Unit 3: Pinging and Vim Editor Adventures


My first task this week after installing the Linux server on my virtual machine was to see if my virtual machine could connect to the web. I did this by using the ping utility or by pinging. Pinging sends a number of data packets from the source computer to an external website.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ping_%28networking_utility%29 for a description of what the ping utility can do. The site pinged was en.wikipedia.org and 461 packets transmitted to this site so I had exit the ping command by using ctrl-c. You may like to know that my ping command experiment was successful. Transmission rates varied from 60 ms to 167 ms Ping commands have a number of options the –w option, for instance sets the amount of time that ping waits for a reply. To see other options go tohttp://pcsupport.about.com/od/commandlinereference/p/ping-command.htm

I have often run the ping command at the Windows command line and there does not seem to be too much difference in using ping at the Windows command line than at the Linux command line. However, see http://manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/hardy/man8/ping.8.html

Text Editors

Text editors are  used to edit configuration files in Linux and the user can access any more configuration files in Linux than in Windows. For a list of configuration files and what they do in Linux see http://how-to.wikia.com/wiki/Guide_to_linux_configuration_files or for a more technical treatment see http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/library/l-config/ The text editor used in many Linux operating systems is the vim editor  so I needed to do a tutorial to see how it worked.

Vim (text editor) in a terminal emulator, with...

Vim (text editor) in a terminal emulator, with line numbering, a split screen and syntax highlighting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To access the tutorial for the vim editor all I had to do was to type vimtutor at the command prompt. You can use the arrow keys to move the cursor various directions in vim but the cursor will also move to the left if you type the h key, to the right if you type l to the top if you type k and to the bottom if you type j. Of course this is not as simple as using the arrow keys but to some programmers it is much more efficient than just typing the arrow keys. I am a new user so I do not know whether using j,h,k, and l is better than using the arrow keys as yet.

There is also a unique way of existing vim which tripped me up. You need to type :q! and then enter except I typed :q1 before I realized that I needed to type :q! I did this quite a few times before I realized my mistake. The lesson here is to realize that syntax is very important in Linuz as it is most other computer programming.

The vim tutor provided practice sentences such as ‘The ccow jumpedd over thhe moon.“to practice on. The emphasis is on trying to learn by doing. I find that learning by doing is the best way to conquer Linux. Many adult education theories including cognitive theories support the idea of learning by doing especially with complex tasks. Besides I like experimenting with different commands and syntax.

Lessons in vim included such topics as text editing, Operations and Motions, Copying and Pasting Text, Operating on lines, the Undo command, the  Put command and the search command. The tutorial has seven lessons but the authors also recommend books that are referred to at the end of the tutorial.

You might like to browse the websites below.

Interactive vim tutorial


More on Text Editors from Lifehacker


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