Vi was never even close, and after a few weeks struggling with Emacs, both major editors have been out of the race. I browsed SuSE's DVD and looked for something better. I found NEdit, which was exactly what I was looking for.
NEdit was originally written by Mark Edel and is now GPLed and developed by a small group of developer's with Mark being project leader.
NEdit is written in C using the Motif widget set. This is venerable widget set which quite awkward to use in comparison to more modern sets, but runs anywhere. I still try to find my way in NEdit's darker corners, but have at least made some patches.
Others have more to say about NEdit.