Motiejus Jakštys Public Record

Vim and Smoking

2024-05-31

A few days ago my colleague had a yet another problem with his IDE after a yet another botched operating system upgrade. Frustrated, he said “maybe I should move to vim”.

My immediate reaction, being a nearly two-decade-long vim user, was “don’t do it!”. I didn’t even think before answering, but there, I blurted it out. It took a few days process it and now I understand why. Vim has many similarities with smoking:

  • You don’t like it at first.
  • There is (used to be, at least when I started) associated “social coolness” in doing it.
  • After a few weeks or months it starts getting addictive.
  • After a few years it is really, really hard to quit.
  • There are alternatives for those that want to quit (nicotine patches, IdeaVim), but none of them are as good as “the real thing”, and you will always feel and long for it.

At least Vim does not cause cancer. In my case, it directly affected my career. My previous job (between Uber and Chronosphere) I had a choice between two editors: IntelliJ Community and IntelliJ Ultimate. IdeaVim (an IntelliJ plugin that mimics vi) was too far from the real thing. I left only after 5 months, because I joined a non-smoking company and couldn’t take it.

Kids, don’t start smoking, because it causes cancer. Vim does not cause cancer, but, if you get hooked, it will affect the rest of your “typing life”. Think hard if you want to become dependent.