Switching to Vim from Neovim

Josh Sherman
2 min read
Personal Vim / Neovim

I’ve been a Vim user for the better part of the last 20 years. I’m also not blind to the fact that there are other editors out there.

I’m usually the first person to download a copy of some new editor and/or IDE and give it a whirl, always running back to my beloved Vim.

That was, until Neovim hit the scene.

At first I was apprehensive of a rogue fork of Vim claiming to be the future of the editor just because somebody was seemingly butthurt that their pull request was rejected by Bram.

After a while, I started to see Neovim mentioned alongside of Vim more and more. To the point that these days you’ll usually see it referenced as “Vim/Neovim” in a lot of plugin’s documentation.

At least twice since Neovim’s been released, I’ve adopted it as my editor of choice, only to go back to Vim after a month or two.

I can hear you right now, citing that Neovim is the future of Vim!

That very well could be a true statement. Fact is, right now there’s a higher likelihood of Neovim features being implemented into Vim than Neovim somehow becoming a major force in the editor wars.

Neovim has some great things going for it. It’s readily available on most of the major package managers and the sane defaults are pretty damn convenient.

With that, the last time I switched back to Vim was because I noticed that Neovim was eating up more memory than Vim while editing the same exact file!

During the uninstall from my Arch system, I became aware that Neovim is actually a ton larger than the Vim package on said system.

17.85 MB vs 3.14 MB

Kind of baffling considering I had thought that Neovim was addressing the fact that Vim was full of a bunch of cruft for antiquated systems that they felt no longer needed to be supported.

Hard for me to feel confident even if I wasn’t experiencing any noticeable performance issues. So back to Vim I went!

Nothing against the Neovim folks, but all of this feels quite reminiscent of when io.js forked from Node.js. They figured things out and merged projects within a year though.

Hopefully everybody can figure things out before we have a full-blown editor civil war on our hands!

Amendment: Somebody on Twitter pointed out that the reason that vim appeared so much smaller is because it has a dependency of vim-runtime. So to be fair, vim actually clocks in around 30 MB vs 18 MB for nvim.

Doesn’t change much on my end though. Not until nvim starts showing up on clean installs alongside of vim.

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About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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