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I found a few great features in the joe text editor for the command window:
You can:

  1. Keep the command help menu visible all the time.
  2. Split the current view into two panes (top, bottom) so that you can view one part of the file in one pane and edit another part in the other pane.

There's so much out there about vi and emacs that I request to please keep them out of this discussion about joe.
So typically, is joe easily available on many systems? SSH? VPS hosting?
I want to invest time in practising joe or nano for programming (!) in case I get only command iine / ssh access.

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Consider carefully the editor you invest yourself in. Once you really learn an editor, it's hard to switch to something else. I used to use Jove, MicroGnuEmacs (later MGE), and/or MicroEmacs simply because I didn't have to retrain my fingers when stuck in text mode on low-end machines. Another criterium was, did it consist of a single file binary I could drop on a new box and run? Now, even the most basic computers can run a full-blown emacs, even if only in non-X mode (emacs -nw), so I no longer use the cut-down versions. If you stick with Joe, consider using the jmacs mod for that reason. – kmarsh Dec 17 '09 at 22:34
FWIW, looking at it this way makes it sound easy (it probably is very easy anyway): nano is Ctrl or Alt, while joe is Ctrl + K + key – user15286 Dec 18 '09 at 10:56
up vote 3 down vote accepted

So typically, is joe easily available on many systems?

Easily available? definitely. There are joe packages available for most major distributions. It doesn't usually come preinstalled though so you'd need to install it yourself. I know you want to keep other editors out of the discussion, but vi and nano are much more commonly found on systems. I'd practice one of those as it would be more beneficial to you if you are ever stuck with only command line access to a system. Your chances of one of the two being available are much higher than the joe editor, but it doesn't hurt to expand your knowledge and learn your way around multiple editors.

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So nano it is, for now. But as you say, i'll play around with both. – user15286 Dec 18 '09 at 10:52

If you're on a RedHat/Fedora based system, you'll have yum to install packages. If you're on a Debian/Ubuntu based system, you'll have apt-get to install packages. You can use one of those.

== OR ==

Just download, build and install it yourself. From

JOE is written in C and its only dependency is libc. This makes JOE very easy to build (just "configure" and "make install"), making it feasible to include on small systems and recovery disks.

This means the first time you connect to the machine, you only need to copy the tarball to the server (or use wget/curl to get it), then:

% cd joe-3.7 (or whatever the current release is)
% ./configure
% make 
% sudo make install

(sudo necessary if you're logged in as a user other than root -- and you're not planning to log in as root, right?)

Don't be afraid to build stuff from source.

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or do ./configure --prefix=$HOME to install to a user home directory (for systems where you don't have root access). and don't forget to add $HOME/bin to your PATH... – quack quixote Dec 17 '09 at 23:53
Getting the source never occurred to me. If configuration/tweaking is possible, that will be fun. Thanks for the tip! I'll check it out in free time. – user15286 Dec 18 '09 at 11:01

To echo John's answer, I can tell you that Joe is not on any of the RHEL4, RHEL5 or Solaris10 boxes I administer. Now, I'm the one who set all those up, so that's not a terribly diverse sample. But I would have had to go out of my way to get Joe on there. A quick check indicates it's certainly included in the RHEL5.3 setup discs, but probably not installed without choosing some additional checkboxes during installation. So I wouldn't personally expect to find it on any random machine I came across.

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