I have a server with vim installed and an empty .vimrc. I open a python file and run :set filetype=python. I then try to indent a line with == and vim complains:

shell returned 2

Press ENTER or type command to continue

Then the line is replaced with

indent: Standard input:2: Error:Unexpected end of file

When I try :help =, the buffer says

E433: No tags file
E149: Sorry, no help for =
Press ENTER or type command to continue

Is there a minimum configuration needed in order for = to work?

  • 2
    See :help =. All information to be checked is there.
    – VanLaser
    Dec 10, 2015 at 16:11
  • @VanLaser Thanks for the tip, though that just furthers the mystery.
    – drs
    Dec 10, 2015 at 20:56
  • 1
    You either have a vim configuration that uses indent, or you don't have support for internal indenting with = in Vim (which means, it has to use an external indent program). But, in this way, you seem to loose the ability to only indent a line (probably indent wants an entire file, a valid/complete text as input). Reference: stackoverflow.com/a/19590619/5000478. Also, even if .vimrc is empty, it's still possible that a system-wide vimrc is used/read. Try starting vim as vim -u ~/.vimrc and check how = works (is it still relying on indent?).
    – VanLaser
    Dec 10, 2015 at 21:14
  • 1
    And this is the help your vim should have displayed: pastebin.com/jaCTFB6k Perhaps you could install a "normal" vim version on that server?
    – VanLaser
    Dec 10, 2015 at 23:55
  • I'm not sure how to solve your question, but at least ":help =" ought to be run. So i suggest you reinstall vim!
    – navylover
    Dec 13, 2015 at 8:11

1 Answer 1


The warning comes from indent. You may got same warning in command line from indent when feeding some incomplete source lines.

And check your vim's equalprg/formatprg setting if it's global or specific on certain filetype. I never tried indent on python code.

Here is my vim setting for c/cpp filetype, with indent's warning surpressed,

autocmd FileType c,cpp set equalprg=indent\ 2>/dev/null\ -gnu;true

2>/dev/null surpress any warning messages from indent

;true return 0(success) to make vim happy

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