I am trying to open vim on my Ubuntu 14.04 64 bit by entering the command in the terminal :


But i get the response :

The program 'vim' can be found in the following packages:
 * vim
 * vim-gnome
 * vim-tiny
 * vim-athena
 * vim-gtk
 * vim-nox
Try: sudo apt-get install <selected package>

But i assume( wrongly?) that vim comes by default in the distro. I confirm this by checking the installed packages :

dpkg --get-selections | grep -v deinstall > ~/Desktop/packages

It lists vim-common and vim-tiny.

So why doesn't vim open up? On the other hand, if i enter the command vi, it opens up vim in vi compatible mode.


1 Answer 1


Yes, it comes by default. Your mistake is that you think you should type vim to launch it. Just type vim and press Tab, and you will get the command vim.tiny, which is the correct command.

If you need to run VIM by vim command, you should install vim package:

sudo apt-get install vim

You can read more about differences between them in What features does vim-tiny have?

  • 1
    Interestingly, the vi command used to open up vim in compatibility mode. Now after installing vim, the vim command works, but vi and vim.tiny now opens up the newly installed vim as well. I guess i have lost the default vi and vim.tiny editors that came with the Ubuntu distro.
    – faizal
    Commented Aug 11, 2014 at 18:35
  • default update-alternatives command modifies symbolic links in /etc/alternatives. The way the packages install by default might have changed.
    – grantbow
    Commented Aug 11, 2014 at 19:49
  • 2
    This begs the question...why is it like this? Or, more briefly...WTF?
    – neuronet
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 1:08

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