What happened to the sandy text editor?

The suckless text editor seems to have gone missing

The sandy text editor is an open source project from the team over at suckless.org, which make painfully minimal1 alternatives for popular tools and applications for unix-ish platforms.

But perhaps the tense being used here is wrong. For quite some time, sandy, suckless’ minimal vi(m) replacement, has been unavailable. The git repository is offline; the root cgit instance returning the following “No repositories found” message:

Of course, it would be senseless to jump to conclusions. After all, it’s more likely that this is a misbehaving web server or a misconfigured cgit instance that’s causing sandy to be unavailable. Or is it?

We attempted to report this message to the suckless tools (st) mailing list with the following email:

Subject: [sandy] git repository not found

The sandy repository seems to be misconfigured, https://git.suckless.org/sandy returns “repository not found”

Except several minutes later we received the following notification:

The message from <xxx@neosmart.net> with subject “[sandy] git repository unavailable” was unable to be delivered to the list because of an access rule set up by the list administrator.

(The denied message is below.)

We originally assumed this was due to our subscription to the mailing list having not yet kicked in, and proceeded to confirm the registration and double-check the subscription status before trying again… only to receive the same response. Now with the address in question definitely subscribed to the suckless dev mailing list (and continuing to receive emails sent to the list), we presumed that perhaps the message was rejected due to the presence of a URL in the message, and so we modified it to the following:

Subject: [sandy] git repository not found

Hello all,

The sandy repository appears to be misconfigured. The suckless cgit server returns an error about the repository not being found.

Unfortunately, this message to the mailing list some time later as well! It would seem that for some reason messages concerning the sandy text editor are being denied.

For an open source project – the core tenant of which is the enduring freedom of software – sandy is now surprisingly hard to find. Say what you will about SourceForge and its current reputation, but it’s currently the only place that still has a copy of sandy available for download… except the latest release on there dates way back to 2011.

For anyone looking for an alternative to sandy still under active development, we can point those looking for minimalism (and yet, not sadistic austerity) would be well served by exploring vis, an extremely promising vim-like editor without the bloat and spaghetti architecture. And for those simply looking for an awesome terminal text editor to replace vim with something faster and more modern, there’s no need to look further than neovim, which has been under excellent stewardship and active development for several years now.

In all likelihood (Occam’s Razor and all), this really is a case of a misconfigured webserver and an overly aggressive mailing list filter.. and yet, situations like this might lead one to question the traditional wisdom in eschewing monoliths of the like of SourceForge (last decade) and GitHub (today) in favor of decentralized options as a way of dealing with the “what will we do if they close up shop someday?” question.


  1. Perhaps best described as borderline masochist in their austerity and spartanism 

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