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Mugdha V
Technical Communication Expert, Entrepreneur, Geek
Technical Communication Expert, Entrepreneur, Geek

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I now have a new website Please visit to know more about my work experience, published work, and contact details.

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It's interesting to see how short memory is. I was looking at this article today about Vim's 20th birthday, and thought, "It isn't really Vim's 20th birthday. It's a lot closer to its 35th!" Because of course, vim is really just an extended and improved version of the venerable vi, the first screen-oriented editor for Unix.

While the article starts out with a history of vi, it somehow treats it as if it were a grandparent, rather than the template for what remains. The core design of vim reflects the design insights of Bill Joy, not those of Bram Moolenaar, who refined and updated them.

I find the same kind of historical revisionism about Linux and Unix. For all practical purposes, Linux IS Unix, the system designed by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie, the system whose "architecture of participation" led to the first collaboratively developed operating system, of which Linux is an implementation. Linus Torvalds did a magnificent job of bringing Unix to its current level of success, but let's not forget the people who originally designed it.

It's important to distinguish between software that is a descendant of another piece of software, as say, Unix was a descendant of Multics, or Java of C, and software that is literally a version (albeit an improved version) of what went before.

I remember working with +Linda Lamb on the first edition of our book Learning the Vi Editor (now Learning the Vi and Vim Editors ) back in 1986, when Vi was already a decade old. The intro I wrote for the original edition still survives, though it's been rewritten half a dozen times.

The original version of that introduction more clearly reflected my joy in discovering vi, it's seemingly arcane interface that actually turned out to be a marvel of design, so perfectly adapted to the needs of text editing that I have yet to find a better tool for the job. I celebrate Bram Moolenaar's update to Vi, but I celebrate even more deeply Bill Joy's original creation.

Spoke too soon... =/

Quiet day...
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