How to Install Latest Vim Editor in Linux Systems

Vi has been around for a long, developed around 1976, it offered users traditional yet powerful features such as an effective editing interface, terminal control, and many more.

However, it lacked certain captivating features for example multiple screens, syntax highlighting, multiple undo functionality, and so on, that many Unix/Linux users were looking for in a complete text editor.

Therefore, Vim (Vi Improved) was developed to bring users a fully-featured, advanced, and complete text editor. Vim is a powerful, highly configurable, popular, and cross-platform text editor that runs on Unix-like systems such as Linux, OS X, Solaris, *BSD, and MS-Windows.

It is feature-rich and highly-extensible as well, using several community developed plugins, you can turn Vim into more than a simple text editor using vim tricks and tips.

Vim Features

A number of its notable features include:

  1. Persistent, multi-level undo tree
  2. Supports multiple screens
  3. Highly extensible using multiple plugins
  4. Offers users a powerful and reliable search tool
  5. Supports several programming languages and file formats
  6. Supports and integrates with numerous tools and many more

Ten years since major changes were made to Vim, a new and improved release, Vim 8.2 is now out as in this announcement. It comes with some important improvements, several bug fixes, and new features as listed below:

New Features in Vim 8.2

  1. Jobs
  2. Asynchronous I/O support, channels, JSON
  3. Timers
  4. Supports partials, lambdas, and closures
  5. Enables new style testing
  6. Viminfo merged by timestamp
  7. Supports GTK+3
  8. Support for MS-Windows DirectX

How To Install Vim Editor in Linux Systems

In most modern Linux distributions, you can install Vim editor from the default repositories using the package manager, but the available version you will get is a little older.

$ sudo apt install vim     [On Debian, Ubuntu and Mint]
$ sudo dnf install vim     [On RHEL, CentOS and Fedora]
$ sudo pacman -S vim       [On Arch Linux and Manjaro]
$ sudo zypper install vim  [On OpenSuse]

Although Vim 8.2 is out, it will take a good amount of time before it gets into official software repositories for the different Linux distributions.

Luckily, users of Ubuntu and Mint and its derivatives can use the unofficial and untrusted PPA to install it as shown.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jonathonf/vim
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install vim

After installation, you can launch vim from the command line and view information about it as shown:

$ vim
Running Vim 8.0 in Ubuntu 16.04
Running Vim 8.0 in Ubuntu 16.04

To uninstall it and move back to the older version in the Ubuntu repository, run the following commands to purge the PPA:

$ sudo apt install ppa-purge
$ sudo ppa-purge ppa:jonathonf/vim

Compiling Vim from Sources in Linux

For other Linux distributions, it will take some time to include it into official software repositories, but you can try the latest Vim 8.0 by compiling it from the source on your own as shown.

On Debian/Ubuntu and Mint

$ sudo apt install ncurses-dev
$ wget https://github.com/vim/vim/archive/master.zip	
$ unzip master.zip
$ cd vim-master
$ cd src/
$ ./configure
$ make
$ sudo make install
$ vim 

On RHEL/CentOS and Fedora

# yum  install  ncurses-devel
# wget https://github.com/vim/vim/archive/master.zip	
# unzip master.zip
# cd vim-master
# cd src/
# ./configure
# make
# sudo make install
# vim

Arch users can install the latest Vim using pacman as shown:

# pacman -S vim

For other Linux distributions, you can download and build it on your own:

Download Vim 8.2

Last but not least, if you have installed Vim, try it out and get back to us by using the feedback section below. Make any suggestions or share your experience with us and much more. We shall be delighted to get vital remarks from you.

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14 thoughts on “How to Install Latest Vim Editor in Linux Systems”

  1. The article says the given commands will install Vim 8.3, but the picture shows 8.0.3, and that was what was installed on my Mint 20.2 system.

    Please explain. How do I get 8.3?

    JL

    Reply
    • @JL,

      Actually, I didn’t change the picture in the article, but the given instructions will give you Vim 8.1 in Mint 20. Seems it will take some time to include 8.3 in the default repositories…

      Reply
  2. $ sudo apt install ncurses-dev
    $ wget https://github.com/vim/vim/archive/master.zip	
    $ unzip master.zip
    $ cd vim-master
    $ cd src/
    $ ./configure
    $ make
    $ sudo make install
    $ vim 
    

    the last line should be:

    $ ./vim
    
    Reply
  3. Hello, everyone, I install vim using this repository, this vim installs using this repository doesn’t support python. So better install from:

    $ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pi-rho/dev
    $ sudo apt-get update
    
    Reply
  4. Abhishek Soni, try doing something like this:

    mkdir $HOME/vim-build ; cp $WHERE_EVER_YOU_DOWNLOADED_IT_TO/master.zip $HOME/vim-build
    mkdir $HOME/vim-bin
    ./configure –prefix=$HOME/vim-bin
    make
    make install
    cd $HOME/vim-bin/bin
    ./vim –version | head -n 1
    ## you should see the version as being 8.0
    ## if you do not see the version you compiled, check to see if your distro’s repo’s have the same version as what you are seeing, and if so, then it is possible that you are using the command provided by the distro’s repo’s and not the one you have installed. Hope this helps.

    Reply
    • @Abhishek,

      During compilation have you received any missing package or module error? how was your installation went? could you share the screen shot?

      Reply
    • @Abhishek

      You may try out the solution provided by @Carl J Hirner above:

      mkdir $HOME/vim-build ; cp $WHERE_EVER_YOU_DOWNLOADED_IT_TO/master.zip $HOME/vim-build
      mkdir $HOME/vim-bin
      ./configure –prefix=$HOME/vim-bin
      make
      make install
      cd $HOME/vim-bin/bin
      ./vim –version | head -n 1
      ## you should see the version as being 8.0
      ## if you do not see the version you compiled, check to see if your distro’s repo’s have the same version as what you are seeing, and if so, then it is possible that you are using the command provided by the distro’s repo’s and not the one you have installed. Hope this helps.

      Reply

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