How Vim and charityware learned to create a force for good

Vim (“Vi Improved”) is an advanced text editor, a multiplatform open source editor, allowing a efficient text editing. Is a improved open source editor of vi editor. Mos of the UNIX systems nowdays has installed in it, compatible with Windows and Mac as well. The first release of vim was in 1991 from Bram Moolenaar, with no charge, was released as freeware. Some might argue that vim is careware or charityware, given that Bram is donating profits from the website’s advertising to Ugandan charities. To find out more about Careware visit the Wikipedia article.

When Bram started working on his Amiga, there was no compatible vi version for the machine, so the goal was to imitate vi with a program called Stevie.

Adding new features at VIM at 1.22 version, Vim had more features than vi, and the name was changed from Vi Imitation to Vi Improved. With a new vim release it include more features and updates. Vim is designed to be user like a text editor for programmers and command-line users as well. The main point of an open source program is the possibility for other developers to optimize the code and also view the sourcecode.

Vim was made so that it works on many different operating systems. This wasn’t easy. Just supporting the most popular Unix versions is already a big task. Adding support for MS-DOS and MS-Windows gives the additional problem of using file names with a backslash in them. Machines such as the Amiga and the Macintosh have a different kind of operating system, which require specific solutions. – Bram Moolenaar for Free Software Magazine


The first public version released for general public was 1.14 published in November 2, 1991, after this VIM has grown significantly due to the effort of different programmers.

A timeline of vim during the years:

1988 Vim 1.0 Vi IMitation on the Amiga
1991 Vim 1.14 First public release (on Fred Fish disk #591)
1992 Vim 1.22 Port to Unix, renamed to Vi IMproved
1994 Vim 3.0 Multiple windows
1996 Vim 4.0 GUI
1998 Vim 5.0 Syntax highlighting
2001 Vim 6.0 Folding, multi-language
2006 Vim 7.0 On the fly spell checker, support for tabs


These are only some of the updates made on VIM. Need to mention VIM is charityware, this means everybody who use it is asked to donate for charity. Using Vim is free without charge, if you like the program and think it’s worth something, you can donate not for vim but for charity.

The base of open source is the large numbers of contributors, but need to be supported during the time with new features and new technologies due to the technology upgrades, VIM has a large number of developers working on it , also workign on the vim plugins. In every release of VIM there are updates and bug fixed, for this reason if a new version of VIM available need to update it.

You can test different distro linux releases and you will see vim always installed on it. Also the guru developers or guru command lines users who use vim from different years will find in Vim new features. Some of the reasons Vim is still going strong today:

– Vi is in every Unix system and almost in every Linux, so if you learn how to use vim you can navigate without any problem.

-Vim is free and with a large community ready to help

– Vim works with a remote connection, for example via ssh, telnet

– Vim configuration is portable. So with the copy of few directories you can start using Vim

– Vim is very fast, stable and lightweight even if you use large files

– If you need to configure anything in Unix you can do it via Vim

– Vim can be easily manageable with no use of the mouse, only the keyboard, it will save a lot of time and you will be focused in writing code or editing files rather than trying to figure out with mouse where should be clicked. Most importantly I presume is the fact that Vim is fun, to edit code, to use multiple lines at the same time, like a game if you like it you will always play with that, and being a master in that game.

– If working remotely you can not use Eclipse or similar GTK, with vim this is possible, even if you open a large file more than 1 GB. So for example if you have a large csv file (used also from Excel ) over than 1-2 Gb, if you do not have a mega computer Excel or also a bsic editor will get blocked, I suggest open it via Vim, you will see the difference.

– If you need some features to use on vim you can use the plugins vim

– If you have a question how to use that features or an option you will always find a documentation for that.

– Most of people who know of heard about Vim know this is a cool program, this can be a good reason 🙂 to learn Vim.

– Vim can be used in different languages now days, for example Python, Perl, Ruby, C, Html, Css, Javascript. Now days vim support over 200 languages.

– Vim can be customizable, so for example in every language vim use different color for different objects or variables, if you do not like that color you can change it, you can customize short-codes as well according to your needs.