A large population of Linux users are primarily software developers, enthusiasts, and people who are just getting started with Linux. One of the most popular apps for everyone on Linux is a text editor. Now, Windows comes with Notepad and other third-party text editors, and so does Linux. The difference is, that because Linux is not very popular, the text editors on the platform are not very well recognized. Hence, in this article, let’s look at some of the 10 best text editors on Linux.
1. Visual Studio Code
Statistic suggests that out of the 27 million programmers in the world, Microsoft’s Visual Studio code is used by 15 million programmers. This speaks a lot about the popularity of Visual Studio Code, and it’s popular for a few good reasons. For starters, it can be installed on any platform, has support for most popular programming languages, has endless customization options, and there are tonnes of plugins that can help you enhance your experience, and even take your skills to the next level.
VS Code is completely free and is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac. Some of the notable VS Code features are syntax highlighting, snippets, bracket matching, and more. There’s also the GitHub Copilot extension that can make typing redundant parts of code easier with its autocomplete-style suggestions and help you save more time. Overall, VS Code is one of the best text editors for Linux out there.
Pros Cons Universal the best editor for any language Could be a bit overwhelming for beginners A comprehensive selection of themes and plugins Tonnes of features like syntax autocomplete, code autocomplete, etc. Supports all programming languages
Try Visual Studio Code
Brackets markets itself as an editor made for web development. It comes with a feature called Live Preview, which allows web developers to see the changes in a web page as they write code in the editor. Now, this isn’t something groundbreaking as Visual Studio code already has a Live Preview extension that allows you to do the same, but Brackets is a much simpler and cleaner text editor.
Besides, Brackets is completely open-source so you know it won’t be taking your data. However, Brackets’ strengths are also one of its weaknesses. Other editors like VS Code and Sublime try to be universal code editors but Brackets’ exclusivity for web developers limits its potential to be a much bigger project. Overall, if you’re a web developer looking for a lightweight Linux editor, you cannot go wrong with Brackets.
Pros Cons Great for beginners in web development Limited to web development. Live Preview is a cool feature Not as feature-rich as other editors. Simple and not too overwhelming Supported across multiple platforms
3. IntelliJ IDEA
IntelliJ IDEA is an excellent integrated development environment for Java and Kotlin. It serves best when used for Android development because it gives you an option right from the editor to install the Android SDK with a virtual device. That said, you could also use IntelliJ for beginner Java or Kotlin projects. It also comes with two automation tools named Maven and Gradle.
If you’ve used Android Studio before, you may notice that its design language is similar to IntelliJ IDEA. That’s because Android Studio is built on IntelliJ IDEA but also has a few extra features that make it THE best Android development suite. However, if your end goal is to pursue Android development, we’d suggest starting with IntelliJ IDEA as it’s far less overwhelming than Android Studio. IntelliJ IDEA is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, and is one of the best text editors that you can download on Linux for Java-based projects.
Pros Cons Feature-rich and two automation tools You may need to shell out some cash if you need more features Includes an option to install Android SDK to get started quickly Feature rich and two automation tools Feature-rich and two automation tools
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4. Sublime Text
If you’re looking for a user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing text editor that’s not VS Code, Sublime Text is for you. It’s a free text editor that doesn’t take time to get used to and is arguably one of the least overwhelming text editors for beginners who are just starting their programming journey. It supports almost all popular programming languages, has features such as code autocomplete and syntax highlighting, and more importantly, supports plugins that you can install to enhance the experience.
Besides, it’s available on a variety of platforms including Windows, macOS, and most Linux distributions. Sublime Text is completely free but the free version may often keep alerting you to purchase a license worth $99 for “continued use.” Sublime also uses GPU rendering, has support for Apple Silicon and ARM on Linux, and comes with lots of features that’ll make your experience great.
Pros Cons A comprehensive selection of themes and plugins Will often prompt you to pay $99 Supports most programming languages Supports most the programming languages Supports most programming languages Available on most platforms
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Builder is an IDE made specifically to build GNOME apps. Although it’s a niche use case, if you’re someone who wants to get started with developing apps for Linux, specifically GTK 4 and GNOME apps, we can’t think of a better IDE than Builder. For starters, as soon as you install Builder, you’ll see a list of all GNOME apps that reside on your GNOME desktop. If you want to develop one of them, you can clone apps and start working on new features.
