John Carmack describes his programming setup

Originally published at: John Carmack describes his programming setup | Boing Boing


God yes! I’m so tired of the “you’re not a real programmer if you can’t code in vi” attitude. Of course I can code in vi, but I’d be wasting time manually doing a bunch of housekeeping that a decent IDE can do for me instead.

No matter how fast I can type git commit -m "blah blah" && git push, I can click the “Commit and Push” button a lot faster, and with fewer typos. Plus the IDE will helpfully expose obscure settings that I might have to bury somewhere deep in a makefile, and would require a separate trip through a man page to rediscover. A good IDE is not really a hand-holder for beginners, it’s a turbo button for the experienced developer.

Once you know how a thing is done, like source code management, automate it and let the machines do the grunt work. Automating trivial tasks is half of why we write applications in the first place!


Mostly agree, if you come to it that way, first learning how it works, then optimizing, but I have worked with so many people who have no idea what to do when the magic fails.

I’m agnostic, I’ll use any IDE I need. Will open Vi with no complaint if I’m shelled into some machine with no dev environment and I keep emacs around to do the handy text manipulations on large amounts of data I need to do off and on. I do really enjoy some of the niftier plugins for VSCode which is the IDE I’m spending my time in lately (Codespaces), and really enjoyed Eclipse and especially IntelliJ for Java.


It’s always refreshing to hear someone unquestionably better than you admit that they too make mistakes …on a regular & continuous basis, no less!

I’ve never looked at someone’s super sparse & uncommented code and thought “what an elegant wonder they are”

…far happier to see useful comments about failed alternatives and even the occasional one-liner monstrosity commented:
% please no look…I’m sorry


I miss the good old days of pointless flame wars about which IDEs are better. The stakes were so low and the emotions were so high.


The vi fanatics (usually younger) at my last job drove me crazy. Always ranting about how superior their editor was.

I mean obviously Emacs is the superior environment :wink: (Yes I am an emacs wierdo, also a nano fan)

But yes once anything gets beyond a short script or quick edit, I’ll take an IDE please.


I find gvim nice for small programs, but for serious work on large programs KDevelop is my favourite, especially since I work with Qt stuff. It helps a lot when program is too big for a single person to understand. I’m contributing to a Qt/C++/JS open source project with about 1 million lines of code, and using just vim would make things too difficult to comprehend for me.

1 Like

I am old and have old-skool habits, but I still use emacs daily. Anyway, I am usually coding and testing remote shelled into a server, and there’s not even a GUI environment there.


Good grief. Thanks for the reminder! I almost forgot the required post.


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.