How to use vIM as IDE in Debian, Ubuntu, Mint

Been using source based distributions for a long time. Source based distributions are cool for systems with limited resources. But what if you don’t have enough time?

Debian is one of the oldest distribution there which is known for stability. Stability? Well that never had been a priority for me but for some reasons I came to it and now using it for some months. It’s a cool distribution.

Well, that enough said, let’s come to the topic. vIM has been my editor since I started using Linux. There are many other text editors like nano but I never been interested in them. To be honest still I only know how to exit from nano when a command is run by me and nano was the default editor there.

I have been maintaining my dotfiles no matter which distribution I was using. But still I had to compile things for vIM and other cool software I use in my daily routine.

I was looking for some tool using apt search and found vim-youcompleteme in search results. Which leaded me to install it. I installed it and it also installed its dependencies. In other distros I had been using before I manually had to compile vIM and YouCompleteMe plugin. So here is the process you can follow to have vIM with your plugins.

Installing vIM

Debian is a decent distribution. It has many flavours of packages. If you don’t want some extra features for some package, you can have lightweight one. Others can have it how they want it to be. Debian vIM is a light package. If you wanna use YouCompleteMe vIM plugin, you must install vIM with extra features compiled. But don’t worry, Debian has it. Assuming you want vIM as your default editor, these commands will install vIM, remove vIM with less features and make it default editor.

Remove vIM if you have it.

$ sudo apt remove vim vim-runtime gvim vim-tiny vim-common vim-gui-common vim-tiny vim-common vim-gui-common 

Install vIM.

$ sudo apt install vim-nox

Install Addon Manager. You can use plugins without a plugin manager too but it really makes your life easier.

$ sudo apt install vim-addon-manager vim-youcompleteme

Make vIM your default editor.

$ sudo update-alternatives --set editor /usr/bin/vim.nox
$ sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/vi vi /usr/bin/vim.nox 1
$ sudo update-alternatives --set vi /usr/bin/vim.nox

Configure vIM

After everything is installed, now you can configure vIM to use these plugins. For example, I use vim-youcompleteme.

$ vam install youcompleteme

That’s it. You can always have a look at my dotfiles if have some issues. Enjoy using vIM.