Ed is the standard text editor

This is an old joke, but increasingly one that people haven’t seen.  Given that I stuck a vi/emacs question at the end of the mhvlug survey, I thought it would be worth reposting for posterity.  The original version is here.

When I log into my Xenix system with my 110 baud teletype, both vi and Emacs are just too damn slow. They print useless messages like, ‘C-h for help’ and ‘“foo” File is read only’. So I use the editor that doesn’t waste my VALUABLE time.

Ed, man!  !man ed

ED(1)               Unix Programmer's Manual                ED(1)

NAME
     ed - text editor

SYNOPSIS
     ed [ - ] [ -x ] [ name ]
DESCRIPTION
     Ed is the standard text editor.

Computer Scientists love ed, not just because it comes first alphabetically, but because it’s the standard. Everyone else loves ed because it’s ED!

“Ed is the standard text editor.”

And ed doesn’t waste space on my Timex Sinclair. Just look:

-rwxr-xr-x  1 root          24 Oct 29  1929 /bin/ed
-rwxr-xr-t  4 root     1310720 Jan  1  1970 /usr/ucb/vi
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root  5.89824e37 Oct 22  1990 /usr/bin/emacs

Of course, on the system I administrate, vi is symlinked to ed. Emacs has been replaced by a shell script which 1) Generates a syslog message at level LOG_EMERG; 2) reduces the user’s disk quota by 100K; and 3) RUNS ED!!!!!!

“Ed is the standard text editor.”

Let’s look at a typical novice’s session with the mighty ed:

golem$ ed

?
help
?
?
?
quit
?
exit
?
bye
?
hello?
?
eat flaming death
?
^C
?
^C
?
^D
?

Note the consistent user interface and error reportage. Ed is generous enough to flag errors, yet prudent enough not to overwhelm the novice with verbosity.

“Ed is the standard text editor.”

Ed, the greatest WYGIWYG editor of all.

ED IS THE TRUE PATH TO NIRVANA! ED HAS BEEN THE CHOICE OF EDUCATED AND IGNORANT ALIKE FOR CENTURIES! ED WILL NOT CORRUPT YOUR PRECIOUS BODILY FLUIDS!! ED IS THE STANDARD TEXT EDITOR! ED MAKES THE SUN SHINE AND THE BIRDS SING AND THE GRASS GREEN!!

When I use an editor, I don’t want eight extra KILOBYTES of worthless help screens and cursor positioning code! I just want an EDitor!! Not a “viitor”. Not a “emacsitor”. Those aren’t even WORDS!!!! ED! ED! ED IS THE STANDARD!!!

TEXT EDITOR.

When IBM, in its ever-present omnipotence, needed to base their “edlin” on a Unix standard, did they mimic vi? No. Emacs? Surely you jest. They chose the most karmic editor of all. The standard.

Ed is for those who can remember what they are working on. If you are an idiot, you should use Emacs. If you are an Emacs, you should not be vi. If you use ED, you are on THE PATH TO REDEMPTION. THE SO-CALLED “VISUAL” EDITORS HAVE BEEN PLACED HERE BY ED TO TEMPT THE FAITHLESS. DO NOT GIVE IN!!! THE MIGHTY ED HAS SPOKEN!!!

?

One thought on “Ed is the standard text editor”

  1. Awesome. I actually took a look, and while the difference is exaggerated for comic effect here there is an order of magnitude difference in the size of ed, vi, and emacs:

    ncoleman@Leviathan:~$ ls -l /bin/ed
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 39700 2010-03-04 22:47 /bin/ed

    ncoleman@Leviathan:~$ ls -l /usr/bin/vim.tiny
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 634356 2010-09-28 03:17 /usr/bin/vim.tiny

    ncoleman@Leviathan:~$ ls -l /usr/bin/emacs23-x
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 6702376 2010-11-26 09:02 /usr/bin/emacs23-x

    Like

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