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JOE Hits 3.0 519

orasio writes " Joe's Own Editor , a unix editor very much like the old Turbo-Pascal 4 editor, or WordStar, used and enjoyed by us console freaks who still miss the old DOS days, and cannot finish understanding vi's modes, has been revamped, adding syntax highlighting and internationalization support after many years without new features. The Sourceforge project is open for contributors since a year ago, but this is the first major feature improvement, that brings new life to JOE as a neat console-based programmer's editor." Joe is one undervalued program -- less arcane than vi, less cumbersome than emacs.
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JOE Hits 3.0

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  • VI is everywhere. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moderation abuser ( 184013 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @06:28AM (#8981760)
    JOE isn't.

    So when I learned vi, I could use the knowledge on every Unix system I've ever been on. That alone makes it more useful than JOE.

    JOE's really JAE.

  • Great news, but.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by manavendra ( 688020 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @06:31AM (#8981778) Homepage Journal
    realistically, how many ppl use Joe?

    Yes I've used wordstar in past. And Joe as well. But it seems to me the world has moved far far ahead in the last few years. Sure, vi and emacs lovers wouldnt even think of using any other editor, but IMO, for any serious editing purposes there already are a variety of editors available.

    So perhaps, this is news for those who get a nostalgic feeling about the good-old-days. Maybe some will even d/l and give it a go, but the very fact that the this is the first major feature improvement even though the SourceForge project has been open for contributors for over a year, speaks volumes about its usage, demand and popularity.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @06:31AM (#8981779)
    UNIX isn't.

    So when I learned Windows, I could use the knowledge on every computer I've ever been on. That alone makes it more useful than UNIX.
  • by LoboRojo ( 758260 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @06:31AM (#8981781)
    Cannot believe the bunch of negative comments on Joe... what are you trolling about? In the old times, for most people getting into Linux from DOS, JOE was the only editor worth to be relied on. vi was cryptic as hell and emacs was... emacs.

    Long life dear old JOE!
  • pah! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chegosaurus ( 98703 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @06:32AM (#8981789) Homepage
    Give me CygnusEd or give me death! Now there was a text editor.

    BTW, had to smile at the end of the editorial - as if anything could be more arcane than vi and/or more cumbersome than EMACS!
  • Wordstar Like (Score:3, Insightful)

    by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @06:33AM (#8981795)
    that's a turnoff for a start... and an awfull lot of the younger slashdotters will be going "Wordstar"??? Yes kids... it was big but Wordstar failed to keep up in the feature race back in the days of Wordperfect for Dos etc... I use nano and or pico myself...
  • by not_a_product_id ( 604278 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @06:34AM (#8981806) Journal
    This is what's been pushing me into learning vi (a process that isn't bad at all. just try the tutor - i think it's "vimtutor"). You KNOW that when you have to use an editor in an emergency vi will be there, JOE (or whatever else you prefer) probably won't. You DO NOT want to be learning vi as you try to repair a production server.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @06:40AM (#8981830)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @06:43AM (#8981846)
    holy fucking shit, i just did. jed rocks. thanks scott.
  • by spaceturtle ( 687994 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @06:43AM (#8981847)
    Clearly GUI editors aren't much use until you can get X running. I use vi my self, but none of the existing Linux text mode editors use the "standard" keyboard shortcuts such as cntl-c for copy. To old win/dos users I would recommend pico as the least esoteric of the non-X editors. Does anyone know of a win98 clone for linux?
  • Value (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mpmansell ( 118934 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @06:46AM (#8981865)
    I was browsing this article armed with moderator points, but the quality of the initial few posters has irritated me enough to make a post myself.

    The old hands among us will remember and still have the hidden ability of WordStar keystrokes 'programmed' into our fingers. While many of us have moved on to more powerful editors, we still appreciate that Wordstar like editors give efficient and competent editing capabilities in a small package. There are many of us that don't like drop down menus since we actually spend time writing code and find the action of hunting a mouse menu cumbersome.Deriding these tools because they are DOS like is irrelevant

    While I don't often use it, Joe is a good example of this class of editor and I know many people who enjoy using it. While I am firmly in the Vi camp, I enjoy the fact that they have the choice to use a tool that suits them.

    However, with the addition of syntax colouring, it may well become my editor of choice (instead of nedit) for when I'm doing multiplatform work and the practical and psychological leap of hopping from a WhineDoze box with Visual Studio to a linux box with Vi (utterly different paradigm) causes tangled fingers (and nerves :) )

    (Please feel free to donate large sums to pay for my treatment when windows finally drives me nuts)

    On a more general /. rant, over the last few years more an more trolls have invaded our forum. Too many socially defective individuals think that purile comments and insults are somehow witty, even though they have nothing of value to add to the discussion. All too often I see the hard work of developers who are donating their creations to our community belittled by people who I doubt even have the skills of a script kiddy.

