11 Free and Best Linux Code Editors For Programmers

CuriousBytes: The following listicle is a collection of Best Linux Code Editors or Best Text Editors for Linux that will assist the Developers who switched to Linux in developing the next revolutionary applications. Also, we have added some of the Best Linux IDE’s that are available for developers on Linux.

Learning to code can be tough, but it is fun when you have the right tools in your hand. You are only confined by the walls you build yourself. If you start loving code, you get so incredibly tuned in and sometimes you may forget everything. This pleasant experience is often ruined by some tools that are used for programming. If we talk about machines, then MacBooks are the most preferred choice for developers who spend hours in knitting code. Apart from MacBooks that run Mac OS, There is another platform that is good for building applications, and it is Linux.

Over the years Linux has been evolving into a best operating system and is slowly expanding to grab the market share from Windows. Thanks to the countless efforts of Linux community. Today there are plenty of Linux distributions for every need.

Even there are some dedicated Linux Distributions for developers alone. If you don’t want to switch to those dedicated distros and want to stick to your existing Linux distro for your coding needs, then you can make use of the Code Editors that are available for Linux.

These code editors will improve your productivity with some intelligent features. It’s time to bid bye to good old Linux editors like Vi, Vim, Emacs, Nano etc. In this article, we only focus on a modern day Linux Code Editors and IDE’s that are powerful and feature-rich.

Without any further discussion let’s explore some of the Best Linux Code Editors.

Best Text Editors For Linux:

Here is a complete List of Best Linux text editors that are ranked down the list based on various factors like performance, features and customization options.

1. Atom

Atom Linux Code Editor

Atom is an Open source cross-platform code editor developed by GitHub. The tagline, A hackable text editor for the 21st Century aptly suits Atom as it is hackable to the core to meet your needs. Atom is smart and intelligent code editors for every class of developers ranging from noobs to experts. Its most powerful feature is that you can customize it to do anything but also use productively without ever touching a config file.

Atom offers several customization options to change the look and feel according to your choice. If you are familiar with HTML and JS, you can even tweak the look and feel by making some alterations to the UI. All these features have made it top our list of Best Linux code editors.

Features Of Atom Code Editor:

  • Cross-platform editing: Apart from Linux, Atom is available across other platforms like Windows and Mac.
  • Built-in package manager: Atom has a powerful built-in package manager, that lets you search for or install new packages easily.
  • Smart autocompletion: With Atom you can write code faster with an intelligent, flexible autocomplete feature.
  • File system browser: It has a powerful file system browser with which one can Easily browse and open a single file, a whole project, or multiple projects in one window.
  • Multiple panes: You can compare and edit code across files by splitting the Atom interface into various panes.

Pros:

  • Powerful and simple.
  • Rich Customization options.

Cons:

  • Beginners have to spend some time with the editor to make use of it to the fullest.

Installation Of Atom On Linux:

If you are using Ubuntu or its derivative you ca install Atom via PPA method by running the below commands.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/atom
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install atom

If you are using Debian or Fedora-based Linux distributions, then you can use .deb and .rpm packages to install Atom. Currently, Atom is only available for 64-bit Linux systems.

2. Sublime Text 3

sublime text for linux

Sublime Text is the most popular best Code Editor for Linux in the developer community. It is a lightweight and straightforward code editor. Sublime Text is built from custom components, providing for unmatched responsiveness. From a powerful, custom cross-platform UI toolkit, with an unmatched syntax highlighting engine, Sublime Text sets the bar for performance.

Sublime Text can be used as a simple text editor with syntax highlighting. By adding additional support plugins, you can expand its functionality and make it do almost anything a full IDE could do. Apart from that, it offers abundant customization options. Key bindings, menus, snippets, macros, completions and more – just about everything in Sublime Text is customizable with simple JSON files. This system gives you flexibility as settings can be specified on a per-file type and per-project basis.

