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FTE Text Editor (KFTE -- KDE version) --  first written by Marco Macek, who was at the time a Slovenian computer-science student. He worked on this powerful and configurable editor for up to 1996 and then abandoned this project. It was practically dead project from 1998 until Nov 2000, but then resurrected on SourceForge and was active for a year. Then it died again.

Macro Masek later developed a windows manager called IceWM. See Yet Another Window Manager Issue 21. Icewm is in large part inspired by the OS/2 Workplace Shell interface. IceWM, written by Marco Macek and enhanced by Mathias Hasselmann, is a small, lightweight window manager that is nonetheless feature-rich. It supports multiple desktops or workspaces, can be used without a mouse, supports (and comes with several) themes and does a nice job of mimicking the style of that other OS.

IceWM is a stacking window manager for the X Window System graphical infrastructure, written by Marko Maček. It was coded from scratch in C++ and is released under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License.[1] It is relatively lightweight in terms of memory and CPU usage, and comes with themes that allow it to imitate the GUI of Windows 95, OS/2, Motif, and other graphical user interfaces.[1] IceWM is meant to excel in look and feel while being lightweight and customizable.

IceWM can be configured from plain text files[1] stored in a user's home directory, making it easy to customize and copy settings. IceWM has an optional, built-in taskbar with menu, tasks display, network and CPU meters, mail check and configurable clock. Official support for GNOME and KDE menus was previously available as a separate package. In recent IceWM versions, support for them is embedded. External graphical programs for editing configuration[1] and menu exist.

The Easy mode default desktop of the Asus Eee PC uses IceWM.[2]

The latest versions are a nice PC-style text editor with folding, undo, three types of blocks, syntax highlighting (HTML, Perl, C, etc.). People interested in folding can join the project.

By: Tanktalus ( Darin )
 RE: Is this really alive? [ reply ] 
2000-Oct-13 15:10

I've tried to contact the developer a few times. When he was back in school, I got responses fairly quickly. Nowadays, however, nothing.

I've made a number of changes which make parts of it more usable - even fixed a problem specific to AIX (where I use FTE alot!). I spent yesterday creating the bmp's and icon so I could recompile it on OS/2. A few additions/fixes to some of the configs ... all this stuff that could be used by others. Plus OS/2 binaries with all changes...


By: Tanktalus ( Darin )
 RE: Is this really alive? [ reply ] 
2000-Oct-16 19:20

Well, it seems that CaptMark has given me developer access - you may (or may not) have noticed that I've started adding things - mostly bug fixes - into the code. New features ... come later. Bugs are easy to fix. Just find the offending code and change it. Features require a deeper understanding of the code. Maybe CaptMark will join in the fun later - or at least let us know what he's up to.

(He gave me access without actually sending me email or anything.)


FTE is a programmers' text editor with a few tricks up its sleeve that you won't find in most editors. The main thing that distinguishes FTE is right in its name: it folds. If that does not mean anything to you, keep reading and we'll give you some examples and illustrations. Other handy features FTE gives you are: state-machine based syntax highlighting; custom modes for many languages (including HTML, Perl, Java, etc); configurable key-bindings (with nice CUA-style defaults); a number of subtle programming aids; and pretty much all the miscellaneous features a programmer expects to have handy in an editor.

Who is FTE for, exactly? For me, the biggest "selling point" for FTE was that it runs on the three platforms I use most, and can share a configuration between them. But I am fairly uncommon in using OS/2 most of the time; it is a lot easier to find a cross-platform editor if you use only Win32 and Linux (and if you use MacOS, BeOS, or other platforms, you have some porting work if you want to run FTE). But even for two-platform compatibility, FTE occupies a middle ground without much else directly comparable. FTE does  a lot more than most shareware/freeware editors, even compared to those that target programmers. On the other hand, FTE neither gives you all the power, nor requires all the effort and commitment of emacs or vi. Most specifically, although it is quite configurable, FTE does not have any builtin scripting language the way emacs--or some high-end commercial editors--have.

On the negative side, although FTE has less arcana to it than vi or emacs, it still has more than I think it should. To configure FTE, you have to mess around with text-based configuration files, rather than use friendly configuration screens like you would find in most commercial programmers' editors. Also, like much free software the documentation tends too much towards "accurate, but not friendly."


