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README for vile, version 6.1

vile is a text editor which is extremely compatible with vi in terms
of "finger feel".  in addition, it has extended capabilities in many areas,
notably multi-file editing and viewing, key rebinding, and real X window
system support.

the authors of vile are Paul Fox, Tom Dickey, and Kevin Buettner.

many patches have been contributed by a lot of users.  we thank them.

more recent additions to this README appear near the bottom.  that is, most
of the newest stuff is at the end, not up here where you are.

to be sure it's still the latest.

impatient?  just type "./configure; make", and get a cup of coffee, decaf
if necessary.  

want X11 support?  you'd better look at README.CFG, although 
"./configure --with-screen=x11"; make" may well do what you want.

if you like vile, and wish to be informed of new releases, let me
know -- i maintain a mailing list for that purpose.  don't worry -- the
volume won't fill your inbox.

paul fox,

kevin buettner can be reached at
tom dickey can be reached at


original README, from February, 1992:

VILE -- VI Like Emacs: a vi workalike put together from Micro-Emacs by Paul Fox

	This editor grew out of a frustration that although lots of
	eager programmers have tackled rewrites of Emacs, with new and
	better features (not to mention free source), I've not seen
	anything similar done with the Second True Editor.  (The
	First, of course, being /bin/ed)

	So I took a copy of MicroEmacs 3.9 (which I've since
	discovered was out of date, unfortunately) and turned it
	into a vi "feel-alike".  It retains the multiple
	buffer/multiple window features of uemacs, but the
	"finger-feel", if you will, is very much that of vi.  It is
	definitely not a clone, in that some substantial stuff is
	missing, and the screen doesn't look quite the same.  But what
	matters most is that one's "muscle memory" does the right thing
	to the text in front of you, and that is what vile tries to do
	for vi users.   THIS IS NOT A "CLONE"!  But it feels good.
	(Put another way, the things that you tend to type over and
	over probably work -- things done less frequently, like configuring
	a .exrc file, are quite different.)

	This is the second really public release of vile.  Users of
	previous versions will hopefully find many new features -- see the
	CHANGES file for details.

	The collective developers of Micro-Emacs should be
	complimented that the changes were as easy as they were.  The
	code was pretty clean and well designed before I started on
	it.  I'm not sure that the same can be said anymore... 

	The major benefits over standard vi include:
		- multiple files open at once
		- multiple windows on the screen
		- a larger set of operator commands
		- the possibility of porting to your favorite micro.
		- "next error" cursor positioning after compilation
	      [	- infinite undo  -pgf 7/93 ]
	Of course, it _may_ lack some of vi's reliability. :-)
	[but not much -- it's _very_ stable these days. -pgf 1/95]

	Take a look at vile.hlp for more information about features
	and differences. 

	In general, I suspect that the quality of the code is roughly
	on a par with MicroEmacs.  I've been using vile regularly under
	both SunOS and 386 UNIX for almost two years [more like 5 years
	now, on a lot more platforms than that -pgf 12/94], with no major
	problems (that haven't been fixed).  Version three was built and
	used by many others on the net, and their feedback was invaluable. 
	I think all of the reported bugs have been fixed, and hopefully not
	too many new ones introduced.

	I have not run this much on a small system, and not much at all on
	DOS.  Pete Rusczinski has done an excellent job of porting
	version three to DOS -- his changes are now incorporated here (as
	of version 3.20), but since in general the DOS version has been
	less well exercised than the UNIX version, it probably harbors
	more bugs.

	Hope you enjoy -- 

	Paul G. Fox	June, 1991, and February, 1992

p.s. By the way, I'm _not_ the same Paul Fox who wrote Crisp, the Brief


September, 1992

I don't have much to add to the original README -- vile has gotten a lot
better since I first released it, thanks to a lot of users and a lot of
bug reports.  It compiles and runs without modification on most major UNIXes,
and under DOS.  It offers vi finger feel, and most (not all) of its features.
I hope it fills someone's need out there.  -pgf 9/92

(Special thanks to Dave Lemke and Pete Rucszinski, for X and DOS support,
and (in no particular order) to Eric Krohn, Willem Kasdorp, J.C.Webber,
Warren Vik, Julia Harper, Chris Sherman, Thomas Woo, Yanek Martinson, Miura
Masahiro, Tom Dickey for lots of bug reports and suggestions and patience.)


April, 1993

Well, here's an update on vile.  The first release was a long time
ago (a couple of years?).  Tom Dickey has been contributing a _whole_ lot
of good changes.  vile now runs on VMS, and is much more stable on DOS
thanks to Tom.  For me, vile is becoming an "old" program -- I first worked
on it in 1989 sometime.  So it's been fun to have someone contributing
fixes so energetically.  Thanks Tom.

One thing that's changed since I first started vile is that "lots of eager
programmers" have now tackled rewrites of vi.  There are several good work-
alikes out there: elvis (the "king" :-), xvi, vim, stevie, and recent
versions of vip-mode in GNU emacs.  [add "nvi" to that list.  and whatever
happened to xvi?  -pgf 12/94]  From what little I've used any of
these, they all seem like real good programs.  vile feels different from
most of them, mainly due to its roots in MicroEmacs.  You may or may not
like it.  If you don't, try one of the others.  There's certainly no reason
to not have a vi-like editor on just about any machine you choose.  (yeah,
I know -- I'm assuming you _want_ a vi-like editor...  :-)  Enjoy.

