As a creature of habit, I fall for an editor and can never imagine using something else. In the VAX days there was EDT, which if memory serves was replaced by the even better VPU. On Ultrix we ran a pretty nice editor simply called e from Rand Corporation. Then there was the love affair with emacs, and finally for the last 30 years vi.
Well with my latest server, a Debian 12 machine, I was having trouble with insert mode, specifically, inserting text from my Windows clipboard. Never had problems before….
Well for some reason, if you want to insert text from the clipboard, you now use <CTRL.>-<SHIFT>V in command mode. Well, at least on Windows 11 running WSL 2 that seems to work. I now realize that doesn’t work from Windows 10 with WSL. I had better figure this out soon…
Windows 10 running WSL
The terminal type (check the TERM environment variable) is set toxterm-color256. I tried pasting any and all registers which is the standard thing you would do if you use the standard Internet advice. None of it worked for me. I finally realized on my own that – and this harkens back to my old days with the beloved VAX 780 – that if I set the terminal type to vt100 all was good! Seriously. Back in the day we had physical VT100 terminals. Well, before that I think there was a VT52? Then maybe a VT102. VT202 was a big upgrade. Anyway, initially I added the following line to my .bashrc file:
and now I can insert clipboard text the way I always have (mouse right-click) in vi insert mode. This kludge was how we fixed a lot of terminal display issues in the old days. But now I see display from top is messed up! Probably other curses-based apps as well. So two steps forward, one step back. So now what I’ve done is removed that line from .bashrc and put the following lines in my .bash_aliases file:
# DrJ kludge to get vi to work and keep top working alias top='export TERM=xterm-256color;\top' alias vi='export TERM=vt100;\vi'
That \top harkens back to an old linux convention where a command preceded by \ invokes a program but ignores defined aliases for that program.
I have offered one possible solution to the can’t insert text from the clipboard problem into my vi: set the TERM environment variable to the old-fashioned vt100. Now I can once again right-click while in insert mode to paste in clipboard text.
This was a very vexing issue for a creature of habit such as me!
References and related
This whole issue came up only when I switched from CentOS 8 to Debian 12 as my back-end server. Believe me, Debian 12 is so superior in so many ways this little setback would never make a material impact in that decision. Here’s the write-up of my upgrade.