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In my college our Admin has replaced vi by vim.

So how do I replace vi by vim so that, when I type vi in terminal, then vim should get opened.

I know doing so is silly, but I am asking it just out of curiosity.


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up vote 7 down vote accepted

You can add

alias vi='vim'

to .bashrc . This will start vim whenever you type vi

Note that in Ubuntu 10.10 (and I think also 10.04) vi is already mapped to vim.

(I btw think it's not silly. It saves typing ;) )

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Sorry for another silly question, but where is .bashrc located ? I am quite new to Ubuntu. – Searock Oct 12 '10 at 17:46
In your home directory. Just type vim ~/.bashrc – Peter Smit Oct 12 '10 at 17:47
+1 Thanks a lot : ) – Searock Oct 12 '10 at 17:48
Actually, 'vi' has pointed to some variation of 'vim' since almost forever in Ubuntu (see my answer about alternatives to know how to change which variation). – JanC Oct 13 '10 at 6:31

'vi' in Ubuntu already starts 'vim', although by default it starts 'vim-tiny' (which comes closest to the original 'vi' in its (lack of) features). You can see this with:

sudo update-alternatives --display vi

If you want it to use another version of vim, then make sure it's installed and run:

sudo update-alternatives --config vi
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Can I use update-alternatives for other applications, what does update-alternatives do, does it installs extra features ? – Searock Oct 12 '10 at 17:52
Yes you can. It updates alternatives. No, it doesn't. If you want to know more use man update-alternatives or start a new question. – Martin Oct 12 '10 at 18:36
@Martin Thanks. – Searock Oct 13 '10 at 4:44
This should be marked as the correct answer, instead of the workaround that was accepted! – OmarOthman Dec 24 '15 at 14:29

In addition to what Peter Smit has suggested. You can do the following as well to make that change system wide rather than just your account.

add alias vi='vim' to /etc/bash.bashrc

or create a symlink to vim

sudo ln -s /usr/bin/vim /usr/bin/vi

However on my system both /usr/bin/vim and /usr/bin/vi are symlinks to /etc/alternatives/vim

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+1 Thanks a lot : ) – Searock Oct 12 '10 at 17:54
The symlink is a bad suggestion: use update-alternatives to manage this in Ubuntu. – Roger Pate Oct 13 '10 at 17:45
yes I agree do it the correct way. I didn't know that vim was using the alternatives system. – 3dinfluence Oct 13 '10 at 17:52

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