Brace yourself: Spell checking in vi?

Disclaimer: I imprinted on the vi editor on a Unix system in 1990 and never could bring myself to figure out Emacs.

But I am not alone in my preferences. The text editor ships in one form or another with every Unix, Linux or BSD system out there, and sysadmins can count on it even when X servers give up the ghost, network connections are too pokey or fancier editors aren't installed. So loyalists will be delighted to know that one widely used incarnation--Vim, short for vi improved--has been upgraded to version 6.4. Vim, an open-source program, ships with Linux from Red Hat, Novell and many others, and Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Sun Microsystems make it available for their versions of Unix.

Granted, the new version consists mostly of a bunch of bug fixes. But according to VIM's main programmer, Bran Moolenaar, more dramatic changes could be in store if people fund his work enough to produce version 7.

"If I keep getting donations from sponsors and registered Vim users, I will be able to add several 'big' features. One of the new features is spell checking," he said in the Vim 6.4 announcement. "It already works quite well."

Moolenaar lets those who contribute at least 10 euros to the project vote for new features in Vim.

Tech Culture
About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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