I have seen that a lot of Vim Plug-ins don't seem to have Vimballs.

Vimballs were/are basically a tarball for a plugin that vim knows how to install. They were/are thus slightly more convenient that using tar -xvf because you didn't/don't have to have to worry that the tarball had the directory structure nested in different ways ie if it started at .vim, or within the .vim directory structure, or if there was a parent folder in the tarball with the same name as the plugin etc.

I have been seeing less and less of them and none in plugins that I've seen on Github.

  • Is there an active attempt to deprecate them?
    • If so why?
  • Is this because we now have Vundle, Pathogen, etc?

1 Answer 1


The primary reason is precisely your second point, since there has been an active movement on a community level to use source control for managing plugins with the aid of plugin managers like pathogen, vundle, neobundle etc, it's become more of an easier approach to upgrading the plugins. You can also more easily control which release you would like to lock your plugin on. Also another important aspect of using this approach is that you get to isolate each plugin and keep them in their separate folders which makes dealing with them a lot more easy whether you want to upgrade them individually or remove them altogether.

Vimball approach makes doing this very hard, and hence has been seeing less adoption in the past. I don't think there was ever an explicit attempt to deprecate it, it's just more of a trend towards other better ways of managing plugins.

  • 1
    and of course, with vim8, packpath
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Dec 13, 2018 at 16:21

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