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I am logged into a linux server via ssh. From the bash shell, is there any standard way of bringing up some kind of text editing environment so I can create and edit a text file? I am aware that there exist apps like emacs and vi, but I don't know if they are appropriate for basic text file editing or if I should use something simpler, or if not, which one to use.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

It's well-known fact, that vi has only two modes: it beeps and spoils text (:

So, if you're newbie and know nothing about vi and emacs, the best choice for you will be smth simple like nano. It has hint in footer and it's easy to edit and save your edits.

But in case you want to be a good administrator, you should learn vi or emacs, beacuse there're great and powerfull editor's that can save a lot of time during text writing/editing.

ps. A little vi hint: To exit from vi just type :q .

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Awesome, exactly what I needed, thanks! I'm not looking to be a great administrator right now, though I'm certainly looking to pick up more and more over time to let go of my dependence on Windows. – Nathan Ridley Dec 16 '11 at 12:43

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