I was first introduced to with HP-UX 5.0 with HP9000/550 (back in 1985).

I became familiar with after adopting Ubuntu 6.06 (back in 2006) to cast aside MS Windows forever.

With my pending adoption of Ubuntu MATE 22.04, I am looking primarily at , with possible adaptation as /. I am very comfortable with Vim, but am looking for a proper layer for that tool of choice (want to do some for CAD, for personal medical), and it seems from what I have come across that Neovim is the way to go (or as some have said, the way of the future). (I DO NOT want answers discussing it here, but have posted separately on suitability of GNAT Studio for Python)

I want to make sure that I don't jump out of the frying pan into the fire.

Are there any gotchas that someone evaluating such a transition needs to know before making the move? Such as

  • things that would "break" what are normal practice from within Vim,
  • things that are not portable from Vim to Neovim,
  • things that cannot be migrated as-is,
  • things that need "tweeks" to migrate,
  • things that need to be "translated" to a new language but would still work in Neovim,
  • things that need to be "adapted" via lua because the functionality cannot be migrated as-is to neovim,
  • things that require a new skillset (more than ; I don't currently know VimScript; trying to decide learning one or the other),
  • things that need a major change in mind-set of the approach to using Vim,
  • basically anything beyond just new installation appearance personalization/customization.

Thank you all for your inputs.

  • To OP: be careful about neovim "distributions" like lunarvim, spacevim, astrovim, etc. I feel from having played with them they are aimed more at non-vimmers switching to neovim than vimmers switching to neovim. You may find their alterations to some of the default options to be grating. 2 days ago
  • 1
    If I may, I would suggest that for your Collected Community Response, you include the description of what is lacking/broken, along with the specific sequence to follow to reproduce the failed condition. That way, there can be no basis for rejecting the claims being stated, and all can independantly re-confirm those claims. yesterday
  • 4
    I dispute categorically the labelling of my question as opinion-based. Answers may be opinion-driven, but there is NO opinion in the original question. I also made another coment where I asked for specific references to be documented for reproducing claimed responses. How can this not be more fact-based? Please re-open. yesterday
  • Even more important, the most voted answer is written in such a way that cannot be described as opinion-based, which means that the question doesn't encourage opinion-based answers. The reason for closing this question should be stated clearly so that it can be modified. Maybe just remove "not widely known" and structure the question in terms of "drawbacks of switching to neovim"?
    – r_31415
  • I agree this is not an opinion-based question, as it focuses on objective differences. I do think it has the potential to attract opinionated answers (e.g. MDeBusk's answer probably falls in that category), but that's not really a problem with the question as such. yesterday

2 Answers 2


Neovim has most of the feature of Vim, but not all of them.

Here are a non-exhautive list of features missing in Neovim:

  • not yet support for --remote-silent.
  • dropped support for interactive external command (!).
  • dropped support for encrypted files (via cryptmethod).
  • no direct integration with the system clipboard (but you can use external "providers").

Remote Silent

The --remote-silent flag lets you make sure you have only one instance of gVim running when opening documents from the file browser.

Interactive External Command

In Vim when running an external command via the ! modifier you get a prompt where the user can interact with the program.

In Neovim that has been dropped. The ! still exist and the program is launched but the user can't interact with the program anymore.

A typical example is :w !sudo tee used to write a file that requires administrative rights. The trick requires the user to enter a password but Neovim is not anymore letting the user do.


Vim can encrypt file:

  • Using the :X command associate a password to a buffer.
  • Buffer associated to a password are saved encrypted (:w).
  • When reading (:e) an encrypted file the user is prompted for the password to decode the file.

This encryption/decryption is not supported by Neovim.

  • Neovim has not yet support for --remote-silent That's not true. --remote-silent is supported in 0.8, at least (and it was probably there starting from 0.7.2 or so).
    – Matt
    2 days ago
  • @Matt thanks for the hint! I tried to make working with version 0.7 and I have failed. I'll give another try with the new stable release 0.7.2 and adapt the answer accordingly. yesterday
  • @Matt, I have tried the --remote-silent option with nvim-qt.exe and I get a popup saying that --remote-silent option is not supported. Do you have any idea of what I'm doing wrong? yesterday
  • Must specify server.
    – Matt
  • @Matt, my formulation is indeed not correct. To fulfill my wish to have only one instance I need a script that verify that one instance is already running if not start one otherwise determine which instance exist and connect to it and probably make sure the focus moves to that server. Do you know if such script exist? Anyhow it is much more complex than for gVim don't you think? yesterday

The biggest thing that's keeping me from switching is that I haven't yet learned lua. If I'm going to switch, I don't want to do it halfway. I currently share vimrc between vim 9 and neovim and I had to make a few changes to it so it'd work with both.

There's also the idea I have that neovim isn't "done". I know no software under active development is truly "done", and no work of art is ever considered by the artist to be "done", but it seems to me that neovim is more of a moving target than I'd care to work with right now. Compared to vim, that is to say.

I'm not a programmer, though. If I were, I likely would have switched already. I've heard too many good things from programmers about neovim to think otherwise.

  • 1
    I consider myself a programmer, but even though I would be happy to use Lua for other things, I don't have any interest in using Lua as a configuration language for neovim.
    – r_31415
  • @r_31415 Before bash scripting, the last language I bothered getting more than a casual skill level in was Rexx, and we see where that is now. Lua looks interesting to me, and neovim is an excuse to eventually learn it. :)
    – MDeBusk

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