Yestin L. Harrison

Pijul and text editors

pijul does not come with a built-in text editor. Instead, when you need to make larger inputs (esp. when using the pijul record command), pijul relies on any text editor that is installed on your system.


On Linux, a program that wants to launch an external text editor may try to find out which one the user wants by reading the $VISUAL or $EDITOR environment variables. If it isn’t set, then usually GNU nano is used, because it can be expected to be installed by default by most (if not all) distributions. A manual is available on the nano web site.

nano (crash course)

nano is controlled with the keyboard. You navigate through the text using the cursor keys. Actions are invoked with key combinations together with the Ctrl key, written as ^ (e. g. ^O means: while holding the Ctrl key, press O, or the Alt key (“Meta”), written as M- – e. g. M-U means: while holding Alt, press U.

So, press the key until the cursor is on the last single quote. You can also get there by pressing End and then once. Now you can type your patch message so that it appears between the single quotes.

Let’s have a look at the bottom of the screen. There you can see a few commands currently available to you. What is most interesting to us is saving the text and exiting nano. nano says “Write out”, but it means “save”, so we’ll use that first: press ^O (that’s Ctrl+O). Then, exit: ^X.

Done! You should be back at the prompt.

Other editors

There is a plethora of editors available for Linux, writing a tutorial for all or even the most prominent ones would be overwhelming. We’ll assume that, since you installed the editor yourself and probably also set the $VISUAL environment variable, that you know what you are doing.