Text Editing in Ubuntu Cloud Environment Within a Powershell Environment

Sorry about the headline; it's mostly a bunch of keywords to help it be found when I need it again.

The Problem

I have an Ubuntu container in a cloud environment managed by Virtuozzo (on Reclaim Cloud). I access it either using the built-in SSH Console or by using ssh within PowerShell. I need to set the crontab, which means I need to use the built-in editor in the Ubuntu environment.

The problem is that the Ubuntu has minimal text-editing capabilities, and when I try to edit either way I just get a blank or janky screen in which nothing appears to work. I tried changing the editor using 'select-editor' but it displayed nothing. So I couldn't edit crontab.

The Solution

Rebuilding terminal editing support in the Ubuntu container.

First, logged in as root, I installed vim, using the following commands:

    apt-get update

    apt-get install vim

The first refreshed the apt-get function, and the second does the actual install. Instructions here.

Then, I ran select-editor:


and this time it gave me options. I selected vim.basic. Instructions here.

The other option is nano. Maybe there's a way to configure nano so it also works, but I don't know what it is. This wasn't enough, however. It opens the file OK, but the arrow keys don't work at all. I need to set the terminal type. 

I go to my home directory - for me, working as root, it was /root but for you it will be your user home directory. Change to your home directory, whatever it is:

    cd /~

Then create a .vimrc file

    touch .vimrc

Then open the editor to that file:

    vi .vimrc

Now you're editing the file. But your editor doesn't work! We'll set the terminal inside the editor:

         press 'escape'


    :set term=builtin_ansi

and hit enter. You should see the display of your file change. Instructions here.

Now you can edit your .vimrc file. 



to insert text (here are all the instructions for using vi, in case it's new to you). Then insert the following text:

    set term=builtin_ansi

and press enter.

To save the file in vi, type 'escape', then:


which writes and quits. Instructions here.

Now vi will work properly and you can edit the crontab. Use your arrow keys to move your cursor, the i command to insert text, and esc when you're done and want to save or move the cursor again.

While I'm here, here's a great set of instructions for testing and setting up cron.



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