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52midnight
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:00 am    Post subject: Nedit is an orphan. How to revive it? Reply with quote

Further to my previous post seeking a solution to a problem with Nedit:
https://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-1003478.html
I've posted to the 'discuss' list on the official website:
http://www.nedit.org/
sent an email to the email address provided:
http://www.nedit.org/contact/
and telephoned the Sydney, Australia number provided which responds with a "not connected" message. I therefore conclude that Nedit is now an orphan and has been abandoned by its maintainer (maintainers?).

Not sure what to do, or where this post belongs. I've been using Nedit for more than a decade and it's far better than any alternatives I've tried. I'd guess that its out-dated interface deters new users and has seen it relegated to 'legacy software'. IMO it deserves ongoing support, and could easily be forked to develop a superior and up-to-date programming environment - but please leave the functionality of the original 'as is' even if bindings to a new widget set are provided. The new generation of scripters are far too 'click-happy' for an old keyboard-only coder like me.

Any interest?
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dataking
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Download the source; upload to github; advertise as you see appropriate?

I don't use nedit, nor am I familiar with it, but I am a commandline warrior, so I sympathize with your plight. If I spoke C/C++ (assuming the source is that), and I used the product, I might offer to host it and guide development, but I don't. So I can only offer some cheerleading.

Sounds like it's time to learn vim, emacs, or whatever suits your fancy.
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52midnight
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dataking wrote:
Download the source; upload to github; advertise as you see appropriate?

Hmm, that's what I was afraid of.
dataking wrote:
Sounds like it's time to learn vim, emacs, or whatever suits your fancy.

As a retired hardware engineer that's like asking the Pope to memorize the Qran. Rather find someone who's already been converted.
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dataking
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

52midnight wrote:
dataking wrote:
Sounds like it's time to learn vim, emacs, or whatever suits your fancy.

As a retired hardware engineer that's like asking the Pope to memorize the Qran. Rather find someone who's already been converted.

nano is fairly straightforward, though, I'm not a fan (strictly based on experience -- meaning, I've been using vim for a long time, and am partial to it).
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dataking
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually I just google'd nedit, and realized it's a graphical editor. /shrug My bad, taking "keyboard" to mean "command line".

According to Wikipedia: "According to the projects news page the source repository has been converted from cvs to git in September 2014.[3]". Maybe it's not entirely dead? Someone moved it to git, and I'm guessing it wasn't you?
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52midnight
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dataking wrote:
Actually I just google'd nedit, and realized it's a graphical editor. /shrug My bad, taking "keyboard" to mean "command line".

I still use the commandline a lot, but have never found a cl editor that offers the convenience of Nedit, esp the keyboard macro facility. I've always maintained that emacs is not an editor but a religion, and never got used to the modal nature of vi/vim.

dataking wrote:
According to Wikipedia: "According to the projects news page the source repository has been converted from cvs to git in September 2014.[3]". Maybe it's not entirely dead? Someone moved it to git, and I'm guessing it wasn't you?

Correct, and interesting. I whois'd the domain name and it's protected by WhoIsGuard.com so have sent an email asking the domain name owner for info. Will post here if a reply arrives.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

52midnight,

nedit-5.5_p20110116-r2.ebuild is in the tree. That seems to be the latest release too.
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52midnight
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
52midnight,

nedit-5.5_p20110116-r2.ebuild is in the tree. That seems to be the latest release too.


Thanks Neddy. Yes, that's the one I upgraded to a week ago, but still has the bug. I'm in the middle of a major project, but if this isn't solved when it's finished I might take it in hand, at least at the management level. I like Nedit too much to lose it, and have long believed it needs a better widget set (but NOT - horrors - Qt).
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52midnight
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After a bit of poking around and sending emails to whomever, the following arrived:

Respondent #1 (private address):
Quote:
There is no active development to speak of. I'm still using a version from 2004, but it only has 2 annoying bugs, which I haven't gotten around to fixing yet.

Regarding the website: it was partially defunct for a few years, but someone (Joor Loohuis?) got an archive of the website and wiki and set up a new server.

