Coming into a Suse system, vi didn't do colors, and the backspace key wasn't working...Here are three obscure things found when logging into lots of different systems.
Add these lines to your ~/.vimrc file.
NOTE: Use the real backspace key for ^?
syntax onimap ^?
You may also need to fix the backspace key in the terminal. Put something like this in your .profile, .bashrc, whichever works.
stty erase '^H'
Some systems don't add a .profile to your user account. No problem until you log in remotely (i.e. ssh), then you get a warning, can't find your profile, screen doesn't look right...
ln -s ~/.bashrc ~/.profile # In case you don't have a .profile, get one this way.