Vis, Vis, Vi, Vim… Gvim


Latin and Technology


Do You know the Latin language? And do You know declination for the word “Vis”, the Latin word for “Force” or “Vigour”?
No problem. This is not a Latin lesson. We must know that “Vim”, today, is not intended as a Latin word.
When I went to school and studied Latin, many and many years ago, I would not have imagined that I would have associated that name to some technological jewels.
Vim, Vi and Gvim represent the essence of efficiency and lightness.

Why Vim?

Why Vim? You could say: I don’t need an old-style text editor, I can use the modern graphical editors, with the visual menu and a lot of functions.
Yes, obviously. But Vim has a different philosophy: to minimize keystrokes and finger movements. One keystroke is better than two. A jumping keystroke is better than a mouse movement. With only one keystroke you can instantly fly from the begin to the end of a word, a paragraph, a screen.
If you multiply this simple consideration for hundreds or thousands of keystrokes, you’ll have a huge time saver.
In this, Vim it is unbeatable.

Vim is an ancient software. Its origins are the end of the late 1970s.

It takes a few time do learn Vim

Like for the Latin language, we need a lot of time to be fluent with Vim.
We need also to study and to read many tutorials before we use it in our daily job.
Vim is not for everyone. You can to understand it.
We need to learn a new world of keystrokes to move and edit our texts and we have to force us to not use the generic keys.
The temptation to use the mouse or the arrows keys is, at the beginning, very strong. Like the siren song for Ulysses. Only after a few weeks, our hands may be loose and fast.
Vim engages especially the brain more than hands.
I found it very useful, to memorize the main controls, a mnemonic system such as .
I created some cards such as: “What areVim-way movement letters?”, “What are the keys to delete or replace a letter?”, “What are the keys to jump to the top or the bottom of a phrase? “ and so on.

Another very useful tool to learn the Vim alphabet is a graphical cheat sheet like the following one:


Where can we get Vim?

We can get Vim for Linux, Windows or Mac. In Ubuntu and other Debian-derived distributions, the command line version of Vim can be easily installed with a simple string like: “sudo apt install vim". If you prefer to visualize Vim in a graphical mode you can install vim-gtk and launch gvim in the command line. Don't use the similar vim-gnome because it could bring a little problem.

LaTeX code fragment on Gvim under Linux

If you install Gvim using the string vim-gnome you could get an error when hitting the close window. In this case, you must uninstall vim-gnome and install using vim-gtk.

In Linux Ubuntu O.S. the code is the following one:

sudo apt remove vim-gnome
sudo apt install vim-gtk

Then type gvim press ENTER and enjoy it.

Vim and LaTeX

Vim alone may be not enough. We need a system to publish our writes.
is the perfect companion for Vim: Vim for fast writing and LaTeX for the best layout.
Then we have to practice in Vim and, also, to learn the LaTeX markup language.
A double mountain to climb. Step by step. Very patiently. Slowly.
For now, I prefer to manage a clean Vim, without any plugin and using an external software to elaborate the .tex files.
The advantage of this temporary solution is that I can concentrate on the Vim commands.
When I will be practical enough I’ll think to add some plugins, including Vimtex or LaTeX Suite.

It’s all… for now

This article ends here, for now. But I hope to make others soon.
Hey, my friends Vimmers! I’m coming too!

Also published in , in , in




I am a lawyer and occasionally write about technology.

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Franco Pasut

Franco Pasut

I am a lawyer and occasionally write about technology.

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