I was just wondering what "Vi" means in Linux (the command used for editing files)?
Wikipedia has a concise and properly cited explanation:
viis derived from the shortest unambiguous abbreviation for the command
ex; the command in question switches the line editor
exto visual mode.
Note that this does not mean that the full name of the text editor "vi" is still "visual" or, even, that "vi" currently stands for "visual" - the name of the editor is just "vi". The above quote just explains how the name originally came into being.
As Ben Voigt helpfully points out, the people (and websites) claiming that it stands for "Visual Instrument" are confusing it with another product unrelated to the text editor.
If one goes back and looks at an old man page for vi, such as the one for SunOS 5.10 from '07:
SunOS 5.10 Last change: 16 May 2007 1 User Commands vi(1) The vi (visual) utility is a display-oriented text editor based on an underlying line editor ex. It is possible to use the command mode of ex from within vi and to use the command mode of vi from within ex. The visual commands are described on this manual page; how to set options (like automatically numbering lines and automatically starting a new output line when you type carriage return) and all ex line editor com- mands are described on the ex(1) manual page.
Or from Ultrix (latest release '95):
Name vi - screen editor Syntax vi [ -t tag ] [ +command ] [ -l ] [ -r ] [ -wn ] [ -x ] name... Description The (visual) editor is a display-oriented text editor based on The com mand and the command run the same code. You can access the command mode of from within
And thus you have it:
vi is from visual. This matches the pattern its ancestor editors:
ex is the extended editor and
ed is an editor.
There is no indication that this stands for anything else. Maybe Visual Interface (what I learned it as back long ago), but there is no documentation that it stands for anything other than visual.
Vi just stands for Visual, as in Visual Editor. Vim stands for Visual Improved, as in Visual Editor Improved.wikibooks