Manual page on vim ($ man vim) states:

  view      Start in read-only mode.  You will be protected from writing the files.  Can also be done with the "-R" argument.

But, they have major differences.

When starting vim as vim -R the syntax coloring works.
But when started as view syntax coloring doesn't work.

view doesn't support vertical splitting, I tried Ctrl+w v, :vs and -O command line option.

Does view have a separate config? Or maybe it is completely separate from vim itself?


For some reason, on that PC (not administered by me) view is a symlink to /bin/vi, while vi is aliased to /usr/bin/vim system-wide.

And, of course, both vi and vim use argv[0] (the name they were launched with) to determine the behavior.

So, I just added alias view='vim -R' to my .bashrc.

  • On my box, vi, vim and view all end up in /usr/bin/vim.basic. and coloring is OK.
    – Archemar
    Sep 18 '15 at 13:47
  • Are you on Arch Linux? Arch has separate vi and Vim packages, and view is from vi. Try rview if you have vim.
    – muru
    Sep 18 '15 at 15:09
  • It's a server I use over ssh with Scientific Linux on it.
    – andrybak
    Sep 20 '15 at 4:58

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