nano is probably the leading contender beyond vim or emacs, and for some distros it’s a default text editor (Edit: I guess I’m thinking of the Arch live boot ISO, which has nano and vi on board).
I don’t dislike nano, and somewhere down the line you’ll understand my halfhearted allegiance to vim. Probably when we hit the V section. 😉
nano’s best feature, and what should dethrone either of the vim or emacs usurpers, is the fact that it is very friendly to newcomers.
Most of the fundamentals are on the screen, from startup. Getting in and out of the program is clear and easy. Saving, deleting, and access to help are immediately visible.
Some things are still a bit eccentric — “WriteOut” as a euphemism for “save” always irked me — but for the most part it’s approachable and sane.
nano is good and nano makes life easy for newcomers, but it’s no jed. But it’s a long, uphill battle to put jed in the throne. 😐