Why lua? or questions about yzis

St 13 dubna 2005

(This article is a slightly edited version of my post to comp.editors newsgroup).

I just want to vent my frustration with state of vim on KDE. I hoped that in the Unix world we will get sooner or later even in GUI world to the situation equivalent to the one at console, where you have your $EDITOR set and everything just works (of course, I have it empty, so vim is what I get). However, as far as I can tell I have these options at the present (using KDE 3.3.2):

  • suck it up and use native KWrite & co. Not that this option wouldn’t have some temptation for me (coming originally from M$-Windows, although many years ago, I still feel rather well with Shift+arrows, Ctrl+[xcvspo]), but there are two things missing:
  1. scripting -- although Kate is going to have support for KJS Very Soon(TM) it will take years (if ever) to have so developed base of scripts as there is currently available for vim (and Emacs, but my religious needs are well satisfied by my Lord Jesus Christ, I do not need any other religion, thank you :-)). Currently I am getting really dependent on VimOutliner (I am a Debian maintainer of its package), I am in the process of developing Qualitative analysis tools based on Vim (and some Qt-C++ dialogs, maybe later KDE, but I have to learn programming with KDE and C++ first), I have ongoing flirt with vim-latexsuite, etc.
  2. and it wouldn’t help me anyway, because there are so many programs which don’t use kpart technology for the editing (KMail, KNode -- that one at least is willing to open external editor in new window, how is the situation with editing box in Konqueror?); shoot! I know it is not KVim’s developers’ fault, but it seems to me that non-availability of any good KDE vim editor doesn’t help (see below).
  • Forget about KDE-only solution and use GVim for Gnome (which is what I do now). Aside from being plain ugly (sorry, I am used to KDE look&feel; consider my brain to be degenerated if you are Gnome user), I get really crappy support for vimpart (it basically doesn’t work at all) and of course full power of vim (which is what matters most, so I am grinding my teeth and hold it).
  • Hope for something better.

The most frustrating part of this situation is that there doesn’t seem to be any good solution coming, so point #3 sucks a lot. KVim is officially dead (although it sucked in many ways, it was by far the best solution to at least some of my problems and I was its somehow happy user, until it was eliminated from Debian) and there doesn’t seem to be any replacement coming.

Now, we are getting to yzis. Of course, that I know about that, but I am afraid it won’t be answer to my problems. I have tried to install M3++ (from the package 20050430-1) and I found it to be somehow nice but alpha quality. Nothing bad about that (I have a four month daughter, so I know that we were all young and we all did mess into diapers), but worse thing is that kyzis doesn’t seem to be much promising.

However, before saying anything else, let me note one more thing. This message is about personal gripes and I do not want to say that you should even react to them -- I perfectly understand that you are volunteers doing what matters to you and you have no obligation towards me whatsoever. Let me just vent my frustration, please.

  1. NIH syndrom everywhere -- why in the h..ll, it is not just a KDE C++ clone of vim? Why it is not compatible with vim’s syntax files and scripts? The most important reason, why I am not using Kate/KWrite/etc. is that I have all these scripts available for vim. And I do not think, that anybody will redevelop VimOutliner, and myriad other small scripts in Lua, just because it is theoretically better language than the vimscript one (and I don’t like it that much, but it doesn’t matter -- Perl is also ugly as hell and yet how successful it is). Have you ever saw a list of Emacs clones? It is quite long and impressive list of totally dead projects, and they are all dead, because Gnus doesn’t work there (or Calc, or AucTeX, or PSGML, or fill-in any other popular Emacs mode). And BTW, elvis and vile are IMHO not doing that well against vim either (whenever, I ask something about vi, it is assumed I mean vim), but I may be terribly wrong in this respect.

    Or in other words, isn’t creating yet another vi clone with GUI extension, something similar to rewriting program (actually, it is rewriting a program)? For that see, of course, Joel on software and Jamie Zawinski’s comment about Apple choosing KHTML instead of Gecko for Safari or here.

  2. Although I am not programmer, so I cannot comment much about reasons why KVim was killed, I still do not feel right about it. After all, it DID work. Poorly, but at least as a proof of concept it was persuasive enough to make it work well, wasn’t it? Now, we will have to wait for couple of years before yzis stabilize, before we can repeat argument on KMail/KNode/etc. people to finally use kpart for editor, and even after that the result will be suboptimal to well working kvim. Oh, well.

  3. It is slow as molasses. I understand that it is alpha-version, but having an experience with kvim (and to some extent with gvim and kwrite as well), I am really afraid that it is going to be far from vim, I was used to. There used to be a times, when vi users joked about EMACS, that it is “Eight Megabytes And Constantly Swapping”. Well, free shows that I have 250 MB of RAM, but still I think that this joke went slightly out of popularity these days. Oh well.

I wonder what reactions I will get on NG.

Category: computer Tagged: KDE vim outliner