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    As you can see, ed is not an especially talkative program.

    This was a major attraction of ed for at least one blind programmer, Karl Dahlke. I can’t find a source for this now, but I recall reading that for years, he had to use a Votrax speech synthesizer, which had no ability to interrupt its output. That would certainly explain the attraction of something that minimized output, even if it took great skill to master. Karl describes his philosophy in his essay Command Line Programs for the Blind.

    To be clear, blind programmers that use ed (or Karl’s edbrowse) are a tiny minority of a minority. The blind programmers I know use a mainstream IDE or editor with a screen reader, mostly under Windows.

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      I feel old, because I know about where vim came from even before react and its sponsor “facebook” existed.

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        Interesting post. I never realized that vi was just a wrapper around ed/ex! I am surprised there’s no mention of sed, the next in line after qed and ed in the genealogy of the non-interactive editing tools.

        Regarding the editor wars, I recall a mini-war back in the day between elvis, nvi, and vim. Some linux distros used elvis as their default for what gets invoked when a user typed “vi”; others used nvi, and others used vim. I don’t remember which vi clones went with which distributions, but I do remember getting flamed in the #vi channel for not knowing the difference between vi, elvis, and vim. The end result was I decided all those guys are nutty and switched to joe (which was familiar due to my Turbo C background). I am now a hardcore vim user, but still yearn for an editor with a function key template, to satisfy my inner WordPerfect-raised child.

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          Cool post. I’ve also written about Vim, Ed, and Vi in this podcast.

          Be sure to check the comments from jkl too, clarifying some parts.