I am using Mac OS X, with vim and I am getting a bit used to it. A teacher at the university told us he will ask us to demonstrate him our knowledge on Vi and specified that it is Vi and not Vim. I read a lot of posts on different website and this forum about the differences between the two, but they do not seem really big especially looking on how to use it. In order to practice for my exam on Vi should I move to Vi instead of Vim?

Is there a way to install Vi and not Vim on my Mac? I have found a lot of Vim version, I am using the native one.

  • Interesting that he is being specific to VI, I would have thought that "traditional vi" only exists in the older commercial UNIX distributions like Solaris; from what I've seen, VIm has replaced it just about everywhere these days. I'm supposing he's just referring to the reduced featureset (e.g. only one level of undo)? – bjb Oct 28 '15 at 17:14
  • Just type vim -help and the help section will show you the different ways to start vim. – fd0 Oct 28 '15 at 17:52

From the vim man page : https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/documentation/Darwin/Reference/ManPages/man1/vim.1.html

There are two vim options to do what you want :

vim -v          Start Vim in Vi mode, just like the executable was called "vi".   This  only  has  effect
                   when the executable is called "ex".

vim -C          Compatible.  Set the 'compatible' option.  This will make Vim behave mostly like Vi, even
               though a .vimrc file exists.

You can also install ex-vi which is the traditional vi text editor through brew, first install brew http://brew.sh/. Run brew install ex-vi, but it may cause a conflict with vim.

  • 1
    I'd say he should install ex-vi or nvi - running vim in compatible mode doesn't turn off a lot of features that don't conflict (such as for example any key that starts with g. Ideally he should see if he can log onto one of his university's unix systems - that'd get him on the version he'll be tested on, e.g. if it has any gotchas like poor termcap support (so arrow keys don't work, even though they do work on modern versions of vi but the professor might believe he should be required to use the hjkl keys) – Random832 Oct 30 '15 at 0:25

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