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Farewell to JOVE

·2 mins

For decades, I have been an Emacs user. I started with Gosling Emacs when I worked at a lab while a student at the University of Maryland in the mid 80’s. Later as a Duke graduate student, I moved to using GNU Emacs (with some code to make it match the key bindings my fingers were trained to use). The computers of that era were much less powerful than our laptops today, so firing up Emacs to make quick edits on small files wasted a lot of time.

One day I stumbled across a tiny version of Emacs, called Jonathan’s Own Version of Emacs, or JOVE. It took a little bit of time to configure it to match the key bindings my hands were used to. It started up so quickly that it became my go-to for writing commit messages and fixing small config files. I still used the full Emacs for writing code.

I’ve continued to use JOVE for the same purposes until recently. Starting GNU Emacs is now pretty quick on my laptop and servers, and there’s no need for a tiny version of it.

Recently on FreeBSD, the audit system has started to report that JOVE is now deprecated as a package. The note they give for the reason is that there have been up upstream updates to JOVE in 23 years, and nobody is stepping up to maintain the package for security needs. Given that my use for it has waned in the recent years, I don’t see the point to keeping it up. Farewell to an editor that I used for many years!