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FTE – a DOS-style editor for Linux

I don’t remember what I was looking for, but I found another DOS-style editor for Linux and Unix.

FTE is another editor that harkens back to the look of the typical DOS app of about 10 years ago, similar to SETEDIT. For casual editing, either program will do very nicely, and provide a look and feel comparable to the editor that came with DOS 5 and 6.

I’ve always liked SETEDIT, but it suffers from the same identity crisis as emacs. Is it an editor? An MP3 player? A desk calculator? All of the above? And while it’s workable over a remote terminal connection, it’s not as snappy as I’d like.

FTE is a little sluggish from afar but faster. I like how it gives me the ability to have multiple files open and deal with large blocks of text, and continue to use the same key sequences I’ve known and been using since early high school. Its syntax highlighting is definitely a nice feature. It takes that feature a bit further than SETEDIT. For example, it highlights the corresponding closing bracket when you move over the opening one.

FTE’s main advantage is that it’s already bundled with some distributions. There’s a Debian project page for it. And a Google search turns up anectotal evidence that it comes in recent versions of Suse, Red Hat and Mandrake as well. If you’re a DOS veteran who’s not enamored with vi or emacs, FTE’s probably worth a look.

For what it’s worth, I typically use nano, but FTE is definitely a whole lot more powerful.

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6 thoughts on “FTE – a DOS-style editor for Linux”

  1. “same identity crisis as emacs”

    Identity crisis, shmidentity crisis. Emacs, like God, is better defined by what it isn’t than by what it is. To quote Per Abrahamsen, “operating system is what you call the features you left out of your editor.”

    Don’t sully the name of the One True Editor by associating it with things that are merely bell-and-whistle graphic text manipulators.

    (Blame my crankiness on Dave, who I plan to blame extensively for the fact that I have a sore throat and a fever right now.)

  2. Bah! Emacs may not be a bell-and-whistle graphic text manipulator, but it sure isn’t the One True Editor. For that, one need only look to Vim. 😉

  3. Dustin’s my man!

    Emacs is great if you need to check the phase of the moon while you are typing. I almost never need to do that, so I use an editor instead of a kitchen sink.

  4. I’m with Dustin and Steve, Vim is the One True Editor 😉

    EMACS stands for two things, as far as I can tell. From the old, limited system resource days we have:

    Eleven Megs And Constantly Swapping

    and from the weird-ass key combos that you need to do anything useful:


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