I recently installed virt-manager on Arch Linux, and unlike under Ubuntu, I was not prompted to choose a text editor on the first launch of virsh-edit. Instead, the XML file was opened in vi (or vim, not sure).

From this thread in the RedHat archives, I thought that if I just added to ~/.bashrc:

export EDITOR=/usr/bin/nano

that would solve the problem. But setting EDITOR environment variable didn't work.

Also, launching it with EDITOR=geany sudo virsh edit myWINVM gave the same result, as did trying to use a different editor: EDITOR=geany sudo virsh edit myWINVM as described here

and I see that the variable has in fact been set:

[~]$ printenv

However virsh edit MYVM still opens the XML in vi.

Is there something different I need to do in Arch? Has the method of changing this setting been changed in recent updates of virsh?

  • Is the path correct? My nano is /bin/nano.
    – Freddy
    Feb 24 '19 at 13:08
  • Yes, /usr/bin/nano opens nano. I also have it at /bin/nano. Both paths have the same effect.
    – Stonecraft
    Feb 24 '19 at 13:12

I had to add the editor to sudoers by putting Defaults editor=/bin/nano at the end of /etc/sudoers AND THEN I could use sudo EDITOR=nano virsh edit myWINVM.

Update: at a later time, I got it working by adding export EDITOR=nano to /etc/environment.

  • I'm not sure how the sudoers change (of editor) solved your problem, since that's only the editor that visudo will use, and should have no bearing on virsh's EDITOR value.
    – Jeff Schaller
    Feb 24 '19 at 15:12
  • You might have better luck with a sudoers change of env_keep += "EDITOR"
    – Jeff Schaller
    Feb 24 '19 at 15:16
  • Just to add, I encountered this problem again and now changing the visudo editor in /etc/sudoers has no effect. Still looking for a permanent solution.
    – Stonecraft
    Aug 7 '19 at 23:28
  • OK, I got it working by adding export EDITOR=nano to ` /etc/environment` .
    – Stonecraft
    Aug 7 '19 at 23:56
  • /etc/environment isn't a shell file, export has no business there.
    – muru
    Aug 8 '19 at 1:50

Remove the file ~/.selected_editor, and virsh will prompt you for the editor to use. Probably, that's the one in /root, since one needs admin privilege to use virsh.

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