Will Vim die with Bram Moolenaar?

I really, really really want to love nvim.

Yet another go with it this past week and I’m still not convinced it’s ready for
me. With that, I do agree that it’s the future of vim.

Development still seems to be moving quickly and in the right direction, but as
a long time vim user, there are some things that are keeping me from fulling
embracing it as my daily driver.

I’m fully aware that a lot of this is fueled by my own idiosyncrasies and my
desire to ensure that I can be fully capable while switching between nvim and

So what sparked the recent decision to give nvim another go?

It was because of an article I had read that cited the fact that Bram Moolenaar
doesn’t merge in pull requests, but commits them himself.

This results in a project that only has a single contributor and no dispersed
accountability in the code base. If you run into a problem in the code, it looks
like Bram wrote the code, case closed.

For reference, at the time of this writing, nvim has 394 contributors and
Linux (the kernel, not the GNU/Linux operating system 😉 has… I kid you not…
∞ contributors.

I can admire the fact that by putting him name on every single line of code,
he’s taking responsibility and, in theory, is reviewing every single line of
code, but man, talk about being a fucking control freak.

The concept of a Benevolent Dictator for Life is novel and all that, but
absolutely doesn’t have longevity if there’s not a bit more of a community
hierarchy in place to help things move forward even when the project lead

Our time here is a blip and it’s ignorant to think otherwise.

What I found interesting is that while researching Benevolent Dictators for Life
for this post, I saw Linus Torvalds listed as one.

I know he is absolutely Mr. Linux, but I’ve also previously read interviews with
Linus where he discusses his involvement at this point and how the project is
setup to succeed even after his demise.

Love him or hate him for his contribution to society or his rants at shoddy
devs, he’s definitely got those ducks in a row for after he’s gone.

So what happens when Bram isn’t around and he wholly owns the release process
and every single line of vim code?

Assuming that a new project lead isn’t named, ideally, the community will come
together and either fork vim for the sake of furthering development or nvim
will be formally adopted as vim moving forward.

The present situation with a single person in their ivory tower will probably
lead to a handful of people forking vim and staking claim to being the new
BDFL and that their fork is the one true vim.

This would be one of the darker timelines and it will be a shit show.

For me, I’m hoping to have finally adopted nvim so that I can enjoy my popcorn
while everything plays out 😉

Josh Sherman - The Man, The Myth, The Avatar

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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