    Please people, if you have nothing of value to say, then just don't say it.

  • by carndearg ( 696084 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @06:49AM (#8981874) Homepage Journal
    I used to use JOE but moved to vi when I found myself working on more JOE-less machines. I used because it had the Wordstar keys I was used to from the DOS editor I used at the time. There are still a lot of people out there with DOS skills who find life difficult when moving to a Linux or similar environment. For many this might seem like a retrograde step, but I have often wished that there was a port of the DOS 5 Edit interface on a Linux editor, complete with clunky MS style menu system. If people are to be encouraged to move operating systems, a few familiar looking tools would help them along their way.
  • by Garak ( 100517 ) <chris&insec,ca> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @06:57AM (#8981909) Homepage Journal
    CTRL-c to exit without saving
    CTRL-k, s save
    CTRL-k, x exit and save
    CTRL-k, b start block
    CTRL-k, k end blow
    CTRL-k, c copy/paste block
    CTRL-k, f find ...

    vi has a steep learning curve, no onscreen help, it trapped me too many times for me to give it a chance whe I first started out.

    Joe was the only one besides pico with on screen help that I could find in my early slackware days. It stuck and I still use it all the time. In the mean while I've still learned enough vi to use it when I have to.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @06:58AM (#8981911)
    Try doing that on your University/Work system, and see how far it gets you.
  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @07:00AM (#8981920) Homepage Journal

    There really is no shortage of cross-platform editors available -- it's mostly the IDE addicts that risk being locked into a platform-specific editor.

    I use vi-derivatives like vim everywhere. There are no shortage of Win32-based implementations, both for text window and for GUI use.

    GNU Emacs is also on any platform I've ever used, and MicroEmacs was almost as portable.

    Then there are multi-platform IDE's like Eclipse or SunONE Studio.

    I really don't understand why people lament when editors don't have more active support and new features. There just isn't much need for more editors unless someone comes up with a truly unique approach to manipulating text.

  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnu p . net> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @07:07AM (#8981958) Homepage
    "cannot finish understanding vi's modes"?

    Give over, man. It has *two* modes! You can always get back to the default mode by hitting escape.

    Even iPod has 2 modes (wheel fer scrolling / wheel fer volume)

    Now Emacs, that's another matter. I've put serious effort into learning Emacs on three separate occasions in the last 10 years, and every time I gave up because even the simplest thing requires you to remember a seriously obscure series of keystrokes.

    -sigh- should have learned not to join editor flamewars by now.
  • by lintux ( 125434 ) < minus cat> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @07:10AM (#8981969) Homepage
    There are more Joe-users than you'd expect. When I started with Linux, about seven years ago, I tried out all editors, and joe was the only sane editor I could find. And once you get hooked, it's hard to switch to something else.

    And so far I haven't found any reason to switch to a new editor. Not even joe 3.0. Joe 2.8 is almost completely bug-free, while the version currently available at SourceForge is quite buggy, not very portable anymore, and in fact it just doesn't really have any new feature worth upgrading...
  • by mpmansell ( 118934 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @07:10AM (#8981970)
    All reasons why I love Vim so much and make sure I have it on all my machines be they Linux, Solaris, BSD or WhineDoze

    However, Editors like Joe still have their little niche in the software ecosystem since they are small (not sure how big the new one is yet, hope it doesn't make this comment look foolish by dwarfing Emacs :) ), runs on pretty much anything that supports curses and for smaller jobs quick and simple to use.

    Much as I like Vi, sometimes there are editing tasks that are more intuatively done in Nedit or Joe

    Regarding Emacs users only using a subset of commands, what is wrong with this? In fact, how many Vim users know or use all the commands? Like Emacs, it is safe to say that some commands are little enough used, or complex enough to confuse and lead people to solve the problem another way. For a normal mortal example, take regexes. I have used Vi and Unix style regexes almost every day for the last 15 years. Even so, I still have cause to stop and think about some solutions. Some incantations probably do look like they should be done at midnight under a full moon :)

    My argument with an editor has always been practicality. If you can use a subset to get your job done, then why worry is you don't learn anything else?

  • by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @07:47AM (#8982171) Homepage
    and more intuitive

    when are ppl going to realize that 'intuitive' is not an objective standard and that it means different things to different people? Intuitive implies a pre-learned context that not everyone shares. It's juat a fancy way of saying, "I like it!".

