vi on Solaris

Recently had one of the more embarrassing things happen to me at the new job. I spent several hours attempting to figure out my term settings on the Solaris boxes, only to find out that my term was correct, I had just forgotten how to use vi. In case anyone else happens to run into this, it’s important to know that the version of vi that comes with Solaris is vi, not vim, not vim linked as vi, not a modern version of vi, but old school vi. Old school as in, delete and backspace are features that don’t exist, and the arrow keys, fughedaboutit.

Now, if you’re not expecting this, because you were spoiled by the wonders of modern vi clones like vim that are usable and flexible, you might be tempted to blame your terminal settings for the garbage and weirdness that shows up on your screen. The most noticible effect is that most of the time, it will transform the delete key into a capitalize the character under the cursor key. This is maddeningly frustrating, and after spending 5 hours digging into various term settings, it’s definitly supposed to be that way.

So, just a reminder, hjkl are cursor replacements, cw is change word, A is append to end of line, D is delete line from cursor. Most importantly, :q! gets you out after you screwed up the file in a new and imaginative way.

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