Linux GUI FAQ/tutorial?

Octavian Rasnita orasnita at
Sun Jan 24 09:23:40 UTC 2010

From: <trev.saunders at>
> So  with vim I can do one of these ":!<up>" this gets the previous command 
> which usually is what I want to do.  alternatively control - a and a 
> window number then up and enter.  I am ussually compiling or running code 
> so the command I run is repeated and so I'd rather use history than type 
> args agian.

Ok, but when you type ":", isn't this character typed in the document? I 
consider that these days is pretty normal that if you type a common char in 
an editor to be typed and not to represent a special command.

> I'don't think control a and a number is slower than control shift e.

Control+A then a number takes 2 keypresses, so it is twice as slow as 
Control+Shift+E, but after typing Control+A then that number, we probably 
must also write the command line. After I press Control+Shift+E, the command 
line "perl $file" is already typed and I need to just press enter.
Actually I can define a tool that executes the current source code without 
needing to press that final enter (which doesn't prompt me for additional 
command line parameters).

> if you use :! in vim stdout and stderr are piped to a pager on top of the 
> file you are editing so you just go up and look at it (I think this is 
> faster
> than a different window,

Well, not exactly faster, because after the result of the program is send to 
that new document window, that document window becomes the active document, 
so I can just read it, select the wanted text from it, or close it.

> and why would I wnat to copy the result of a command any way).

Because I might want to get a program error and copy it in a mail message 
and send it to a mailing list, or because I want to get the results of a 
program and store it in another program...

> As for the copy past screen copies the output of a shell perfectly well. 
> what I like about using a different shell is that I have a choice of 
> things to > pipe output to grep and less are the common programs, but 
> other things are possible.

I like to use the command line for different things like installing 
programs, compiling... but for the day by day work, I *don't want to use the 
command line*, and I am afraid that the accessibility of the desktop under 
Linux is not so great if there are blind users that still prefer the command 
Is this true?

> I suspect that a lot of what editing enviroment you like depends on what 
> screen reader you like.  Personally I find that yasr works very well for 
> my needs, but a number of other people seem to really like emacspeak which 
> I can't stand because I'd far rather use h j k l to move than control n 
> control p etc even though I remap capslock to contrl.

Yes you are right. I don't know the screen readers under Linux and how they 
work, but here is what I like (or rather don't like:):

I hope I will never need to use a screen reader that forces me to use the 
numpad keys. This is the reason I never liked Window Eyes, although I heard 
it is more stable than JAWS.
I always like to use the standard arrow keys for moving the cursor (text 
cursor and mouse cursor, eventually with some switchers for diferentiating 
these 2 cursors).

I like the screen readers and editors that can allow me to read word by word 
by pressing Control+left and right arrows, that allows using the backspace 
key to delete and read the previous char and the del key to delete and read 
the current char, editors that allows moving to a certain specified line, to 
the start or end of the document, and as I said, that allows me to 
find/replace in the current file using regular expressions.

I know that the style under Unix is to have thousands of programs and each 
one doing very good just one thing, but I would like to have a very fast IDE 
that does everything a Windows editor can do.

Thanks for your feedback.


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