This is a Debian-ism (and therefore appears in Ubuntu, Mint, etc.). They've setup a link called
editor. You can trace it back as follows:
$ which editor
$ ls -l /usr/bin/editor
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 24 Nov 24 19:10 /usr/bin/editor -> /etc/alternatives/editor
$ ls -l /etc/alternatives/editor
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 18 Nov 24 19:46 /etc/alternatives/editor -> /usr/bin/vim.gnome
$ ls -l /usr/bin/vim.gnome
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 2403392 Oct 26 2012 /usr/bin/vim.gnome
So you can see that
editor is just a Unix link to the executable
I don't think I'd go in that direction of setting up
editor in any meaningful way for users, given it's not what I would consider standard.
Additionally you can set the
$EDITOR environment variable to point to anything you want,
emacs, etc. But this variable is only guaranteed to be used by other tools such as
subversion that are specifically designed to be tied into using the variable
I would merely setup an alias of your own choice and either instruct the users that it's available to them via their
$HOME/.bashrc file as alias X, or set it up as a system configuration in the file
/etc/profile.d/our_aliases.sh, as alias X.
Or you could just tell users that the systems' provide
emacs, etc. and cut through the sugar coating and teach them about these things right off the bat.
Or you could provide a text file called
/etc/help.txt which they could run via a command
alias help="less /etc/help.txt") in a shell that would provide basic commands and how to perform various tasks. This approach allows you to customize the help as time goes by with new features or tips and it gives them more than just the
editor convenience command.