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NewsForge: Editing Linux program files with simple text editors

Nov 19, 2001, 21:32 (25 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Robin 'Roblimo' Miller)
"Most tutorials about editing Linux system or program files assume you are going to use either the vi or emacs editors preferred by a majority of skilled programmers. These are great editors for programmers, but those of us who only edit a program file once in a while may be better off using simpler text editors like Pico, Gedit, Kedit or my personal favorite, NEdit.

No matter what text editor you use, to edit program files you must first log in as root. The easiest way to do this from KDE or Gnome or any other Gnu/Linux graphical desktop is through a terminal window. Call one up, type "su" and you'll see "Password:" right below it. Type your root password, and anything you do in that terminal window from then on will be done as root. You will be able to edit any file on your computer as long as you open your chosen text editor in that terminal window.

Pico is probably the simplest and easiest-to-learn "command line" text editor there is. It is included with almost every packaged Linux distribution but may not be installed by default. If it's not installed on your Linux computer, install the Pine email package and you will automatically have Pico even if you don't use Pine. To start Pico in your "root" terminal window, type "Pico" and there it is, ready to use, with the most important commands lined up at the bottom of the terminal window in case you are one of the people who (like me) has trouble remembering which keystrokes do what in which programs. To save time, you can type the name of the program file you need to edit right after the word "pine" like this -- pico /usr/lib/office52_en/program/soffice -- with a space between the word "pico" and the program file's full name."

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