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9 History

The main inspiration for this work came from Martin Taillefer’s TurboText for the Amiga, which is the best editor I ever saw on any computer.

The first versions of ne were created on an Amiga 3000T, using the port of the curses library by Simon John Raybould. After switching to the lower-level terminfo library, the development continued under UN*X. Finally, I ported terminfo to the Amiga, thus making it possible to develop on that platform again. For ne 1.0, an effort has been made to provide a terminfo emulation using GNU’s termcap. The development eventually moved to Linux.

Todd Lewis got involved with ne when the University of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill campus migrated its central research computers from MVS to UNIX in 1995. The readily available UNIX editors had serious weaknesses in their user interfaces, especially from the standpoint of MVS users who were not too excited about having to move their projects to another platform while learning an entirely new suite of tools. ne offered an easily understood interface with enough capabilities to keep these new UNIX users productive. Todd installed and has maintained NE at UNC since then, making several improvements to the code to meet his users’ needs. In early 1999 his code base and mine were merged to become version 1.17.

Support for syntax highlighting was added in 2009 with code and techniques heavily borrowed from the GNU-licensed editor joe, which was written by Joseph H. Allen. Much of the work to incorporate this code into ne was undertaken by Daniele Filaretti, an undergraduate student working under the direction of Sebastiano at the Università degli Studi di Milano.


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