VILE 3.56, a FREE vi clone built over the
uemacs engine, allowing split window and
multiple buffer editing. Very nice, this
is the MS_DOS version for i386 or better.
README for vile
(more recent additions to this README appear down below)
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discovered was out of date, unfortunately) and turned it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 - 7/93 ]
Of course, it _may_ lack some of vi's reliability. 🙂
Take a look at vile.hlp for more information about features
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, 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
Hope you enjoy --
Paul G. FoxJune, 1991, and February, 1992[email protected]
p.s. By the way, I'm _not_ the same Paul Fox who wrote Crisp, the Brief
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.)
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. 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".
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?
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 "ftp.cayman.com",
in the pub/vile directory. 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]
More new features: infinite undo, modification time checking, and, at
long last, primitive support for the :map command. 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.