Vim vs Neovim: Functionalities and Strengths

Linux offers “Vim”, a frequently used and well-known command line-based text editor. Most Linux distributions support it due to its user-friendly work environment and enhanced features. But it comes with some issues due to which its latest update is designed, which is “Neovim”. 

Keeping this in view, this post explains the difference between “Vim” and “Neovim” based on their functionalities and strengths.

What is Vim Editor?

Vim is an open-source, highly configurable text editor used to create and edit all files containing textual information. It is also referred to as an improved version of the “Vi” and abbreviated as “Vi Improved”. It is a model text editor that supports different modes and bindings.

Install Vim Editor on Linux

The following commands are used to install Vim text editor on the desired Linux distributions:

$ sudo yum install vim                      #For RHEL/CentOS
$ sudo dnf install vim                      #For Fedora
$ sudo apt install vim                      #For Ubuntu/Debian-Based

The “vim” editor can be easily launched containing the following command-based interface:

$ vim

What is Neovim Editor?

Neovim is an updated version of the Vi improved “Vim” text editor with more features. It is designed to make the Vim editor reliable, simpler, and easy to use and manage. It is recommended for users who want to customize Vim with new plugins, convenient GUI architecture, best embedding support, and much more.

Install Neovim Editor on Linux

Run the specified command in the terminal to install the “Neovim” editor on various Linux distributions:

$ sudo yum install neovim                      #For RHEL/CentOS
$ sudo dnf install neovim                      #For Fedora
$ sudo apt install neovim                      #For Ubuntu/Debian-Based

Launch it after its installation is completed having interface like this:

$ nvim

Difference Between Vim and Neovim Based on Functionalities and Strengths 

The “Vim” and the “Neovim” text editors are interchangeable based on their functionalities and strengths, which are sorted below:

Terms Neovim Text EditorVim Text Editor
PurposeNeovim is the latest update of Vim to fix the core issues of the Vim text editor.Vim is the next generation of Vi text editors with rich features to edit text files.
Interface Neovim supports a powerful GUI architecture to perform editing tasks.Vim uses a terminal-based shell environment with no graphical user interface support.
Plugins SupportNeovim supports highly flexible or extensible plugins communicating asynchronously with the vim text editor.Vim supports limited plugins that are restrictive.
CommunityNeovim development is discussed on GitHub.Vim editor development happens in the mailing list.
Directory LocationNeovim keeps in the “XDG base directory,” and all of its configuration files are stored in the  “~/.config/nvim directory”.The Vim configuration file is hard coded into the “~/.vimrc home directory” while the user-specific file is stored in the “~/.vim/ directory”.
ProtocolsSupport LSP (Language Server Protocol) that adds useful languages to the codes.Does not Support the LSP.
Cross-PlatformLinux, Windows, and macOS / OS XLinux, Windows, Mac, use gVIM


In Linux, the “Neovim” editor comes with rich features such as additional “Plugins”, “Directory Location”, “LSP” support, and much more. While “Vim” is the update of the “vi” text editor, simply designed as a mode-based editor to build emails, write text files, create source code, and manage configuration files.  This post has provided a deep insight into “Vim” vs “Neovim” based on their functionalities and strengths.