  • by lactose99 ( 71132 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @08:07AM (#8982291)
    Funny that, replace "text editor" with "operating system" and you've just described the stereotypical Windows zealot.

    As with anything, it all comes down to what you determine to be the best tool for the job. If you work with all sorts of *NIX OSes, groking vi is valuable as it is ubiquitous.

    An interesting side-effect of using vi is the tie-ins between vi, ed, and sed, as they all use largely the same command set. Knowing how to do something like a search-and-replace in one translates easily to the other two, and vice versa.
  • by trewornan ( 608722 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @08:09AM (#8982315)

    Why would you want to emulate one with the other?

    Despite the old joke about how the only vi command you need is :q! not being true. You really need to know very few commands:

    • vi whatever.conf - open a file
    • [esc] - enter beep (aka command) mode
    • HJKL - move the cursor about
    • x - delete character
    • i - insert stuff
    • :wq - save and exit

    This is enough to correct a config file and get things going again - all the rest is window dressing.

  • by Scott Wood ( 1415 ) <> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @08:51AM (#8982661)

    If you can access the machine well enough to use vi on it, you can probably get a copy of joe onto it as well. Learn scp, ya bum.

    Seriously, it's kind of silly to use a particular editor just because of its ubiquity. One can be familiar enough with vi to use it (grudgingly) in an emergency, while still using something more pleasant in non-emergencies.

  • by helixblue ( 231601 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:16AM (#8982896) Homepage
    My first text editor in UNIX was vi. I hated it's arcane commands, but saw it's usefulness if I was actually on the 300 baud connection it was designed for. I was then introduced to pico. I used pico for a few years, and it's just about as simple of a text editor as you would want. The commands are fairly easy, but sometimes I needed to go to the help screens, and hated navigating through them to fine some of the stranger options I wanted. I was also frustrated by the lack of advanced features that I knew from vi, like command line pipes and such.

    I don't recall from where, but a few years later in 1997, I found joe. As a former pico and vi user, I really liked joe. It allowed you to show all the shortcuts on the top of the screen while you were editing documents, so it was easier to learn than pico, and it allowed many of the advanced functions of vi.

    For instance, command line pipes are probably my most used joe feature that wasn't available in pico (maybe someone snuck it in recently). You can select a bunch of text, and hit Ctrl-K/. You are then prompted for a command line that all this text will be sent through. Your command line can be as easy as "sort", and all of your lines that you are selected, or as complex as a command-line perl script. For me, the most common are sort, uniq, cut, and perl.

    On top of that, joe felt natural. From 1987 to 1996 I used Wordstar throughout all of my school reports. I knew all of the key combinations by heart.

    I get weird looks from other senior UNIX admins still when they ask "vi or emacs?", and I answer "joe". I've been doing UNIX admin work now for 8 years, and still hate vi to this very day. I know enough to get a machine repaired enough to install joe, however. joe, screen, and zsh are the first 3 things to get installed on any machine I administer: from Linux, to Solaris, to IRIX to FreeBSD. When I teach new people UNIX, I teach them with joe, not vi. If I ever meet Joseph Allen, I'll be sure to buy him a drink!

  • by Croaker ( 10633 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:24AM (#8982972)
    # vim works like you think. Many commands are "mnemonic".

    Uh, not the way I think. Not the way most people think. Most people, especially those new to the UNIX platform, have no clue. Does alert you to the help facilities on starting up? Does Vim just let you start typing?

    Mnemonics are sweet and all, but they are useless unless you already know the command and you are trying to remember it. Joe was really one of the first editors that made it easy for newbies to get help straight off the bat.

    # Speed: CPU-wise, vim is still by far more efficient than joe. Try running joe on an SGI Indy! Or on a PC/286!

    You're talking out of your ass here. Have you tried running joe on a slow platform? I have... 16 Mhz 68000 UNIX systems, under a 80186 (yes, "1", that's not a typo) at 10Mhz under DOS. What's more I've used it over 1200 baud modems, raw telnet connections across the country back when you were lucky to have a 56k baud line shared with an entire campus. It worked perfectly. I'm not saying that Vim can't do that as well, but you obviously have no clue when it comes to Joe's system requirements. Maybe you're thinking it's some offshoot of EMACS?

  • by Simon ( 815 ) <> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:43AM (#8983191) Homepage
    Funny that, replace "text editor" with "operating system" and you've just described the stereotypical Windows zealot.

