changes in the default debian vim configuration

Stefano Zacchiroli zack at
Thu Dec 8 13:50:50 UTC 2005

On Wed, Dec 07, 2005 at 10:24:28PM -0500, James Vega wrote:
> I'd go the other way and say that we should leave things alone except
> for maybe setting nocompatible in the system-wide vimrc.

There is probably not a lot of discuss other than hear the opinions of
all of us maintainers.

Still, I have to observe that the current policy for default vim
settings make a lot of people think that vim is not good as other
editors (notably, of course, emacs) simply because they don't know the
existence of some settings.

Really, a lot of people I know which use vim, don't know the existence
of many settings just because there are too many of them. Perhaps a good
intermediate choice would be to add some of the settings I mentioned as
commented entries in /etc/vim/vimrc.

I think that easing our users the way they learn abouth their favorite
editor is one of our duties.

Anyhow, coming at the single settings ...

> >   "set showcmd" Show (partial) command in status line.
> >   "set showmatch" Show matching brackets.
> >   "set ignorecase" Do case insensitive matching
> >   "set incsearch" Incremental search
> >   "set autowrite" Automatically save before commands like :next and :make
> The only one of these I would feel comfortable turning on by default is
> 'showcmd' and maybe 'showmatch'.


> The rest are much too personal, IMO, and 'autowrite' should definitely
> not be enabled by default.  If anything, 'hidden' should be used.

Agreed for 'autowrite' and 'hidden'.

> > and in addition enable also
> > 
> >   set smartcase
> >   set mouse=a
> >   set smartindent
> >   syntax on
> >   filetype indent on
> Again, these fall in the "too personal" bucket for me.

I can agree on 'ignorecase'/'smartcase'.

I can't see how 'mouse=a' can be a too personal setting nor how could it
harm. The only drawback is with textual selection, but people is already
acquainted to use SHIFT+mouse to select text for X/gpm and thus adding
the mouse capability to vim wont be a problem.

Idem for syntax highlighting: it is already enabled per default in gvim,
why disable it in vim? It is a problem only for very large (e.g.  XML)
files, but I think they are the exception rather than the rule.

I understand your perplexities about 'smartident' and 'filetype indent',
I think we can add them as commented entries in vimrc.

> We've also seen situations[1][2] where the config we set in the
> system-wide vimrc has caused various issues for the end user.  Granted,
> these have been more complex than a basic setting of an option, but it's
> something to consider.

This is just a matter of discovering issues and solving them, I don't
think we should avoid fine tuning vim for the risk of causing troubles.

Stefano Zacchiroli -*- Computer Science PhD student @ Uny Bologna, Italy
zack@{,,} -%-
If there's any real truth it's that the entire multidimensional infinity
of the Universe is almost certainly being run by a bunch of maniacs. -!-
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