10 Most Popular Code Editors for Linux

The church of Emacs or the cult of vi? Linux has a number of great code editors, which one should you choose and why? Here are the best ones.

Fedora is my favorite Linux distribution for various reasons, one of them being the workflow and productivity for the programming job. While there are many good IDEs available like Eclipse, need for a simple but robust text editor or a code editor is satisfied only through a dedicated software.

On Windows, Notepad++ is the most popular code editor. Notepad++ supports various languages (for syntax highlighting) and has a lot of features that makes it so special. On the top of it, it’s free. Here I am listing 10 best code editors for Linux distributions.

Sublime Text 3

Sublime Text is a highly advanced and efficient code editor available for Ubuntu and other Linux systems as tarball for both 32 bit and 64 bit systems. Sublime Text has a very large community of users as it is available for all three major OS: Windows, OS X and Linux. Sublime Text is a minimal code editor, yet full featured and easy to code in.


Sublime text has influenced look and feel of various other editors like GitHub’s Atom. Sublime Text has a Python API and has many plugins making it the very best code editor today. Sublime Text is configurable by a user settings file, and unlike Notepad++, lacks a graphical interface for this.

Sublime Text can be downloaded and evaluated for free, however for continued use a license can be purchased for $70.


Vim is an improved version of vi editor of UNIX. Vi was the first real screen-based editor for UNIX.


Vim has many new features over the vi like multi-level undo, completion, extended regular expressions, scripting languages and it can be customized with plugins. Vim can be used both from a command-line interface and as a standalone application in GUI with limited IDE features. Download links for Ubuntu, Fedora and Debian.

GNU Emacs

Did you see that coming? Didn’t you? So, here we are at editor war again. Well, I am not debating about vi and Emacs but Emacs is my personal choice. GNU Emacs was created by Richard Stallman, founder of free software foundation.


Unlike Vi, Emacs is available for all the operating systems, is extensible and customizable. Emacs has a packaging system and interface for downloading and installing extensions, support for bidirectional text and unified completion system. It’s a must have for any Linux distribution, install it for your distro.


Free and open source code editor created by Github is an infant for the four decade old Vi and Emacs and is called ‘hackable editor for 21st century’. Atom is composed of over 50 open-source packages and has GUI package installer. Atom is based on Chromium and written in CoffeeScript.

Yes, you can open Google chrome like developer tools in this. It takes design elements from the modern editor Sublime Text. Unlike Sublime Text, Atom has an in-built GUI for installing, activating and configuring plugins and themes. You must try it for yourself.


Geany is basically a text editor with basic features of integrated development environment. Developed to provide a small and fast IDE, which has only a few dependencies from other packages it only requires GTK2 runtime libraries.

Geany has all the features of a basic code editor. It also includes a build system to compile and execute your code, simple project management and a plugin interface.


jEdit states itself as ‘mature programmer’s text editor’. jEdit is written in Java. It has all features of a code editor, built-in macro language, plugin manager, syntax highlighting for more than 200 languages and supports over 160 character encodings.

Light Table

Light Table is a new code editor with more than 7000 backers on kickstarter including Matt Mullenweg of WordPress. Conceptualized as an IDE, it has a built-in browser. However, it has a slow pace of development and lacks maturity.

Komodo Edit

Komodo Edit is a free and open source code editor is a free counterpart of Komodo IDE. It has the features of a basic code editor but for much lesser features than Komodo IDE which is a premium software.


You need KDE installed on your operating system for running Kate. KDE is a free desktop environment for Linux and available for Windows and Mac in experimental state. Kate has highlight support for over 180 languages, bidirectional text support and has a backup system. You can swap files to recover data on system crash.



Gedit is the native editor for Gnome and is an alternative to Notepad++ on Linux. It is fully featured and can be extended using plugins. Gedit is the default text editor on all the modern Linux distributions including Ubuntu and Fedora.

Wanna share which editor you program in? Have I missed any editor? Please comment and let me know if you’ve anything to add to the story.

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