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I made a simple .exrc vim config file in my home directory on RHEL 5.8. Here are the contents:

set nu

However, when I go into vim, the line number are not shown. It may be worth noting that I am logged in as a shared application user ID. I have access to other RHEL 5.8 hosts here at work as well under my own user and .exrc file does in fact work.

Any idea what the problem might be?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

That file is for vi (or nvi). You want .vimrc.

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Thanks, that worked. But how come .exrc works with my other RHEL user as well as on my home laptop, which is Fedora 16? – amphibient Feb 15 '13 at 18:53
Perhaps some setting or some alias, I can't know. – schaiba Feb 15 '13 at 19:04

Vim only reads ~/.exrc if it hasn't found a ~/.vimrc. Chances are that you already have a .vimrc file on that machine, but not on the other machines where adding the setting in .exrc works.

You can put source ~/.exrc in your ~/.vimrc to read your generic vi settings from ~/.exrc and have other vim-specific settings. If you want to read ~/.exrc only if it's present, use

if filereadable('~/.vimrc')
    source ~/.vimrc
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