Am I going retro, or just getting old?

Earlier this week, I went to a Python Meetup in Cambridge, MA. It was at a private office in a “row” style house, and the place was called Beta House — It’s collaborative office space, and it is also lent or rented out for get-togethers like the Python Meetup. This is the very same meetup where mekanimo was presented (referenced in an earlier post).

Some of the people working there seemed to be working together, more or less, on a software project. I realize this isn’t the 70s, but these were cool MAC dudes, and they were pretty friendly, despite the fact they were deeply embedded in their work.

One of the attendees asked one of the MAC dudes what kind of text editor he was using.”vim”, he answered. For those of you who don’t know and might care, vim and originally vi, is a fairly powerful, low-footprint programmer’s editor, and has been distributed on Unix-like distros for a very long time. Recently, vim has started showing up on Windows and MAC systems.

Few people I know use this editor unless they have to. I use it occasionally, because my Informix tools need an editor and vi/vim fits the bill. Most developers I know are using other development tools like IDEs, like Eclipse, Visual Studio, or any of the open source or proprietary programmer’s editors. My personal favorite, at least up until this week, is Lugaru’s Epsilon, which is based on emacs.

So, why are MAC guys using vim? Are we going retro? Is our choice for programming tools and environments returning to simpler times? Are old tools — and they’ve been updated — suddenly in?

It is true that cultures rub off on each other. I finally decided to learn more about vim, and discovered things about it I thought were only in emacs like remote (ftp) file editing. I know I’m getting older, but perhaps I’m going a tad retro, too.


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