The Uncarved Block

Being Productive in Text Mode

If you use a Unix system well, the command line can be the ultimate IDE.

People who I work with are often bemused by the perculiar setup I have on my machine, which is the product of constant evolution over the last five years or so. My setup is designed to work well for me, not to look pretty or provide distraction. As such, it can be thought of as sort of the opposite of desktop environments like Gnome. The other thing about my setup is that it is designed first and foremost to be fast and as such programs which are slow to start, slow to run or consume a lot of memory are completely out. For this reason, over the years I have ditched the emacs family of editors, fancy window managers and silly meta-environments like Gnome. People who use vim tend to look productive and slightly wired like this:

Bram Moolenaar, the author of Vim looking like he's  just had a double espresso

Whereas emacs users have been known to look like this:

Richard Stallman, dressed as "Saint Ignucius"

I think that proves my point nicely.

I also use a text-mode web browser where I can because it is quick to start up and makes it quick to find information. Time-wasting web browsing of sites entirely devoid of real information I still do with a graphical browser, however. I have found that as computers that I use have become faster and more powerful, my desire for speed has increased so I am even more obsessed with small, fast apps than I used to be.

The Goals of my setup are straightforward:

Apps I use

permalink Updated: 2006-04-21