Features Of Sublime Text 3:

Here are some of the best features of Sublime Text listed for you:

  • Multiple Selections: This feature will improve your productivity by letting you make numerous changes at the same time.
  • Command Palette: With this, you can perform various operations with just a few keystrokes and save time.
  • Rich Customization: Several customisation features to tweak the look and feel.
  • Distraction Free Mode: It lets you code without any distractions.
  • It supports many programming and scripting languages.

Pros: 

  • Simple interface.
  • Code auto fill and syntax highlighting.
  • Performance.
  • Extensible Python API.

Cons:

  • Complex integration of features.

Installation Of Sublime Text On Linux:

Sublime Text 3 stable release can be installed by running the following commands in Terminal. This works for Ubuntu and Debian based distros. If you are using other distros like Fedora, Arch and Suse refer to this page for installation instructions.

  • wget -qO – https://download.sublimetext.com/sublimehq-pub.gpg | sudo apt-key add –
  • echo “deb https://download.sublimetext.com/ apt/stable/” | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/sublime-text.list
  • sudo apt update
  • sudo apt install sublime-text

3. Vim

vim code editor

VIM or Vi IMproved is an improved version of the vi editor which is distributed with most UNIX systems. It is often called a “programmer’s editor,” and there is a reason for it. VIM is highly configurable and is very useful for programming that many consider it an entire IDE. It’s not just for programmers, though. Vim is perfect for all kinds of text editing, from composing an email to editing configuration files. It is written in C and Vim script

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VIM can be used as a standalone app or can be run using the command line. It is one of the Best command line text editors.

Features Of Vim:

  • Automatic commands
  • Digraph input,
  • Split screen,
  • Session screen,
  • Tab expansion,
  • Syntax coloring
  • Tag system.

Pros:

  • A powerful and complete feature set for programmers.
  • Stable and popular

Cons:

  • Not for beginners but is open to learning.

Installation Of VIM On Linux:

There are several ways to install VIM on Linux. There various installation files available here that can be used to install VIM on Linux boxes. Here below we have mentioned installation of VIM using PPA repository.

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jonathonf/vim
  • sudo apt update
  • sudo apt install vim

4. Brackets

brackets Text editor

Brackets is a modern code editor available for Linux. It is a popular text editor from the house Adobe. Unlike other paid software from Adobe, this text editor is available for free, and you don’t have to pay any licence for it. If you are a web developer, then you can reap more benefits from Brackets as it tailored to meet the needs of web developers. It has several features that can be extended by using additional plugins. Adobe crafted it to be the best modern-day Linux code editor.

It comes pre-loaded with all the features that are a must-have in modern-day text editors. It is based on JavaScript.

Features Of Brackets text Editor:

  • Live Preview: This feature lets you check the output of the code instantly.
  • Inline Editing: The inline editing allows you to edit CSS or other code snippets right from the same location instead of moving to the corresponding file.
  • Preprocessor: Editing Pre-Processors with Brackets is more comfortable than other text editors of its kind. SASS and LESS files can be easily edited with this.

Pros:

  • Lightweight.
  • OpenSource.
  • Powerful Visual Tools.
  • Availability of useful extensions.

Cons:

  • Not good more advanced scripts and languages.

Download and Installation of Brackets:

The latest version of Brackets is v1.11. You can install it on to your Linux machine by downloading the .deb files which work with the Ubuntu and Debian based OS. If you are using other Linux distros, you can install it by compiling the source code which is available on GitHub. You can run the below commands to install Brackets from respective PPA repo.

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/brackets
  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get install brackets

5. Gedit

Gedit

If you are using the GNOME desktop environment, then you might be aware of Gedit, which is a default text editor in GNOME. Gedit mostly focuses on simplicity and is noob friendly. Inspired by the GNOME design guidelines it has simple and clean GUI without any clutter of features. Gedit is one of the early code editors for Linux dating back to 2000 which is written in C language. The current stable version is v3.22 and is simple best Linux code editor.

