While I respect the power and flexibility of emacs, vim, etc, I miss MS-DOS Editor.

It's very simple to use, has a nice color display and a menu system which, if I remember correctly, you could navigate with the arrow keys. It's very straightforward and user friendly.

Is there an equivalent in Ubuntu?

Title screen:

enter image description here

Find and replace:enter image description here

  • 9
    I guess you know about nano? It's close but not quite as ... colorful. There are syntax colors though. You can at least see what actions are possible.
    – turbo
    Commented May 13, 2011 at 10:09
  • 5
    Ahhh... I miss those old DOS-character menus and dialogs. With shadows, even! I learned C with Borland, and one of the first thing I did was write libraries to build UIs like that. I can't see using something like this today, though, for anything other than nostalgia. To that end, you could probably configure Vim to look a lot like that. Or it could be a fun project to recreate it yourself. :)
    – Mud
    Commented May 14, 2011 at 7:41

4 Answers 4


Nano (Installed by default)

nano is a GPL Licensed curses-based text editor for Unix and Unix-like systems.

Nano Screenshot

  • 4
    In the footer, you see shortcuts with their corresponding actions. ^X means "Ctrl + X". Press F1 to get a help page. You might be interested in customizing nano (e.g. wordwrap, smooth scrolling), run the command man nanorc to get a list of options.
    – Lekensteyn
    Commented May 13, 2011 at 13:01


You can try mcedit, it looks a lot like MS-DOS Edit.
I dont remember if it comes with ubuntu, probably you have to install mc install (midnight commander)


  • 1
    Not to mention that you get to enjoy the good ol' days of Norton Commander as an added bonus if you just run mc.
    – Egil
    Commented May 13, 2011 at 10:26

Another choice, available in the repos, powerful and more close to Borland's compilers editor, is the editor fte.

Available in the following versions:

  • xwindows, command xfte, package fte-xwindow;
  • terminal, command sfte, package fte-terminal;
  • console, command vfte, package fte-console.

A screenshot:

enter image description here

  • 3
    This one looks the closest to the MS-DOS editor. The menus in particular make it more like the MS-DOS editor than any of the other options presented.
    – crazy2be
    Commented May 13, 2011 at 23:22
sudo apt-get install fp-ide    

and run:

fp file.txt

100% like "edit" in MsDos. It is IDE fo freepascal but it can edit text files.

  • multiple windows
  • save last session
  • gcalctour
  • ascii table
  • grep
  • undo redo
  • find and replace
  • Console Mouse Support (install gpm) ...and more

Is part in free pascal ..it can be run without download full free pascal


  • Thanks, that's cool! And It's fp file.txt to call up the editor, not fc! I almost gave up since fc gave me the 'not found' error.
    – Edwin Yip
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 16:08
  • Obviously this is the closest to EDIT.COM (MS-DOS Editor). It looks like Turbo Pascal.
    – dns
    Commented May 3, 2018 at 13:59

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