Fixing vim in Debian

I was wondering for quite some time why on my server vim behaves so stupid with respect to the mouse: Jumping around, copy and paste wasn’t possible the usual way. All this despite having

  set mouse=

in my /etc/vim/vimrc.local. Finally I found out why, thanks to bug #864074 and fixed it.

The whole mess comes from the fact that, when there is no ~/.vimrc, vim loads defaults.vim after vimrc.local and thus overwriting several settings put in there.

There is a comment (I didn’t see, though) in /etc/vim/vimrc explaining this:

" Vim will load $VIMRUNTIME/defaults.vim if the user does not have a vimrc.
" This happens after /etc/vim/vimrc(.local) are loaded, so it will override
" any settings in these files.
" If you don't want that to happen, uncomment the below line to prevent
" defaults.vim from being loaded.
" let g:skip_defaults_vim = 1

I agree that this is a good way to setup vim on a normal installation of Vim, but the Debian package could do better. The problem is laid out clearly in the bug report: If there is no ~/.vimrc, settings in /etc/vim/vimrc.local are overwritten.

This is as counterintuitive as it can be in Debian – and I don’t know any other package that does it in a similar way.

Since the settings in defaults.vim are quite reasonable, I want to have them, but only fix a few of the items I disagree with, like the mouse. At the end what I did is the following in my /etc/vim/vimrc.local:

if filereadable("/usr/share/vim/vim80/defaults.vim")
  source /usr/share/vim/vim80/defaults.vim
endif
" now set the line that the defaults file is not reloaded afterwards!
let g:skip_defaults_vim = 1
 
" turn of mouse
set mouse=
" other override settings go here

There is probably a better way to get a generic load statement that does not depend on the Vim version, but for now I am fine with that.

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