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GNU ex (an enhanced version of GNU ed)

From: John Cowan
Subject: GNU ex (an enhanced version of GNU ed)
Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2005 14:37:16 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.4.1i

I freely admit it: I am an 'ex' troglodyte.  And I'm getting increasingly
disgruntled trying to get a decent 'ex' that is free software.  There are
four dominant 'vi' implementations:  'nvi' has an excellent 'ex', but
depends on an obsolete version of Berkeley DB that makes it difficult to
port.  'Vim', 'elvis', and 'vile' all have 'ex' implementations that are
regrettable at best.  (I talked with the vim maintainer and got nowhere.)

So I finally decided to develop an enhanced version of GNU 'ed' that
would provide the 'ex' features I care about, using POSIX 'ex' as a guide.
(I don't intend to implement every feature: there will be no visual mode,
obviously, and many features of POSIX 'ex' are just perpetuated bugs
from historic 'vi'.)

The program is still in progress, but I'm eating my dogfood -- I'm using
it to develop itself, and this very email is the first to be written
using it.  The program has both 'ed' and 'ex' modes (selected by -e),
which resolve the outright incompatibilities of syntax, but all the
actual features are available in either mode.

I note that no one has touched the 'ex' code since 1994.  What does
it take at this point to get my enhanced code (when released) into the
GNU distribution?  (Those who prefer ed 0.2 will surely still be able
to find it.)

Some of the currently implemented features: better error messages in
verbose-error mode, the 'ex' x command (X in ed mode), the bang flag
in the e and w commands, a smart j command (J in ed mode), and ! with
line number arguments to filter.  The next feature will probably be <
and > commands.

If you have ever wondered if you are in hell,         John Cowan
it has been said, then you are on a well-traveled     http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
road of spiritual inquiry.  If you are absolutely   http://www.reutershealth.com
sure you are in hell, however, then you must be         address@hidden
on the Cross Bronx Expressway.          --Alan Feuer, NYTimes, 2002-09-20

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