Respondent #2 (Nedit-develop@lists.sourceforge.net):
Quote:
Hi Carl,

the autowrap setting in nedit.rc is a default setting, which can be overruled per language mode. (Preferences->Default Settings->Language Modes...)

Presumably, your files are opened in a language mode that has wrapping set to 'no wrapping'.

(I guess you could say that NEdit has been more or less abandoned; no one has touched the code for years.)

Respondent #3 (private address):
Quote:
I do not think there are some developper still active on Nedit. You had to dig into the code (Motif + C) yourself.

I have made a proof-of-concept to port it to FLTK and C++ but I have not had so much time to go further and nobody has gone further.

Hope you now Motif.

So ... I'll take a look at the language-specific settings (my complaint refers to editing HTML code) and this may resolve the immediate issue; but the longer-term view seems to agree with my estimate of the situation.

This raises what I've long viewed as an important but ignored topic. Software does not "wear out". Inspired design and good code is timeless if employed correctly, but the continual "upgrading" of what is really only eye-candy is seeing much that is valuable being pushed aside in preference for inferior substitutes. This is not to say that all recent developments are below par, but there's little doubt IMHO that the majority is - expediency, "coolness" and potential profit are now encroaching upon the Open Source movement, especially via the mobile market. Since Mark Shuttleworth started Ubuntu and Google took over Android I've become increasingly suspicious of a covert agenda; call me an old conspiracy theorist if you will.

Anyway, I believe that the executive code of Nedit is worth preserving, and this now requires a better GUI for it to remain both attractive and relevant. As previously stated, I can't give any personal commitment to this for several months, but will certainly do so after that time if no-one else has.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:24 am    Post subject: Re: Nedit is an orphan. How to revive it? Reply with quote

52midnight wrote:
I've posted to the 'discuss' list on the official website, sent an email to the email address provided,
and telephoned the Sydney, Australia number provided which responds with a "not connected" message.
Quote:
There is no active development to speak of.
..
(I guess you could say that NEdit has been more or less abandoned; no one has touched the code for years.)
..
I do not think there are some developer still active on Nedit. You had to dig into the code (Motif + C) yourself.

I have made a proof-of-concept to port it to FLTK and C++ but I have not had so much time to go further and nobody has gone further.

Hope you know Motif.

I therefore conclude that Nedit is now an orphan and has been abandoned by its maintainer (maintainers?).

Concur.
Quote:
I've been using Nedit for more than a decade and it's far better than any alternatives I've tried. I'd guess that its out-dated interface deters new users and has seen it relegated to 'legacy software'. IMO it deserves ongoing support, and could easily be forked to develop a superior and up-to-date programming environment - but please leave the functionality of the original 'as is' even if bindings to a new widget set are provided. The new generation of scripters are far too 'click-happy' for an old keyboard-only coder like me.

This raises what I've long viewed as an important but ignored topic. Software does not "wear out". Inspired design and good code is timeless if employed correctly, but the continual "upgrading" of what is really only eye-candy is seeing much that is valuable being pushed aside in preference for inferior substitutes.

Anyway, I believe that the executive code of Nedit is worth preserving, and this now requires a better GUI for it to remain both attractive and relevant. As previously stated, I can't give any personal commitment to this for several months, but will certainly do so after that time if no-one else has.

Any interest?

Yeah, though not in taking it to C++ nor even a "modern" toolkit as that's just asking for hassle down the line imo.

I know C, but IDK Motif/X and this would be a good way to learn the latter, so I'd be interested from that aspect. Would be up for splitting it if it's feasible, so someone can use another toolkit if they want, but we don't have to program it (and we establish from the beginning that we're not going to either.) If it's decent that shouldn't need much work, if any.

No real interest in the program if I'm honest (I use kate) but I'm hopeful that it might be something I'd find worth switching to; it sounds cool from your description, though it's likely one I rejected for a crusty i/f back in the day.

Anyhow no real rush thankfully, so let's talk in the new year. By all means sketch out on paper the various modules you know about, and what bits you want changed.
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52midnight
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the interest.

