ne: lightweight text editor

ne is for users who want a light but functional editor which can work from the console on low bandwidth connection. ne feels like any regular GUI based text editor. To add to its credit, ne also supports regular keyboard shortcuts desktop users are used to. ne uses the ncurses library.


  • Comes is a few KBs
  • Compiles easily due to minimal dependencies. Available on all major Linux platforms. Support MAC and Windows (with Cygwin) too.
  • Has standard keystrokes (e.g., copy is CTRL-C)
  • Uses little bandwidth. Ideal for email, editing through phone line (or slow GSM/GPRS/UMTS) connections.
  • three user interfaces: control keystrokes, command line, and menus. Keystrokes and menus are completely configurable
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Full support for UTF-8 files, including multiple-column characters
  • The number of documents and clips, the dimensions of the display, and the file/line lengths are limited only by the integer size of the machine
  • Simple scripting language where scripts can be generated via an idiotproof record/play method
  • Unlimited undo/redo capability (can be disabled with a command)
  • Automatic preferences system based on the extension of the file name being edited
  • Automatic completion of prefixes using words in documents as dictionary
  • A file requester with completion features for easy file retrieval
  • Extended regular expression search and replace a la emacs and vi
  • Very compact memory model: easily load and modify very large files (similar editors)
  • Editing of binary files

While trying it out, a feature that we found lacking in ne is auto-indentation. It would be great to have it added so that ne can be used as a regular programmer’s editor.


To install ne on Ubuntu, run:

$ sudo apt-get install ne

Webpage: ne


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