    Perhaps, but I wasn't talking about operating systems. I was talking about text editors. Which I feel is a totally different class of problem/difficulty. Why do I need a manual to do the simplest and most basic things in a text editor? Seriously.

    As for that "it's a steep learninig curve, but once you learn it it's powerful" statement people like to bring up, things like Joe are powerful because they do not have a steep learning curve. What exactly is it that vi's steep learning curve gives people apart from a feeling of "eliteness", that can't be found elsewhere in easier to use software? What's the pay-off?

    [...] groking vi is valuable as it is ubiquitous

    How come that is the only argument I hear from people about why vi is so great? "It's everywhere". So is windows. So what.


  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:52AM (#8983320) Journal
    I agree with everything, except this:

    The only reason they should be supported as an extension is for people who can't break their mind out of the "arrow keys are the one way to move the cursor" paradigm.

    I have a better reason... Any non-US or non-QWERTY keyboard will not put the letters for movement under your fingers. I type in Dvorak, and the 4 keys are scattered across the keyboard.

    I don't like moving my hand down to the arrow keys, but at least they are all in one place. Besides, you've got the same problem using the ESC key with your left hand. I really think arrow keys should be better supported by nvi... It's not as if I want to hit the arrow key and have it delete a line for me. If nothing else, it would prevent accidents.

    Besides, what's wrong with making life a little easier for those who are used to the arrow keys? They aren't serving any other useful purpose.

    It's also more consistent, in that you have to use them to move around in insert mode, so being able to use them in command-mode just makes sense.
  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:52AM (#8983321) Journal
    If you can access the machine well enough to use vi on it, you can probably get a copy of joe onto it as well. Learn scp, ya bum.

    Not true. I personally always setup a box with numerous serial ports, connected to the real servers. That way, even when one of the boxes can't be pinged, I can make a connection.

    What happens when you are using a machine without a compiler? Maybe you can get a Linux binary, but good luck finding a SunOS/AIX/HPUX binary for your text editor.

    I know that, after setting up a BSD system, the only installed editor is vi... If you need to edit a file before you can get networking, you either have to know vi, or you've got to know how to get real good with cat & echo :-)

  • by solojony ( 774539 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:56AM (#8983355) Journal
    If being installed everywhere is a must, then you should use ed, that way you could use your editor, even if your only way to read output is a line printer, or maybe cat > file.txt, that is everywhere too ;)

    I'm a sysadmin and can use vi fairly well if I don't have joe available, just because I feel more confortable at it, and I don't think that is a problem, but I like to install bash, joe, less, top, lsof and several things, not because it can't be done on a clean install, but why not use some extra tools?.

    For me the advantage of joe over all the other editors is that it has a *very easy* learning curve, and I can introduce new ppl to Unix text editing in a few minutes, also time is not wasted because is joe is a lightweight and very powerful editor if you go deep into it, a lot of the combos are useful in the prompt of several shells because they are similar to emacs.
    Have you ever tried to guide through telephone a guy who hasn't have a clue of unix through editing a conf file with vi? I have been through that some times, and joe served its purpose nicely.

    Can't understand all this banging is all about choices.
  • Happened To Me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @11:47AM (#8984766)
    No crap! That happened to me when I was remotely logged onto a server and tried to use the cvs commit command without the -m flag. (Disclaimer: I'm a Mac user, so I have no clue how to do much in Unix other than CVS.) Suddenly the screen blanked with a little line across the bottom and a blinking cursor at the top and I'm supposed to know what the hell to do? It wasn't until I was talking with a bud later on that I figured out I was even in a text editor. At the very least, can't they spare a line at the top of the screen for "VI Text Editor version X" or something? After trying every key combination I could think of I ended up just closing the terminal window and cutting off the connection.

    When people say that open source software has terrible, terrible UIs it's not just talking about the graphical stuff. It's usually worth it to be to hook up FTP, download the file, edit it with my old copy of the Codewarrior IDE, then re-upload. I could have done that process twice in the time it would have taken me to figure out how to type a line of text and save it in VI.
  • by Glytch ( 4881 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:22PM (#8986081)
    Your sysadmin dislikes users running unpriviliged programs from their own directory? Seems a tad paranoid to me. On any properly run system, the worst thing that it could do is wipe out one's own files. Is your sysadmin a fascist, or an idiot?
  • by Cryptnotic ( 154382 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @05:44PM (#8989905)

    ctrl-s is, like 's' for 'saving' :-)

    So it's English-biased? What happens when you port it to Spaish or German or Chinese or Korean and those key mnemonics don't make sense anymore? For those people (and there are a lot of them) the keystroke choices are arbitrary.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming