Linux Switching and Editors

Ok, I have two things to ask/pose/announce, which only seems fitting after writing something about how blog posts should be more singularly focused. Figures.

Part One: Switching to Linux

So, I've mentioned "the great linux switching of 2008" a few times, but never really explained it. Here's a proper exploration:

I'm finally begining to feel the pinch of not having a desktop computer. Don't get me wrong, I really love my laptop, and will likely still use it a lot. My issue, is that I want more screen space than I'm really willing to pay for in a laptop (and a better keyboard), and I want to be able to dig a little deeper into the open source world for various reasons. And I've realized that the cost of building a multi-screen desktop isn't going to be particularly prohibitive. So it seems like the right thing to do.

I started out the linux journey running ubuntu (hardy) and it was ok, but not great. Then I spent most of the week plaiyng around with gentoo linux and toying with the idea of other distrobutions like ArchLinux, say. And the end result was that while ubuntu was frustrating from time to time, it would work. I mean really work. So having learned my lesson--which I think is the most valuable product important re: the linux community of this process--I'm back to using ubuntu, and it's working better than ever.

Part Two: Editor Dependence

As part of the "Great Linux Switch of '08," [1] I've been spending a lot of time working in a virtual machine instalation of linux (first ubuntu, now gentoo) to practice the setup and get a slate of configuration files all ready for the machine when I finally order the real hardware. Going into this, I knew that the hardest part of the transition to linux was going to be the text editor part. Which wasn't insignifigant given that, I write a lot of text and I'm a devotee of the OS X only "TextMate."

In my linux useage I've been using vim a lot, and I've written about my vim trials for some time here, in various ways. Including, my comment to twitter that "vim isn't something that people ever learn, as much as give up on." Having said that, I think I've got mostly got a hang of it it. I need to get highlighting for Markdown and a few other things nailed out. And there are a lot of things that I don't quite know how to do, but I'm getting there. The other thing that I've recognized myself doing is using more than one editor, or at least multiple variants of .

I mean, we use plain text files because they're standard and just about every editor can read them. Isn't it ironic then, that I/we grow so dependent on specific programs? Despite irony, it's true for pretty good reasons. [2] In anycase, for a lot of drafting and blogging writing, I've been using cream, a modern interface/configuration of vim that basically acts like you'd expect an editor written in the last twenty-thirty years to act. [3] And I've even been using standard gui-vim (gvim) for some things, and it's not all bad.

Having reported this, I can't decide if:

  1. I haven't found the linux editing enviroment nirvana.
  2. I'm maturing in my geekyness/editor use and am become more in touch with/accepting of mostly standard configurations.

What do you all use/like? Thoughts

[1]Possible Tagline: More interesting than the election, and potentially less disheartening.
[2]comofort with enviroment leads to more efficency/pleasure.
[3]Vim is decended relatively directly from vi which was written in the late sixties, as one of the first (vi)sual editors. The basic idea is that the editing experience is modal. In "normal mode" you move the cursor around your documents, copy ("yank") and paste ("put") text, delete text, and issue commands to the editor (save, etc). In "insert mode" when you type the characters are entered into your document (which would be "normal" for the rest of us, right?) Anyway, this lets you make the most of your keyboard, and saves your pinkies from over use on the control/meta keys and directional/arrow keys, and the end result is an editor that's very powerful and very useful, once you give up and submit to thinking in it's way
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