If you haven't used an editor that does folding, you really just do not yet understand how useful it is. The idea behind folding is that the text you are editing is often composed of conceptual blocks that you want to be reminded of, but don't necessarily want to have to scroll through. For example, you might want to see all the methods of a class on screen at once, but not necessarily the whole implementation of each method (and if you did show the implementation, it wouldn't all fit on one screen). But even more than programming code, one thing that benefits hugely  from folding is HTML. Here is an example, based on the FTE documentation:

<H2>SaveFolds</H2>  (0:10)
<H2>Colorizer</H2>  [0]
    Specifies a previously declared <A
    HREF="#colorizer">colorize</A> mode to use for syntax
    highlighting in this editing mode.
<H2>Loading files in various formats</H2>  (0:43)

The first and last line here are color-highlighted within FTE itself. The parenthesis (also color-highlighted to stand out) after the folded lines tell you quickly that, e.g., the "SaveFolds" section has 10 lines in it, and is a top-level fold (it might contain sub-folds). It takes just a couple keystrokes to fold away "Colorizer" and display the "SaveFolds" body.

If you happen to need to look at the same file in a different text editor, the folds are indicated by comments appropriate to the language being used, for example:

<H2>Loading files in various formats</H2> <!--fold00-->

It adds a few extra characters, but doesn't interfere with the actual function of the file outside of FTE.

Support of ctags

See This is a way of creating automated hypertext links between, for example, function calls and function definitions (even across files).

Other nice features

There are some nuggets buried in FTE that you might not even notice at first. The modes are pretty obvious. Most of them just set up syntax highlighting and indentation; but a few (like HTML) add some extra menus to insert templates (the HTML mode has most tags in the menu). You can also make your own modes with a little bit of work (for a Python mode, download ). In no particular order, here are some more subtle nuggets:

Lots of stuff you might expect: block indenting, entab/detab, case changes on text block, sort lines, column marking/copying, call to external programs (such as compiling), regex searching, screen splitting. A lot of this stuff is expected in a good editor, and nothing obvious is missing from FTE.


FTE does a nice job at a good number of things, and is especially a good choice for users who want a consistent editor across platforms. A few rough edges make FTE more work to configure than it should be, but the learning curve on FTE is still comparatively mild. You can get a lot of power and convenience--free of cost, and in an open-source spirit--by selecting FTE as your text editor.

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Old News ;-)

[Dec 16, 2009] there is a precompiled ubuntu package for FTE

FTE- A Folding Editor From the OS-2 World.

FTE is a multi-platform editor, available for Linux, OS/2, DOS, and Windows; support Exuberant ctags. See a short review of an earlier version in issue 7 of LG.

Marco Macek, a Slovenian computer-science student, had been developing this powerful and configurable editor for up to 1996 and then abandoned this project.

Main features:

  • Multilevel Undo/redo
  • Real best Dos-style textmode edit tradition with multilevel menus.
  • Multiple windows/multiple files editing.
  • Support linking of windows (the ability to edit file in several windows).
  • 3 types of blocks (flexible operations on blocks and the ability to select block until certain delimiters).
  • Cut and past in best DOS traditions (including a very rare in Unix world ability to select block with Shift-arrow operation !)
  • No ability to process buffer with external commands (not yet)

There is also GUI-based implementation -- KFTE -- a KDE port of FTE text editor. This version aims only at providing a KDE GUI, and the core of the editor is unchanged.

Latest source snapshot

Release 0.46b5 -- the last version by Marko Macek

Recommended Links

PRODUCT REVIEW -- Folding Text Editor (FTE) --

eFTE HomePage

FTE Text Editor Get FTE Text Editor at

FTE is a Text Mode text editor for xterm sessions. Color syntax highlighting
for C/C++, REXX, HTML, IPF, PERL, Ada, Pascal, TEX. Multiple file/window
editing, Column blocks, configurable menus and keyboard bindings, mouse
support, undo/redo, regular expression search and replace, folding,
background compiler execution.

This is the snapshot after some very major changes. You need to compile this yourself. New features include internal CVS support, new colors, and many new commands.



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