You also get an option to create new apps and enable version control with Git to push the project to GitHub right from the application. The application installs the GNOME SDKs for you and also takes care of a few important things so that you’d need to get started with developing GNOME apps in no time. Builder is only available on Linux and you can download it from your distro’s repository or Flatpak.
|Build GNOME apps on the fly||Not your regular code editior|
|Simple design language||Supports only a few languages|
|Version control included. Push changes directly via Git|||
|Develop new projects or work on the existing GNOME projects|||
6. GNOME Text Editor
This is where we venture into editors that are geared toward a general audience. If you’re on Linux, specifically GNOME, their in-house text editor shouldn’t let you down. There isn’t much to talk about the application since it’s pretty basic, but you get all the necessary features such as different text themes, fonts, keyboard shortcuts, etc. GNOME Text Editor comes preinstalled on all GNOME-based Desktop OSes, but you can also install it on other Linux distros using Flatpak.
Pros Cons Simple and easy to use Not a code editor Customizable to an extent Lacks features Available in multiple repositories
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For a text editor that comes with a desktop environment, Kate is quite ahead of GNOME Text Editor and other bundled editors in terms of features. For starters, it can be used by both general audiences and programmers as it supports a variety of programming languages. It also has a built-in terminal, a diagnostics tab, and an output tab to keep track of what’s happening in your project.
Besides, it also comes with a few themes preinstalled if you don’t like the default theme, gives you the ability to create multiple sessions if you want to work on multiple projects at once, and also has lots of customizations to change the locations of multiple UI elements to better align your needs. Kate is available as a Flatpak and in the repos of other Linux distributions.
|Has built-in version control||None|
|Good selection of themes|||
|Supports creating multiple sessions|||
|Supports most programming languages|||
Terminal text editors are still popular and loved among the masses and for a good reason. For folks who love navigating directories using the terminal, it’s easy to open a file right from the terminal rather than navigating all the way to the file again using a GUI file manager and then trying to open the file. Hence, be it creating a new file or accessing the contents of other files, text editors such as Vi and Nano always have you covered.
Besides, they’re fast and reliable. Sure, they do have a learning curve (like learning how to exit Vim on Linux) but once you master them, you probably won’t look at GUI text editors unless you want a development environment to carry out multiple development projects.
While neither Nano text editor nor Vi is available on Windows, you could install Windows Subsystem for Linux, have Bash on Windows, and use Vi and Nano on Windows.
Pros Cons Best for general usage Has a learning curve for Linux beginners Fast and easy navigation using keyboard shortcuts Deeply integrated into Linux
Pre-install on Linux distros
Geany is a lightweight editor for Windows, Mac, and Linux that gets a lot of things right. Firstly, since it’s lightweight, you could use it on machines with fewer system resources with some of the best lightweight Linux distributions. Besides, it’s customizable, supports plugins, and is completely open-source. It’s available on Flathub and repositories of most of the Linux distros.
The IDE is available in over 40 languages and supports more than 50 programming languages. Although the latest version of the editor was released back in October 2021, the editor is still actively under development and a new version should be out soon. Overall, Geany is one of the best lightweight IDEs that you can use on Linux.
Pros Cons Support for over 50 programming languages Not many plugins Comprehensive selection of Themes and Plugins Not for advanced users Light and fast
Repl.it is an online text editor that we wouldn’t want to miss on this list. All you need to do is sign up with a Google or GitHub account and you can start creating Repls (Programs) in almost any programming language. However, we would suggest using Repl.it if you’re into competitive coding like solving Leetcode as the website saves all your programs on the cloud to access later.
Besides, if you’re an experienced programmer, Repl.it has bounties. People post tasks and descriptions, sign up for the same, and complete them to receive Repl points and money. Repl also has tools such as Ghostwriter which helps you autocomplete the code, Git to deploy the project, and shell, console, and databases like SQL and PostgreSQL to let you store data quickly. Overall, it’s a pretty intuitive editor regardless of which OS you’re on.
|Universal; suitable for any language||Needs active internet connection always|
|Saves your work on the cloud||Not very fast|
|Tonnes of features like syntax autocomplete, code autocomplete, etc.|||
|Supports most programming languages|||