fte, efte and *fte: An epic tale of text editor discovery

I do have a history of backing my way into programs, and discovering later that there were easier options available.

Today was a good example. I had efte on my list as a menu-driven text editor, and found fte by way of an AUR search. I dutifully installed both, only to be met with these messages in tty1:

kmandla@jsgqk71: ~$ fte
$DISPLAY not set? This version of fte must be run under X11.

kmandla@jsgqk71: ~$ efte
XeFTE Fatal: could not open display: NULL!

Usually that’s enough of a sign for me to throw down whatever program I am dangling before my goggling eyes, and move on to something more amenable. But I felt a certain small affinity for both fte and efte, mostly because their X-based performance seemed to be on the right track.

2015-01-03-jsgqk71-fte 2015-01-03-jsgqk71-efte

I couldn’t see a text-based flag for either program in what I had installed, so I did one last search through Debian as due diligence, and came up with both fte-console and fte-terminal — versions of fte intended for emulators and virtual consoles, respectively, and decompress to include vfte and sfte, respectively.

Both ran fine under Arch in spite of their Debian pedigree, which made me wonder if there were similar binaries included with the AUR versions.

To make a long story short, fte includes the aforementioned sfte and vfte, and efte includes nefte and vefte as analogues. The underlying idea of this long and drawn-out post, is that fte and efte (and their accompanying versions) should give you something along the lines of this:


And so I can more or less conclude this text editor epic by pointing out that fte and efte are full-screen, menu-driven text editors with a feature set aimed at programmers. Color is great, syntax highlighting is turned on by default, both start up with a file chooser and both can do split windows, interactive dialogs, horizontal panning and a bunch of other fun stuff.

Now I can claim to have finished looking over not one, not two, but six text editors without ever bashing vim or emacs. I can cross that off my list of achievements. 😉