ne is a free (GPL'd) text editor based on the POSIX standard that runs (we hope) on almost any UN*X machine. ne is easy to use for the beginner, but powerful and fully configurable for the wizard, and most sparing in its resource usage. If you have the resources and the patience to use emacs or the right mental twist to use vi then probably ne is not for you. However, if you need an editor that:
- compiles without effort everywhere (or almost everywhere), is packaged for all Linux distributions, and ported to other operating systems (such as Mac OS X);
- is fast, small, powerful and simple to use;
- has standard keystrokes (e.g., copy is CTRL-C);
- uses little bandwidth, so it is ideal for email, editing through phone line (or slow GSM/GPRS/UMTS) connections;
- has a very compact internal text representation, so you can easily load and modify very large files…
Some of the features of ne are:
- three user interfaces: control keystrokes, command line, and menus; keystrokes and menus are completely configurable;
- syntax highlighting;
- full support for UTF-8 files, including multiple-column characters;
- the number of documents and clips, the dimensions of the display, and the file/line lengths are limited only by the integer size of the machine;
- simple scripting language where scripts can be generated via an idiotproof record/play method;
- unlimited undo/redo capability (can be disabled with a command);
- automatic preferences system based on the extension of the file name being edited;
- automatic completion of prefixes using words in your documents as dictionary;
- a file requester with completion features for easy file retrieval;
- extended regular expression search and replace a la emacs and vi;
- a very compact memory model—you can easily load and modify very large files;
- editing of binary files.
You can also have a look at the on-line manual.
In 2005, Puzzle ITC GmbH, a Swiss firm, donated money for ne. That never happened to me before! Thank you!
There are a few archives related to ne: the general distribution is a tar gzip'd file containing sources that should compile under any POSIX-compliant UNIX. The RPM archive for i386 provides easy installation on RPM-based distributions.
If you use the Cygwin environment there is a version of ne compiled for it (you just have to untar it in the root directory). This version requires the last version of ncurses, but you can also get a termcap-based version that has no dependencies and starts by default using the built-in ANSI sequences.
ne was originally developed on the Amiga and inspired by TurboText, a wonderful editor written by Martin Taillefer. Development moved then on Linux. Todd Lewis joined the development donating code he wrote to add features required at the University of North Carolina. Daniele Filaretti helped with syntax highlighting.