This wouldn't be FOSS-Picks if we didn't look at least one text editor, and this month it's nedit-ng's turn. What makes nedit-ng special is that it's a complete and faithful port of the Nirvana Editor (NEdit) v5.6. This is an editor that's been around since the dawn of time, or X windows, depending on which came first, and it still has a popular following because of the austerity of its early-90s user interface and its C-like macro language. The last update to the original version was in 2014, when version 5.6 was released, and it's this version for which nedit-ng is built to be a drop-in replacement. The main reason for this port was to fix some long standing bugs in the original, some of which reportedly resulted in a crash. But the new editor also updates the old visuals without losing the Motif-like simplicity. It's built using Qt 5, which can look just like Motif if you let it, but by default looks a lot better. It will integrate with your desktop theme, for example, and the colors and syntax highlighting don't look out of place on a modern desktop. The new version even uses anti-aliased fonts.

It's what many people would call a distraction-free editor, because it doesn't waste space with modern additions like an object viewer or dependency manager. It's clean and crisp, with split views, line numbering, simple statistics, and tabs appearing if you need them. There's also some excellent syntax highlighting to make your code easier to read. In fact, the syntax highlighting is the product of some carefully crafted regular expressions, which means you can edit them yourself if you've got the skills. It's just like moving from Vi to Vim, which must be exactly what the authors planned.

Project Website

Edit text like it's 1992 with the complete rewrite of the Nirvana Editor.

Internet blocker


This sentence is being typed with the help of two random Internet searches, one YouTube video intermission, and a brief chat with a remote acquaintance. All thanks to reasonably fast and cheap broadband. And this is how most sentences are now being written, and not just on these pages. One side effect of pervasive Internet that most of us could never have anticipated is its ability to suck the life out of attention spans – thirty seconds work, thirty seconds checking social networks. But it doesn't have to be this way, and like any good food diet, cutting back on fatty food or distractions is most effective when there's some third-party oversight. Chomper is that oversight.

Chomper is basically a Python script that blocks access to a group of Internet sites taken from a blacklist. It can also enable access for only a specific amount of time, and mix up times, blacklists, and whitelists according to the profile you want to use for whatever length of time you want to use it. All of this is done through an easy to understand YAML configuration file. Create a social profile and block Facebook, for example, or just enable access to your GitHub page. It works far better than a dynamically updated hosts file, which often accomplishes little more than hiding the cookies in a different drawer. The project's readme also offers excellent advice for Linux users with root access for enabling "hardcore mode." This is really just good advice for running Chomper – set up an admin account, give it an impossibly long password, lock this away somewhere on paper, and give this account permission to run the script. With that done, you won't be able to stop Chomper until the time is up, and that's when Chomper works best.

Project Website

Go on an Internet diet and get your productive life back with Chomper.

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