Beaver text editor.

Raspberry Pi Using Light Weight Beaver Text Editor

by Lewis Loflin

Beaver is my text editor of choice for Linux. I've compiled and used Beaver for Raspberry Pi, and other lightweight Debian based systems, and Slackware. Beaver is flexible.

"Features like syntax highlighting for several languages (C/C++, Html, Perl, Bash, Javascript, Java2, PHP, Python), baseline converter, a color picker and many more! Everything you expect from an advanced editor, while still being lightweight."

Beaver fight software "bloat". I discovered Beaver in Damn Small Linux. Visit the Beaver Website

The project has been dormant for the past several years but has been revived. To quote the official website:

What is Beaver? Beaver is a recursive acronym for Beaver is an Early AdVanced EditoR. It is intended for Linux and other Unices (even Windows eventually). It is licensed under the GNU GPL v.2 and intended to be lightweight, but full of useful features for programming, from website editing to coding.

It is based upon the GTK+ 2 toolkit, supports many languages through config files and offers functions such as automatic indentation, completion and correction, as well as syntax highlighting. It even has its own mini macro language.

Why choose Beaver? We hear this question often, but actually there are quite a lot of reasons to choose Beaver:

Beaver fights bloat. Beaver is committed to the idea of lean and powerful software. Why should an editor be fat and slow if it could also be lightweight and fast? Our source is written entirely in C to maintain the smallest footprint possible. We are committed to the small and micro distribution community.

Beaver has staying power. To date it has survived two different administrative change-overs, and it remains the text-editor of choice in some of the world's smallest Linux distributions.

In the case of Raspberry Pi Beaver isn't bloated like Geany and has more useful features than Leafpad.

Installing Beaver

There are two ways to install Beaver on your Linux system. One can download and install a package or compile from source. I have compiled three packages for Debian, Raspberry Pi, and Slackware as listed below. (They only work on their respective systems.)

While one can download via a web browser or this can be done from the command line:

pi@PiBang[~]: wget
pi@PiBang[~]: sudo dpkg -i beaver_0.4.1-1_armhf.deb

The alternative is to compile from source download the package from the official website and do the following. Before one compiles make sure gtk+-2 and intltool is installed. If not using Xarchiver (see the section on tarballs below) then do the following:

pi@PiBang[~]: tar -xjvf beaver-0.4.0.tar.bz2
pi@PiBang[~]: cd beaver-0.4.0
pi@PiBang[~]: ./configure
pi@PiBang[~]: make
pi@PiBang[~]: sudo make install

If all went well type beaver and the it should open. Add to your window manager menu.

Quick Look at Tar Files

Many files in Linux come as compressed files often called tarballs. One can use Xarchiver that comes stock with Raspberry Pi and Pibang in your window manager.

But that requires that Openbox, JWM, LXDE, etc. are working and Xarchiver won't work if they don't even from a command line. Let's learn to use the terminal and command line. Note the following examples:

tar -xvf myfile.tar
tar -xzvf myfile.tar.gz
tar -xjvf myfile.tar.bz2

-x : Extract a tar ball.
-v : Verbose output or show progress while extracting files.
-f : Specify an archive or a tarball filename.
-j : Decompress and extract the contents of the compressed archive created by bzip2 program (tar.bz2 extension).
-z : Decompress and extract the contents of the compressed archive created by gzip program (tar.gz extension).

Thus as you saw for Beaver this created a new folder beaver-0.4.0 with a dozen or so small separate files.


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