Learning the vi Editor

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10. elvis

Author and History
Important Command-Line Arguments
Online Help and Other Documentation
Multiwindow Editing
GUI Interfaces
Extended Regular Expressions
Improved Editing Facilities
Programming Assistance
Interesting Features
elvis Futures
Sources and Supported Operating Systems

elvis was written and is maintained by Steve Kirkendall. An earlier version became the basis for nvi. This chapter was written using elvis.

10.1 Author and History

With our thanks for his help, we'll let Steve Kirkendall give the history in his own words:

I started writing elvis 1.0 after an early clone called stevie crashed on me, causing me to lose a few hours' work and totally destroying my confidence in that program. Also, stevie stored the edit buffer in RAM which simply wasn't practical in Minix. So I started writing my own clone, which stored its edit buffer in a file. And even if my editor crashed, the edited text could still be retrieved from that file.

elvis 2.x is almost completely separate from 1.x. I wrote this, my second vi clone, because my first one inherited too many limitations from the real vi, and from Minix. The biggest change is the support for multiple edit buffers and multiple windows, neither of which could be retrofitted into 1.x very easily. I also wanted to shed the line-length limitation, and have online help written in HTML.

As to the name "elvis," Steve says that at least part of the reason he chose the name was to see how many people would ask him why he chose the name![1] It is also common for vi clones to have the letters "vi" somewhere in their names.

[1] :-) In around eight years, I was only number four! A.R.

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