My intention is to POSIX-ly write one generalized function for running various text editors I use for different purposes through sudoedit, i.e. editing files as root safely. Safely = for instance, if a power loss occurs during the file edit; another example could be lost SSH connection, etc.

Originally, I had these Bash functions defined for this purpose in my .bash_aliases file:

function sucode
    export SUDO_EDITOR='/usr/bin/code --wait'
    sudoedit "$@"
function susubl
    export SUDO_EDITOR='/opt/sublime_text/sublime_text --wait'
    sudoedit "$@"
function suxed
    export SUDO_EDITOR='/usr/bin/xed --wait'
    sudoedit "$@"

Since yesterday, I'm trying to generalize that solution for other Linux users to be able to take advantage of it. Momentary peek:

# Text editing as root; The proper way through `sudoedit`.
    [ "${#}" -lt 3 ] && { printf '%s\n' 'sudoedit_internal(): Invalid number of arguments.' 1>&2; return; }
    editor_path=$( command -v "${1}" )
    [ -x "${editor_path}" ] || { printf '%s\n' "sudoedit_internal(): The editor path ${editor_path} does not exist on this system." 1>&2; return; }
    shift 2
    env SUDO_EDITOR="${editor_path} ${editor_wait_option}" sudoedit "${@}"
suvi()   { sudoedit_internal vi   '' "${@}"; }
sunano() { sudoedit_internal nano '' "${@}"; }
sucode() { sudoedit_internal code -w "${@}"; }
susubl() { sudoedit_internal subl -w "${@}"; }
suxed()  { sudoedit_internal xed  -w "${@}"; }

These 5 editors I use. Please take that as an example only.

As I should not update this question any further, you can find the up-to-date version of this script snippet in my Unix & Linux Answer.


1 Answer 1


It's good form to return non-zero on error. The not-optional option is a little ugly and an environment variable may work better.

Some extraneous syntax can go:

  • 1 before >&2 is implied
  • {} around unsubstituted dereferences doesn't add anything
  • echo is an alias for printf "%s\n"
  • testing for error instead of success allows test && echo && return without braces
  • command -v tests validity for you; no need to test again
  • you've moved the complexity into a function already; reward yourself by using aliases to invoke it
    [ $# -lt 2 ] && echo "sudoedit_internal(): Invalid number of arguments." >&2 && return 1
    ! command -v "$1" >/dev/null && echo "sudoedit_internal(): The editor $1 does not exist on this system." >&2 && return 1
    editor="$1"; shift 
    SUDO_EDITOR="$editor $opt" sudoedit "$@"

for ed in vi nano       ; do alias su$ed="opt=   sudoedit_internal $ed"; done
for ed in code subl xed ; do alias su$ed="opt=-w sudoedit_internal $ed"; done

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