Features Of Gedit:

  • Multiple Language Support: Configurable syntax highlighting for various languages (C, C++, Java, HTML, XML, Python, Perl and many others)
  • Remote Editing: Editing files from remote locations
  • Search functionality: Search and replace with support for regular expressions.
  • A flexible plugin system which can be used to add new advanced features dynamically.
  • Other features include Auto indentation, Text wrapping, Configurable fonts and colours and Line numbers.

Pros:

  • Supports many modern-day languages like Python and Perl.
  • Availability of online help.

Cons:

  • Few customization options and looks traditional in terms of look and feel.

Installation of Gedit:

Install the Gedit by running the below commands:

  • sudo apt-add-repository ppa:mc3man/older
  • sudo apt update
  • sudo apt install gedit gedit-plugins gedit-common

You can find additional information from here.

6. Bluefish Editor

bluefish-2.2.6

Bluefish is more than just a Code Editor. It looks pretty much like modern days IDE like Eclipse and Netbeans. With its rich feature set, it can almost do anything like an IDE. One interesting feature of Bluefish is its integration with third-party programs. Bluefish is versatile in supporting different languages. It supports Ada, ASP.NET, VBS, C/C++, CSS, CFML, Clojure, D, gettextPO, Google Go, HTML, XHTML, HTML5, Java, JSP, JavaScript, jQuery, and Lua.

Features Of Bluefish:

The interesting features that let Bluefish stand out from the crowd are listed below.

  • Fast – Bluefish starts quick (even on a netbook) and loads hundreds of files within seconds.
  • Integrate external filters of your liking, pipe your document (or just the currently selected text) through sort, sed, awk or any custom script
  • Multi-threaded support for remote files using gvfs, supporting FTP, SFTP, HTTP, HTTPS, WebDAV, CIFS and more.
  • In-line spell checker which is programing language aware.

Pros:

  • Support for many programming and scripting languages.
  • Clean And user-friendly UI.

Cons:

  • It lacks the ability to edit multiple lines simultaneously.

Installation of Bluefish Editor:

You can run the following commands on Ubuntu or its derivatives to install Bluefish editor:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:klaus-vormweg/bluefish
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install bluefish

7. Geany

geany_plugins

Geany is one of the Lightweight and Stable code editor and IDE. Geany is basic text that supports all the popular programming languages and looks more like an IDE with more workspace to work without distractions. Geany integrates the GTK+ toolkit and offers an excellent basic coding environment. Geany will be a great choice for those who are looking for a basic text editor with powerful features.

Features Of Geany Text Editor:

  • Support for Multiple files, documents and projects.
  • stable and powerful working environment.
  • Syntax highlighting and Code folding.
  • Can be extendable with the support of various plugins with a pluggable interface.
  • Auto-closing of XML and HTML tags and auto-completion of the symbol name.
  • Supports many file types of popular languages like C, Java, PHP, HTML, Python, Perl, Pascal etc.

Pros:

  • Simple Editor with a huge list of features.
  • A stable environment with excellent performance.

Cons:

  • Not many customization options are available.
  • Pretty much basic interface.

Download and Installation Of Geany:

As mentioned previously Geany is GTK2 based tool and requires GTK development packages. One advantage of Geany is that it can be directly installed from the package manager.

Run the command sudo apt-get install geany in the Ubuntu terminal to install the Geany. If you are using other distros, you can compile it using tarballs. Download the latest version of geany form here.

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8. Light Table

Light Table

Light Table is touted as the next generation text editor for Linux and there is a reason for. It is developed with a focus on future needs. The developers of Light Table has integrated several new features that are unique in their own way. Light Table has a powerful plugin system that allows almost any aspect of the editor to be extended and customized. With over 100+ plugins.

