I’m using my wife’s MacBook Pro to see if it would be reasonably painless to integrate a MacBook laptop into my Linux workflow.

It seems like the main port of gVim to Mac is MacVim which requires Xcode to compile. If it takes 4GB of Xcode to compile a lightweight (~10MB) editor like Vim I must be going down the wrong path.

I also tried Mac OS X Vim from SourceForge, but that was just broken and I didn’t want to spend the time fighting with it.

I just want a lightweight editor not a full blown 4GB IDE. I’m really surprised I’m getting hung up on Vim support on a UNIX based machine. I want a GUI version of Vim since I’m not a Vim jedi yet.

Any suggestions?

  • Upvoted, because I agree that you shouldn’t have to install all of XCode if you otherwise have no use for it. But I think in general if you’re on Mac and you’re a superuser, you really should at least at a minimum have homebrew installed (because it brings in a lot of very useful tools), and as long as you’re going to already have homebrew installed, it’s cheap and easy to install vim+macvim. – sideshowbarker Sep 27 '15 at 22:35
  • Thanks for the upvote. I guess I don't understand the role that Xcode plays in getting macvim to work. Am I going to be opening a 4GB IDE everytime I want to do some basic editing in gvim? BTW, I do have homebrew installed. It's when I run brew install macvim that I get the error saying I need xcode. – Canaryyellow Sep 27 '15 at 22:49
  • Yeah I guess the problem is that that if you want to build a vim on OS X, you need XCode. And homebrew builds packages from sources (I think). But you (and most people) don’t want/need to build it. Hence, macvim (which I think is the real answer here). – sideshowbarker Sep 27 '15 at 22:53
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    @Canaryyellow: You won't need to open a 4GB IDE every time you want to use gvim, you only need Xcode to compile it, not to run it. Once it's compiled you could remove Xcode and free up the space again. – dreamlax Sep 27 '15 at 22:56
  • You are complaining about Xcode, but without Xcode Mac OS X does not have the capability to compile anything form source. So Xcode must be installed. It works fine and is the equivalent of build-essential in Linux which itself is not installed by default in Linux systems anyway. – JakeGould Sep 27 '15 at 23:00

Just grab the latest macvim release from https://github.com/macvim-dev/macvim/releases.

The .tbz file; e.g.: https://github.com/macvim-dev/macvim/releases/download/snapshot-77/MacVim-snapshot-77.tbz

After you unzip that, you’ll have a folder with a MacVim.app binary inside. That should work.

Update: Apparently there’s also now VimR “Refined Vim experience for OS X” at http://vimr.org —with a prominent download link, and also binaries at https://github.com/qvacua/vimr/releases.

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    Upvoted since this is a good and useful approach, didn't accept since I used the comments to solve my problem and understand the necessity of Xcode. Thanks. – Canaryyellow Sep 28 '15 at 18:41

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