> Yeah, though not in taking it to C++

Haven't checked the code although I think it's written in C.

> nor even a "modern" toolkit as that's just asking for hassle down the line imo.

I've used Gtk for a few quickies of my own. It's v well documented, mature, robust and pretty enough for my taste.

> Would be up for splitting it if it's feasible

Probably best to fork it, esp as the domain name is in limbo.

> so someone can use another toolkit if they want

Always wondered how feasible this is, keeping the executive code isolated from the GUI bindings. Would make an ineresting exercize of itself.

> If it's decent that shouldn't need much work, if any.

There are a few minor bugs, but it's pretty solid otherwise from my years of using it.

> might be something I'd find worth switching to

With any luck it should generate a new community of users.

> it's likely one I rejected for a crusty i/f back in the day.

Yep, many others would have done the same.

> Anyhow no real rush thankfully, so let's talk in the new year.

Agreed.

> By all means sketch out on paper the various modules you know about, and what bits you want changed.

OK. I'll get a copy of the source, sketch out some suggestions, and post back here in the new year.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

52midnight wrote:
> Yeah, though not in taking it to C++

Haven't checked the code although I think it's written in C.

Sure, as above; my point is that I don't want to make it into something else.
Quote:
> nor even a "modern" toolkit as that's just asking for hassle down the line imo.

I've used Gtk for a few quickies of my own. It's v well documented, mature, robust and pretty enough for my taste.

Yeah but the underlying codebase is freakishly nasty. Why go there when we don't need to? Let's just prettify Motif instead.
Quote:
> Would be up for splitting it if it's feasible

Probably best to fork it, esp as the domain name is in limbo.

I meant the code as in:
Quote:
> so someone can use another toolkit if they want

(please stop splitting my sentences like that.)
Quote:
There are a few minor bugs, but it's pretty solid otherwise from my years of using it.
..
> Anyhow no real rush thankfully, so let's talk in the new year.

Agreed.

> By all means sketch out on paper the various modules you know about, and what bits you want changed.

OK. I'll get a copy of the source, sketch out some suggestions, and post back here in the new year.

Cool. If you want, triaging the bugs you know about, ie deciding which ones really need fixing ASAP, and which ones are "wishlist" (use a greyscale if you know what I mean) would be the prereq we'd need to start. Firstly to get it working correctly before we proceed with any hackage, and secondly to get to know the codebase before we even think of any hackage. ;)
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52midnight
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

> Let's just prettify Motif instead.

I took a look through main() which is in nedit.c and half of the setup stuff is workarounds for bugs and "insanities" in Motif. Mind you, the date in the top comment block is ... now sit down, take a deep breath, and keep your medication handy ... 1991.

Not sure if this is still the case, but Motif was (is) proprietary so it might be pulling in lesstif. I suspect that prettifying Motif/lesstif would be a much bigger job than just cutting it out and substituting something more robust.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a ~20-year user of nedit, i am very glad that someone has brought up the question of its survival. One problem that has not been mentioned in the previous discussion is how nedit does not deal with Unicode, and i believe also with TrueType and related fonts. Apparently this weakness is so tightly knit into nedit's code that it's not possible to address without essentially rewriting the editor... Although it might be that Unicode and cute fonts are not needed always and by everyone, i did need them (especially unicode), and that was the reason why i started using kate, although i still use nedit for special things.

The opinion that i formed years ago is that it would be great if nedit could somehow be maintained "in the freezer". I.e., if there can be no active development, at least make sure that it remains compilable under X.


dataking wrote:
Actually I just google'd nedit, and realized it's a graphical editor. /shrug My bad, taking "keyboard" to mean "command line".

nedit seems to combine command-line and GUI interfaces in a most productive way, using what's best for each operation. For instance, i do not mind using the mouse for less frequent operations, which frees up the keyboard for creating shortcuts for common operations. Why use "Ctrl+X Ctrl-S" when a single "Ctrl-S" can save the file? And why have to wait for the cursor to travel some place in a big file when i can do it faster with the mouse? Nedit also has quite powerful features, such as the keyboard macro facility that 52midnight mentioned, or the ability to paste columns into a file, sometimes called "block selection mode" (a most useful functionality that is more common now, i think, than it was back in the early 90s when nedit came out). Also, many default choices that nedit makes for "little things" make more sense to me than in other editors.