Oh yes -- building it.  On UNIX, type "make", and choose one of the predefined
targets.  Like "make linux". [ not anymore -- use "configure; make"  -pgf 12/94]

DOS makefiles are named after the compiler they support:  makefile.tbc for
Turbo-C, makefile.wat.  There is support in "makefile" for Microsoft-C, but
it's next to useless -- if anyone puts together a good "nmake" makefile,
could you pass it along?  [that support isn't there anymore.  -pgf 12/94]

The Watcom C/386 v9.0 compiler should also work -- the makefile to use is

The latest version of vile is usually available for ftp at "",
in the pub/vile directory.  [not anymore -- it's at "" in the
"pub/pgf/vile" directory.  -pgf 12/94] Sometimes there's a compiled DOS
binary there too.  I don't maintain a mailing list, or anything like that
to inform folks of new releases -- you just sort of have to check once in a
while, or send me mail...  [ I've set up a mailing list -- contact me to be
added -pgf 7/93]



July, 1993

More new features:  infinite undo, modification time checking, and, at
long last, primitive support for the :map command.  [:map is now fully
functional -pgf, 12/94] I've also received patches that let vile compile
for DOS with the DJ GCC compiler.  Have I mentioned filename completion? 
Tom Dickey provided that and variable/modename/command completion too.

If you would like to be informed, via email, of new vile releases (bearing
in mind that the newest release may be _more_ likely to be buggy, rather
than _less_), please send me mail, and I will add you to my list.  The email
will probably contain a capsule summary of the most recent changes to the

Thanks to Tuan Dang for the Watcom and DJ GCC work.  I don't know much
about djgpp, the DOS port of djgcc, but take a look at makefile.djg.



March, 1994

The X support in xvile has been given a huge boost with contributions from
Kevin Buettner -- scrollbars, Motif widget support make it feel like a real
application...  We now have rectangular regions.  DOS support is getting
better all the time.  The major version number got bumped to 4 somewhere
along the line, because Tom and I were getting tired of 3.  There are quite
a few new "modes", some to support vi functionality, some altogether new. 
We should have keyboard selections and highlighted regions soon...


December, 1994

hmmmm -- lets see.  new stuff.  see the CHANGES and help files for details.

	- vile is now completely autoconf'ed -- you should be able to type
	either "./configure; make" or "./configure --with-screen=x11" to build
	it on any (unix-like) platform. 

	- :map and :map! are now much more complete, but still by no means
	done.  expect to have to edit your favorite macros to make
	them work.

	- :abbr now works.

	- along with proper :map support comes proper function key support.
	function keys defined for your terminal in the termcap/info database
	are now premapped and can be bound to as #-1 etc.  so those of
	you with ESC [ 10 ~ style function keys should be happy now.

	- mouse clicks which move the cursor now count as proper motion
	commands in both xvile and vile-in-an-xterm.  this means, for
	instance, that '' or `` will get you back to where you were before
	you clicked the mouse, and you can apply operators to mouse
	movements.  for example -- click the mouse somewhere, hit 'd' to
	start a delete operation, and click the mouse somewhere else.  the
	text between the two mouse-click locations will be deleted.

	- on-line help (just a single line) for every function, available
	with describe-{bindings,function,key} commands.

	- new modes to better control beeping and the "working..." message.

	- autowrite mode now supported, on a global or buffer-by-buffer basis.

	- popup windows now adjust their size to their contents -- less screen
	space is wasted for small window, and more is used for big windows.

	- file and command completion is now more emacs/bash/tcsh-like, in
	that possible choices are shown when you hit a second TAB key.  this
	can be tuned via a new mode, "popup-choices"

	- "quoted" motions, which highlight the text they will act on.  type
	a 'q', and start moving around, then type another 'q'.

	- various fixes to the macro language, for core dumps and usability.

	- file.bak and file~ backup files now supported.

	- infinite (?) screen sizes should now be supported under X.

	- it's now possible to break lines by putting ^M in the replacement

	- selections, the modelines, and the cursor, under xvile, can all
	have different colors.

	- color support for termcap, at least on the linux console.

	- put'ing from registers (i.e. 'p' and 'P' commands) should be much

	- multiple (error) messages arising from running a macro or a startup
	file will now accumulate in a new popup window.

	- a simple, probably incomplete file-locking protocol is available,
	but is not compiled in by default.  the organization which
	contributed the code (Baan Development) uses it to aid their
	multi-user development.  turn on OPT_LCKFILES in estruct.h and
	"set usefilelock" in your .vilerc to play with it.

	- Windows NT support -- console mode only.  anyone want to port this
	to the Windows95 console?  it's probably not hard, though i haven't
	looked into it very hard.

	- lots of bug fixes

Febrary, 1995
	xvile now supports color attributes, which means we can do some
	primitive syntax coloring of C programs, using the external filter,
	"c-filt".  this is still pretty new stuff.  expect it to get better
	with age.

November, 1995
	lots of new users in the last year, due to better advertising
	and inclusion in some of the big linux and freebsd archives.
	support for NT and OS/2 has gotten much better, and lots of
	little bugs have been fixed, and features added.  Win32 support
	is very good these days, thanks mostly to the efforts of Rick

June, 1996
	gee, i don't remember _what_ we've done recently.  enjoy.


September, 1996
	tom dickey has volunteered to take over releases, and maintaining
	"official" sources.  i'll still contribute, but more as part of the
	"audience".  tom has done a _huge_ amount of work over the years
	on vile -- i _really_ appreciate it...  -pgf

$Header: /usr/build/VCS/pgf-vile/RCS/README,v 1.54 1996/09/10 12:32:57 pgf Exp $