HN Prefers Vi over Emacs

- July 19, 2012

Recently on Hacker News, two posts about in-browser editors with cloud storage integration (shameless plug: both via reached the front page: one for vi and one for emacs.
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Here are the statistics for both posts:

Show HN: Emacs in the browser with Dropbox, GDrive, Github, etc.
17 points, 5 comments

Show HN: vi in your browser – edit files directly from Dropbox, etc
195 points, 81 comments

As you can see, vi is clearly the better editor according to HN. It received more than ten times as many upvotes as emacs did and almost ten times as many comments.

Astute eyes might notice that there were two other potential factors, though both are largely incidental:
* vi was hosted from the domain, emacs from
* vi clutch was on the front page at the same time as vi in the browser, but that just shows vi has more popularity

Back at MIT (the institution where Emacs was born), a friend of mine once had an interesting conversation with his professor. In the middle of talking about class selection and research
topics, the professor stops talking. Finally breaking the silence, he says, “You use vi, right”. “Uh. no I’m actually an emacs user”. “Use vi. If you use emacs, you’re going to get carpal tunnel and die.”

So I’m not sure how much of this is true or embellished, but the nugget of truth is this: “Friends don’t let friends use emacs”. I’m glad most of the hn community thinks the same way.

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