NewsForge: Editing Linux program files with simple text editors

“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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