However, the most immediately noticeable advantage of nedit over other GUI editors is its lightness. If i "kate" a file, i sometimes have to wait for many seconds before the file opens up! Probably KDE/Qt's and not kate's direct fault, but still, nedit's responsiveness brings me joy every time i use it.

This last remark is the reason i am hesitant to agree with 52midnight's suggestion to replace Motif by Gtk. While Gtk may be lighter (is it?) than Qt, though also IMO uglier, i suspect that an nedit with a Gtk GUI will still feel considerably more sluggish than the current nedit on Motif/Lesstif... However, i do agree with 52midnight that "fixing" Lesstif is a big undertaking, especially if it's done solely for nedit. There is one more problem with Motif/Lesstif: If i am not mistaken, it does not take Unicode well. That, by itself, could be a show-stopper in my opinion. Decoupling the core code from the GUI toolkit would probably be the best option if it is doable, as 52midnight said... It would allow for both experimentation and freedom of choice.

I believe it was considerations along these lines (unicode, fonts, tight Motif integration) that made the original authors stop further nedit development (after it had reached a level of maturity where pretty much all features were implemented and all bugs were dealt with!)

Having said all this, i should emphasize that i do not see nedit as the end-all be-all of editors! There are features that i do miss on nedit, such as looking up a string while i type it, or highlighting all the occurrences of the selected text in the file, or the ability to keep multiple files open without cluttering the window top with tabs. In some sense, if we could import the best of nedit's features into a project like kate we might be able to get the best of both worlds, especially if it's possible to "ligthen up" kate along the way...
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52midnight
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks for a most insightful post.

> how nedit does not deal with Unicode

There will be a number of similar issues. Should Windoze continue to be supported? (No interest personally) Is the server facility still relevant? Etc.

> it might be that Unicode and cute fonts are not needed always and by everyone

Case in point.

> at least make sure that it remains compilable under X.

Would be quite happy with this, esp if the few remaining bugs or whatever can be sorted.

> nedit seems to combine ...

Good promo. Read http://www.nedit.org/features/ for more.

> While Gtk may be lighter (is it?) than Qt, though also IMO uglier, i suspect ...

As a hardware guy I'm happy to defer to those with better knowledge of software issues.

> Having said all this, i should emphasize that i do not see nedit as the end-all be-all of editors!

Quite so, but I'm increasingly of the opinion that the mobile/gadget/InternetOfThings areas are drawing away so much vital manpower that us ordinary folk may soon be starved of it. What are the chances of a "free as in beer" rewrite of Nedit today, much less a new editor as good or better? Three, I'd say ...

> There are features that i do miss on nedit

I'd like to see custom keybindings, though this is far lower priority than just keeping it current. When you're on a good thing ...
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52midnight
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As an addendum, I'd like to combine two of orionbelt's statements into a pertinent suggestion:

> Decoupling the core code from the GUI toolkit would probably be the best option if it is doable

> i do not see nedit as the end-all be-all of editors!

Let's assume that we've all written enough editors to be tired of re-inventing the wheel, but agree that editors must continually be updated to accomodate new developments. Can we therefore devise a generalized schema that describes ALL editors - a sort of Backus-Naur Editor Formalism. For those unacquainted, see:

http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Backus?Naur_Form.html

For starters I'd suggest that a key file could contain simple custom DEFINEs or MACROs to substitute bindings for different toolkits, e.g:

#define restoreInsaneVirtualKeyBindings(unsigned char* bindings) useISO-8859-1(unsigned char* bindings)

In this scenario, every conforming editor would consist of three parts: the executive code, the GUI bindings, and a substitution table linking them. I hasten to add that this is just fodder for private consideration, and should not in any way detract effort from just KEEPING NEDIT ALIVE.
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