You forgot to mention some history of Vim... and it's predecessor, vi.
You see, vi was built when terminals themselves weren't quite good enough and the good ones you could run Emacs on were expensive. Yes, I'm talking the DEC VT52's. The ones with good cursor addressing and dedicated commands to do non-destructive movement. Expensive buggers.
No, vi was built for brain-damaged terminals like the Wyse 50. The ones where up and down were defined but left was BACKSPACE and right was SPACE. So putting in a dedicated non-edit mode was worth while back then.
I'm not old enough to have regularly used a Wyse 50. But I'm old enough that I had to work through their legacy at a government transit agency. Yes, I had to deal with a terminal emulation of a Wyse 50 because all the old software was specific to the Wyse 50, and one of the old coders was adamant on using a custom TERMCAP even if the Linux version was even better. The text editors you had to use got cut down to two because of the mandate to use Wyse 50: Vim, or ed.
Needless to say, I'm in private industry now, and I hear that said agency is moving to a different payroll system which would cut out the need for the Linux setup.
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