off Default: on Description: Enalbes the ':' prompt, if you disable this you can make ex behave more like ed. You probably don't want this. Option: readonly Short Form: ro Value: on/off Default: off Description: Prevents you from writing the file unless you override it like so. :w! Option: redraw Short Form: ? Value: on/off Default: off Description: Redraw screen when edits are made, probably works like the Control+L command (refreshes screen). Option: report= Short Form: ? Value: numeric Default: =5 Description: Report changes if they effect more lines then report=n. Such as when using the delete/yank/join commands e.t.c. Option: shiftwidth= Short Form: sw= Value: numeric Default: 8 Description: How many characters to use when shifting width with the >> and << commands e.t.c. If you plan to use autoindent, the value of sw and ts should be the same (see below). Option: showmatch Short Form: sm Value: on/off Default: off Description: The cursor will flash and move to the openning {, }, (, ), [, or ] when typing a closing one on screen. Option: showmode Short Form: ? Value: on/off Default: off Description: Shows which mode you are in such as command, insert, append, or replace. This is so useful its a perfect choice for the beginners exrc file. Option: tabstop= Short Form: ts= Value: numeric Default: 8 Description: How many characters to display a 'tab' as, mostly of use for programmers. Common choices are 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12. It has been suggested that one should not change this setting but instead adjust the shiftwidth setting. I can only say from personal experience if you change tabstop but forget to change shiftwidth to the same. Auto-indent will be a bit off :-) Option: wrapmargin= Short Form: wm= Value: numeric Default: 0 Description: Set the right margin. Setting a value greater than 0 will word wrap n spaces from the edge of the screen. So :set wm=5 would make the display wrap lines when ever it hit the 5th to last line of the terminal. Option: wrapscan Short Form: ws Value: on/off Default: on Description: Searches wrap around end of file How to make a exrc file The exrc file is very simple. Commands are read from the ~/.exrc file just as they are from the ':' command line in Vi. Placing this line in your exrc file set autoindent Is the same as tying :set autoindent in command mode. You can use the double qoute or " character to comment a line. " This line is not read by Vi set tabstop=6 Here is an example of what my ~/.exrc file might look like with extra comments.
" Tell me what mode I'm in between coffee breaks
set showmode
" Press F2 to turn on line numbering, make the ^M with ctrl+v ctrl+m
map  :set number
" Alias ';' to :
map ; :

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