The vi (or vim) editor (always pronounced "vee-eye") is an important command line tool for Linux/SecurePlatform administrators. Sooner or late you're going to need to get on your SecurePlatform box to make changes to a configuration file and vi is the fastest, easiest way to do it.

An advantage of knowing vi is that just about every *nix box (including SecurePlatform and IPSO) comes with it already installed, so you can learn it once and use it everywhere. A second advantage is that it's simple and lightweight and it's easy to learn the basics. A third advantage is that the more experienced you become with it, the more you realize how powerful it truly is.

How to Start vi:

From the command line (either on the console or through an SSH client), enter

vi path/filename

for the file you wish to edit. If the file doesn't exist, it will be created for you when you save your edits.

You Start Off in Normal Mode:

Normal Mode is the "home" mode you start out in. You can use the arrow keys to move around in the file. The cursor highlights a single character. You can delete this character by pressing 'x'. You can enter various commands in this mode but for beginners the most important is 'i' which moves you to Insert Mode. From anywhere, to get back to Normal Mode, hit the escape key.

Insert Mode:

Once you're in Insert Mode, you can also use the arrow keys to move around. The cursor will still highlight a single character. Any character you type will be inserted before the cursor. When you're done, hit escape to return to Normal Mode.

When You're Done Editing:

Hit escape to return to Normal Mode if you haven't already. Hit ':' (colon) to enter Command Line Mode. The cursor will move to the bottom of the screen.

Command Line Mode:
'w' will write the file to disk.
'q' will quit the program.
'wq' will write and then quit.
'q!' will quit without saving your changes.

Hit escape to return to Normal Mode.

For More Information:

Wikipedia page on vi
O'Reilly books on vi at