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7 Best Modern Open Source Text Editors For Coding in Linux

Looking for the best text editors in Linux for coding? Here’s a list of the best code editors for Linux. The best part is that all of them are free and open-source software.

If you ask experienced Linux users, their answers would probably include Vim, Emacs, Nano, etc. No doubt these are exceptional editors, but I’m not talking about terminal-based text editors here.

In this article, I’m going to take a look at the best open-source code editors for Linux that provides a rich user experience along with all the necessary features.

Best Modern Open-Source Text Editors for Linux

Best code editors for Linux

Just because I primarily use Ubuntu, you may also consider it as some of my favorite open-source code editors for Ubuntu. But, this list is also applicable for every other Linux distribution out there.

Note: The list is in no particular order of ranking.

1. Atom

Atom Screenshot

Atom is a modern and sleek-looking open-source editor for programmers. Atom was developed by GitHub and promoted as a “hackable text editor for the 21st century”.

Atom became popular even before its first stable release. Based on its excellent list of features, I can certainly mention it as one of the best text editors for Ubuntu, or any other operating system for that matter. 

Don’t just take my word for it. Have a look at some key features of the Atom code editor:

  • Easily extensible
  • Built-in package manager with a huge number of plugins available
  • Smart autocompletion
  • Split windows
  • Cross-platform
  • Embedded Git control
  • Command palette support

Atom offers .deb and .rpm packages on their official website. You can also follow our tutorial to easily install Atom on Ubuntu and Fedora-based Linux distributions.

In either case, you can also head to their GitHub page to explore more.

2. Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code screenshot

Visual Studio Code is a popular code editor from Microsoft. Now don’t push the panic button just yet. Visual Studio Code is completely open-source.

In fact, Visual Studio Code was among the first few ‘peace offerings’ from Microsoft to the Linux and open-source world.

Visual Studio Code is an excellent code editor for all kinds of tasks. It’s lightweight as well. Some key features are:

  • Intellisense provides useful hints and auto-completion features
  • Built-in Git support
  • Built-in extension manager with plenty of extensions available to download
  • Integrated terminal
  • Custom snippet support
  • Debugging tools
  • Support for a huge number of programming languages
  • Cross-platform

Because of their similarity, it is often difficult to choose between Atom and VS Code. Both are owned by Microsoft, after all.

Installing Visual Studio Code on Ubuntu and other distributions such as Fedora-based ones is very easy, thanks to Snap and Flatpak packages.

Alternatively, you can also download .deb/.rpm packages for Ubuntu, Fedora, and other Linux distributions from its official website.

3. VSCodium

Vscodium Screenshot

If you want to get rid of the telemetry, branding, and licenses of Visual Code Studio, VSCodium is for you.

VSCodium is essentially the same minus Microsoft telemetry and branding.

You can find .deb/.rpm packages along with files for Windows or ARM-based systems on their GitHub page. If you prefer to use Flatpak, you can also find it listed on Flathub. For reference, you can take a look at our Flatpak guide for help.

4. Kate

kate editor screenshot

Kate is an underrated modern text editor developed by KDE.

Kate can prove to be a potential alternative to Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code. It may not offer the same features/plugins that you find with Visual Studio Code, but you should get all the essentials to get started.

Some of the features are:

  • Split window
  • Multiple document editing
  • Session support
  • Code folding
  • Cross-platform support
  • Integrated Git support
  • Autocomplete feature
  • Plugins to extend functionality

If you want a different code editor with similar features as VS Code, you should try Kate editor.

You can find an AppImage file and a Snap package to install it on any Linux distribution.

In either case, you may find it listed in your software center (check for the version available), or you can build it from the source.

5. CudaText

Cudatext Screenshot

CudaText is a neat open-source text editor which is a cross-platform option that also includes Linux support.

It may not be the best there is, but it is suitable for HTML/CSS coding; it gives you the ability to tweak the editor’s theme with a couple of options available.

If you want a simpler and faster solution with a modern look/feel, you should try CudaText. Here are some key features that it offers:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code tree
  • Code folding
  • Binary/hex viewer
  • Cross-platform support

You can get the latest release files to install from FossHub. Also, you may check our separate article on CudaText to explore more about it and how to install it.

In either case, head to their official website for more information.

6. Gedit

Gedit Screenshot

If you want a simple yet elegant experience, Gedit is a great option.

Of course, it may not give you a rich UI—but it is a clean and modern-looking text editor compared to some others.

Some of the key features it offers are:

  • Full support for internationalized text
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Word auto-completion
  • Spell-checking
  • Text wrapping
  • Cross-platform

It comes pre-installed by default on Linux distributions with the GNOME desktop environment. But, if you do not have it installed, you can install it from your respective package manager or the Software Center.

You can even find it available for Windows 10 and macOS. For more details, you should check out their official GNOME wiki page.

7. Lite

Lite Code Editor

A fairly new text editor for coding on Linux (and for Windows as well). When compared to others, this editor aims to provide a fast experience without compromising the user experience.

Unfortunately, as of now, there’s no easy way to install it; you have to build it from source on Linux.

You can check out their GitHub page for more information on the source.

Promising code editors that are no longer actively developed or discontinued

Brackets (Discontinued)

Brackets Screenshot

Brackets was an open-source code editor from Adobe. It focused exclusively on the needs of web designers with built-in support for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

It was lightweight and yet powerful. It featured inline editing and a live preview feature as well. There were plenty of plugins available to enhance your experience with Brackets further.

Some key features of the Brackets code editor were:

  • Inline editing
  • Live preview
  • Preprocessor Support
  • Built-in extension manager
  • Cross-platform

You can get the last release as a .deb file directly from its official website. However, Adobe ended support for it on September 1, 2021. So, you can find its fork available instead.

At the time of updating this article, its fork did not have a release. Feel free to explore the GitHub page to check what’s going on with the fork.

Light Table (Not Actively Developed)

Light Table is the next generation open source code editor for Linux

Flaunted as “the next generation code editor,” Light Table is another modern-looking, underrated yet feature-rich open-source code editor, which is more of an IDE than a mere text editor.

There are numerous extensions available to enhance its capabilities. You’ll love the inline evaluation feature. You have to use it to believe how helpful Light Table is.

Unfortunately, it’s no longer actively developed and hasn’t seen a release for a few years. But you can try it out if you want.

Some of the main features of Light Table are:

  • Built-in extension manager
  • Inline evaluation obviates the need for printing to screen as you can evaluate the code in the editor live
  • ‘Watches’ feature lets you see your code running live
  • Cross-platform

If you’re using an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution, then installing Light Table will be easier for you. However, officially, Light Table doesn’t provide any .deb/.rpm packages. You have to build it yourself.

Lime Text (In Development)

Lime Editor
Lime Editor

Lime Text aimed to be an open-source replacement for users who love Sublime Text. It’s been a while for this project to exist — but it’s not yet ready with packages that you can easily install.

So, if you’re someone who likes to build from source, you may find it an exciting choice to test on Linux/macOS and help them improve.

What’s your pick?

Here, we’ve limited our choices with open-source options that are potentially modern text editors for coding. Of course, you have plenty of other options such as Notepad++ alternative Notepadqq or SciTE, and many more.

So, among these, which is your favorite text editor for Linux? Feel free to let me know!

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