Open Source Musings

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I've never had great relationships with command line text editors. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's just we don't have enough in common with each other to form a strong bond.

Recently, though, I was working with a command line application that seemed to play better with terminal text editors than with graphical ones. So, I duly set my default editor to the venerable GNU nano editor. Why nano? It's the only terminal editor installed on my computer. While I've used nano in the past, I was quickly reminded that it isn't for me.

Instead of using software I don't particularly like, I searched around for something similar and came across Micro. Billed as a modern and intuitive terminal-based text editor, it sounded like a good substitute for nano. Here's what I discovered.

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In my work on The Plain Text Project and for Opensource.com, I've looked at ... well, a lot of text editors over the years. And when readers didn't see their favourite editor in an article, they suggested I include it.

Besides the usual suspects, one editor that kept popping up was Geany. While I haven't written a lot about Geany, I'm not unfamiliar with it. Despite being aimed at developers, Geany was for years the editor I used when working on LaTeX documents.

Since it's been quite some time since I've used it, so I recently decided to give Geany another look. Let's jump in.

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(Note: This article was first published at Opensource.com and appears here via a CC BY-SA 4.0 license.)

Unless your a coder, a system administrator, or a DevOps person, that editor doesn't need to be bristling with functions and functions. A lightweight text editor is more than enough for most people.

Choices abound. You can use the editor that's baked into your Linux distribution or you can go with one of these lightweight text editors.

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The humble (and often, not-so-humble) text editor. It can be a wonderful thing. I know more than a few people who are zealous about their editors, and view them in the same way that they view their toothbrushes. Yes, they’re that hardcore.

Having said that, I know more than a few people who actually shy away from text editors. Why? Because they view editors as strictly a programmer’s tool. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even though I’m not a coder of any stripe, I find a text editor to be a valuable tool. More than that actually. For me, a good text editor is indispensable.

You might be writing an article, either in straight text or with a markup language like Markdown. You might be editing the HTML of your web site. You might be peeking at a shell script. Or you might just be taking a peek at a README file or change log for some software that you’re about to install. Pulling those kinds of files into a word processor is overkill.

Those are situations in which text editors are very handy. But with so many editors out there for the Linux desktop, how do you choose the one that’s for you? And by you, I mean someone who isn’t a software developer or (too much of) a techie. Someone who thinks that C is the third letter in the alphabet, for whom regular expressions are an ordinary way of speaking.

Everyone has their own favourite editor. Here’s some advice I give people who are looking for the right one for them.

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(Note: This post was originally published at Opensource.com and appears here via a CC BY-SA 4.0 license.)

While I'm of two minds when it comes to smartphones and tablets, they can be useful. Not just for keep in touch with the people or using the web, but also to do some work when I'm away from my computer.

If you haven't already figured it out, for me that work is writing — articles, blog posts, essays for my weekly letter, ebook chapters, and more. I've tried many (probably too many!) writing apps for Android over the years. Some of them were good. Others fell flat.

In this article, I'd like to share four of my favorite open source Android apps for writers. You might find them as useful as I do.

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