A DOS-style editor for Linux

Last Updated on November 30, 2015 by Dave Farquhar

I keep seeing “someday someone will write a DOS edit clone for Linux”-type longings in Linux publications. These are pointless, because someone already did, years ago.

And no, its name isn’t vi or emacs. It’s a true blue (it really is blue) DOS-like editor that uses a lot of the same keystrokes as the Microsoft tool we all learned to tolerate, if not love, in the early ’90s. Hey, it wasn’t very powerful or fast, I know, but it was easy to learn and a whole lot better than edlin.

This one’s called SETedit, it’s from Argentina, and it’s just as easy to use but a whole lot more powerful. It’s also been ported to Win32, if you want to run it in more than just Linux.

SETedit uses the familiar Turbo Vision interface that was common in early-’90s DOS software. The result is it supports a mouse and has ALT-key menus and familiar DOS-style keystrokes, such as Ctrl-Y for delete. Unix veterans will hate it, but Windows refugees who cut their teeth on DOS will love it. Unlike DOS edit, it allows you to have multiple files open at once (with resizable windows), and it allows you to push/pop your current cursor position (useful if you have to go elsewhere in a file but want to quickly come back to your spot) and it understands C/C++-style indentation, providing auto-indent and block indenting/outdenting, making it really nice for editing a lot of different kinds of files under Unix, since its configuration files frequently mimic C.

I was concerned that SETedit might only work on a local console, but it does work over Telnet/SSH connections, provided your Telnet/SSH app has decent terminal emulation. (For Windows, I recommend PuTTY because it has all the features you need, it’s tiny, and installation involves copying a single EXE file wherever you want it.)

It’s not a standard part of any Linux distribution I’ve seen, but you can view screenshots and download it here. It’s rather large (about 1.1 meg), but considering a lot of Notepad clones are that big these days and provide less functionality, that’s not a big deal.

Thanks and kudos to Dev Teeluksingh and the Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society for pointing this software out to me, a couple of times. Maybe someday the Linux distribution companies will discover SETedit as well and start including it, so people don’t have to go looking for it anymore.

Incoming link: http://bugs.pardus.org.tr/show_bug.cgi?id=12793

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One thought on “A DOS-style editor for Linux

  • June 10, 2002 at 8:01 pm


    gave puTY a try for my HP-UX boxes, excellent product.

    I could probably get by with the standard W2k telnet session in a pinch, but this program is much better.

    Now I just need a decent portable x-windows program, as the one i have (reflection) is huge and is a pain to migrate to other machines.


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