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Learning the vi Editor

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D. Problem Checklists

This appendix consolidates the problem checklists that are provided throughout the text. Here they are presented in one place for ease of reference.

D.1 Problems Opening Files

  • When you invoke vi, the message [open mode] appears.

    Your terminal type is probably incorrectly identified. Quit the editing session immediately by typing :q Check the environment variable $TERM . It should be set to the name of your terminal. Or ask your system administrator to provide an adequate terminal type setting.

  • You see one of the following messages:

      Visual needs addressable cursor or upline capability
      Bad termcap entry
      Termcap entry too long
    :  Unknown terminal type
      Block device required
      Not a typewriter

    Your terminal type is either undefined, or there's probably something wrong with your terminfo or termcap entry. Enter :q to quit. Check your $TERM environment variable, or ask your system administrator to select a terminal type for your environment.

  • A [new file] message appears when you think a file already exists.

    You are probably in the wrong directory. Enter :q to quit. Then check to see that you are in the correct directory for that file (enter pwd at the UNIX prompt). If you are in the right directory, check the list of files in the directory (with ls ) to see whether the file exists under a slightly different name.

  • You invoke vi, but you get a colon prompt (indicating that you're in ex line-editing mode).

    You probably typed an interrupt before vi could draw the screen. Enter vi by typing vi at the ex prompt (: ).

  • One of the following messages appears:

      [Read only]
      File is read only
      Permission denied

    "Read only" means that you can only look at the file; you cannot save any changes you make. You may have invoked vi in view mode (with view or vi -R ), or you do not have write permission for the file. See the section "Problems Saving Files" below.

  • One of the following messages appears:

      Bad file number
      Block special file
      Character special file
      Non-ascii file

    The file you've called up to edit is not a regular text file. Type :q! to quit, then check the file you wish to edit, perhaps with the file command.

  • When you type :q because of one of the above difficulties, the message appears:

      No write since last change (:quit! overrides).

    You have modified the file without realizing it. Type :q! to leave vi . Your changes from this session will not be saved in the file.

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