Kakoune Editor – Alternative for Vi Editor on Ubuntu

Kakoune is highly inspired by Vi therefore it looks slightly similar to experienced developers and system admins. Kakoune is a modal code editor, it binds Vi keystrokes into a text editing language. It does a great job of editing files either on a local system or a server.

Now we will observe how Kakoune is installed on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS edition. I will use Ubuntu repositories to fetch the libraries. It can also be installed from source.

Prerequisites to Install Kakoune Package

Kakoune is not required to install any dependency.

Step 1. Install Kakoune Editor on Ubuntu LTS

It is highly recommended that you should always update your system repositories. It will help you to install latest software without any issues. Follow along with the below commands to perform the installation.

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install kakoune

Install Kakoune

As soon as the packages are installed, you will be able to verify the installation as well as the presence of the application on your system.

Step 2. Verify Kakoune Installation

Kakoune is a command-line-based and lightweight application. Therefore it can only be run via CLI. At the time of writing, Kakoune does not display any version number when invoked, but it does show that it is installed. Invoke the following command to find it out.

$ kak -version

Kakoune version installed

Step 3. Launch Kakoune Editor

To launch Kakoune editor, you will have to invoke the following command to make it run.

$ kak

Start Kakoune Editor

Kakoune will begin running once you invoke the kak command. I will also introduce you to some commands that you can use to navigate through the application

Step 4. Important Kakoune Key Bindings

Following key bindings will help you to navigate through the editor.

<esc>: It will leave insert mode.

<backspace>: It will delete characters before cursors.

<del>: It will delete characters under cursors.

<left>, <right>, <up>, <down>: This will move the cursors in given direction

<home>: This key moves cursors to line begin.

<end>: This key moves cursors to the end of the line.

Using Kakoune


Step 5. Uninstall Kakoune Editor From Ubuntu 20.04

Now we will remove Kakoune from the Ubuntu system. The standard removal commands will execute very well as we installed the Kakoune editor using the Ubuntu repository.

$ sudo apt remove kakoune

Remove Kakoune


Kakoune is a robust code editor. It makes use of Vi Keys to make sure that the users do not find themselves confused.


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