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20 years of Vim

Today reminds us that there’s another anniversary to celebrate this year. In addition to the 20th birthday of Linux (news passim), the venerable Vim text editor has also reached the same age.

Vim is, of course, a contraction of Vi Improved. In other words, Vim is actually a take on the even-older vi, the text editor originally written for Unix by Bill Joy.

vim text editor
Vim being used in anger

Vim development was (and still is) led by Bram Moolenaar. It took its origins from an editor for the Atari ST called “Stevie”, with which Moolenaar tinkered privately for a long time before finally releasing it on November 2, 1991. Moolenaar’s development was initially on the Amiga.

Vim was, of course, eventually ported to Unix, with version 2.0 being the first to bear the name Vi Improved.

Later versions added further functionality. Support for multiple buffers arrived in 1994, followed in 1996 by a colour interface. Syntax colouring and highlighting were added in 1998, whilst 2001 saw the addition of folding, plug-ins and the vertical split feature.

Vim’s come a long way in 20 years and is now the default text editor on many Linux distributions, as well as being available for Mac and Windows.