Introduction to Ed

Ed is a line-oriented text editor. It is used to create, display, modify and otherwise manipulate text files, both interactively and via shell scripts. Ed isn't something which many people use. It's described here because it can be used by the patch program if you encounter an ed-based patch file. This happens rarely because diff-based patches are preferred these days.



Ed determines character boundaries incorrectly in multibyte locales. See the Breaks Multibyte Characters section of the Locale Related Issues page for a more general discussion of this problem. Use of Ed in installation instructions for BLFS packages such as teTeX-3.0 is not a problem, as BLFS instructions never use Ed to modify a file containing non-ASCII characters.

Package Information

Additional Downloads

User Notes: http://wiki.linuxfromscratch.org/blfs/wiki/ed

Installation of Ed

Ed normally uses the mktemp function to create temporary files in /tmp, but this function contains a vulnerability (see the section on Temporary Files at http://en.tldp.org/HOWTO/Secure-Programs-HOWTO/avoid-race.html). Apply the following patch to make Ed use mkstemp instead, a secure way to create temporary files:

patch -Np1 -i ../ed-0.2-mkstemp-2.patch

Install Ed by running the following commands:

./configure --prefix=/usr --exec-prefix="" &&

To test the results, issue: make check.

Now, as the root user:

make install

Command Explanations

--exec-prefix="": This forces the programs to be installed into the /bin directory. Having the programs available there is useful in the event of the /usr partition being unavailable.


Installed Programs: ed and red
Installed Libraries: None
Installed Directories: None

Short Descriptions


is a line-oriented text editor.


is a restricted ed—it can only edit files in the current directory and cannot execute shell commands.

Last updated on 2007-02-14 17:40:25 -0600