From Wikipedia:

Text editors are provided with operating systems and software development packages, and can be used to change configuration files, documentation files and programming language source code.

From Wikipedia again:

Richard Stallman founded the GNU project in September 1983 with an aim to create a free GNU operating system. Initially the components required for kernel and development were written: editors, shell, compiler and all the others

From these quotes, it seems that a text editor is required in an OS.

When I used Windows, there were only a few occasions that I had to actual edit any system files myself, and I would have to believe that the average user never ends up opening a text editor to edit system files.

In Unix/Linux, and maybe Windows, you can edit a text, such as appending, file using commands without even opening a text editor, so a editor would not even be necessary. I'm not sure if you can put text in the middle of a file, so perhaps that's where a editor would come in place.

Is it the operating system that uses the text editor in the background for system uses? So, whenever a file needs to be changed, the OS will in the background invoke something such as$emacs someFile and then edit it, without us seeing, if there is some way to hide it.

Update: Are the downvotes because it's a very obvious answer, or because the question is inappropriate?

closed as primarily opinion-based by DavidPostill, EBGreen, Ramhound, Raystafarian, bwDraco Jul 13 '15 at 22:58

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    I didn't downvote but I would expect that the votes are because the question is not a good fit for superuser. Any answers will be primarily opinion based and would lead to long protracted discussions rather than one clear best answer. – EBGreen Jul 13 '15 at 14:06
  • @BigChris That is why I asked, as the quotes made it seem necessary, but in you rarely see standard Windows/OSX users ever edit system files. – Abdul Jul 13 '15 at 14:08
  • @EBGreen Isn't this question straight forward though? It would either be system or human. BigChris's comment answered it with system, as he said the system doesn't need an editor. – Abdul Jul 13 '15 at 14:11
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    Humans and software use the text editors. Note that on Windows, most applications use installers to write data to the windows registery, and store their configuration files per user, because windows is mostly for end users. Linux does not have a central registery, and is commonly used as a server, so applications and services are configured in Text documents that are global to the server (eg configurate is per server, not per user). Either way, having a text editor is one of the earliest requirements computers ever had, and as a result, every modern os implements one or more. – Frank Thomas Jul 13 '15 at 14:19
  • @FrankThomas Chris answered my question, and you explained it further. Thanks. – Abdul Jul 13 '15 at 14:24

Microsoft, starting from Windows95 put OS configurations on the Registry. It is not a text file. It's a database in one or more binary files.

Windows users have a lot of graphical tools that let them modify registry keys without using text editors.

It is not a requirement for a Windows application to use Windows Registry, so you can find applications that use .ini files (text files) to store the configuration.

For Unix/Linux users the text editor is more useful, besides the OS uses text files to boot, to control auto start of applications, to manage the firewall,etc.

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    You still have the hosts file. And XP still had boot.ini – barlop Jul 13 '15 at 15:09
  • It should be noted that the boot.ini is text so it can be edited offline as needed, and so that the bootsec does not need to have sufficient code to load the registery that early in boot (since part of its configure implies the location of the hive files). – Frank Thomas Jul 13 '15 at 15:14
  • @jcbermu Do apps that come preinstalled in Windows use the registry more often, and likewise, do apps installed by the user typically use .ini files for configurations? – Abdul Jul 13 '15 at 15:19
  • @Abdul There are not specific rules. However the trend is to use registry because it let the administrators to make remote configurations, updates, uninstalls, etc. – jcbermu Jul 13 '15 at 15:32
  • You write " the trend is to use registry because it let the administrators to make remote configurations, updates, uninstalls" <--- can you explain why they couldn't do that before (which is what your comment is suggestive of). – barlop Jul 13 '15 at 16:00

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