Vim is a text editor originally released by Bram Moolenaar in 1991 for the Amiga computer (based on an earlier editor, Stevie, for the Atari ST, created by Tim Thompson, Tony Andrews and G.R. (Fred) Walter). The name "Vim" is an acronym for "Vi IMproved" because Vim is an extended version of the vi editor, with many additional features designed to be helpful in editing program source code (originally, the acronym stood for "Vi IMitation", but that was quickly changed once Vim's feature set surpassed that of vi).
Although Vim was originally released for the Amiga, Vim has since been developed to be cross-platform, supporting many other platforms. It is the most popular editor amongst Linux Journal readers.
Vim is free and open source software and is released under a license which includes some charityware clauses, encouraging users who enjoy the software to consider donating to children in Uganda. The license is compatible with the GNU General Public License.
Like vi, Vim's interface is based not on menus or icons but on commands given in a text user interface; its GUI mode, gVim, adds menus and toolbars for commonly used commands but the full functionality is still expressed through its command line mode.
Vim has a built-in tutorial for beginners (accessible through the "vimtutor" command). There is also the Vim Users' Manual that details Vim's features. This manual can be read from within Vim, or found online.
Vim also has a built-in help facility (using the
:help command) that allows users to query and navigate through commands and features.
Full article ▸