The sad part is that Light Table hasn’t attracted more traction among developers as it was underrated. In order to explore the capability of this Text editor for Linux, you have to try it yourself. It has a cool list of features that were listed below.

Features Of Light Table:

  • Inline evaluation.
  • Lightweight with the powerful editor.
  • Built-In extension manager.
  • It is malleable

Pros:

  • Easily customizable.
  • It fits seamlessly into your workflow.
  • Beautiful modern-day design.
  • Inbuilt plugin manager and system.

Cons:

  • Lack of support for many languages.

Download and Installation Of LightTable:

It is easy to get your hands on Light Table. If you are using any Ubuntu based Linux distro you can easily get it from Software centre. If you wish to compile it from the source you can do that from the LightTable GitHub repo. Prebuilt binaries are available through lighttable.com. To build and use a developer version of Light Table see these instructions.

Best Linux IDE’s:

In general, the code editors aren’t flexible to build complete projects. Because of their lightweight nature, they offer limited functionality that sticks to the basic code editing. They are not capable of compiling and evaluating the projects. In order to do that one has to rely on IDE’s for project builds and evaluation. Thankfully the Linux platform has some powerful Integrated Development Environments that assist developers using Linux machines. We have picked the most popular and cross-platform IDEs that support development in multiple languages and can be handy for all work environments. These are open source and give you the required freedom. So here is a short list of Best IDE’s available for Linux.

9. Eclipse:

Eclipse For Linux

Eclipse is one of the most popular IDE among Java developers. Being a good platform for Java development doesn’t mean that it is confined to Java, It also supports other programming languages as well. Eclipse support other languages with the help of plugins that were language specific. Just install the required plugin or download the package that has all the basic essential languages.  Eclipse is an open source tool and has a great community of developers.

The Eclipse marketplace consists of several tools for various application development environments. It even offers Linux development tools.

Features of Eclipse IDE:

  • Support for multiple languages.
  • Powerful Compilation engine.
  • Mylyn.

Pros:

  • Open Source.
  • Cross-platform.
  • Community support.

Cons:

  • Java focussed.

Installation Instructions of Eclipse on Linux:

Eclipse can be easily installed on Linux machines. Follow this link to get the download packages for Linux distributions.

10. NetBeans IDE for Linux:

Netbeans IDE for Linux

Netbeans is one of the best choices of IDE for application developers. NetBeans is a software development platform written in Java. The editor supports many languages from Java, C/C++, XML and HTML, to PHP, Groovy, Javadoc, JavaScript and JSP. Because the editor is extensible, you can plug in support for many other languages. NetBeans IDE is free, open source, and is moving to Apache!

Features of Netbeans:

  • Best Support for Latest Java Technologies.
  • Fast & Smart Code Editing
  • Easy & Efficient Project Management
  • Rapid User Interface Development
  • Write Bug Free Code
  • Powerful Tools for JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3

Pros:

  • Community support.
  • Rapid User Interface Development.
  • Lets you write bug-free code.

Cons:

  • Complex in setting up things for beginners.
  • Sophisticated to get started for novice learners.

Download and Installation Instructions For Linux:

Head over to the download page and you can download the required based on your development bundles. You can customize the software download bundle that suits your development needs.

11. Code::Blocks

Code Blocks IDE

If you are a beginner who is looking to explore the world of programming then C language will kickstart your journey. Code::Blocks is a free C, C++ and Fortran IDE built to meet the most demanding needs of its users. It is designed to be very extensible and fully configurable.

You can extend its functionality with the help of plugins.

Features Of Code::Blocks:

  • Open Source! GPLv3, no hidden costs.
  • Cross-platform. Runs on Linux, Mac, Windows (uses wxWidgets).
  • Written in C++. No interpreted languages or proprietary libs needed.
  • Extensible through plugins

Pros:

  • Best support for C/C++ languages.
  • Multiple compiler support.
  • Syntax highlighting, customizable and extensible
  • Code folding for C, C++, Fortran, XML and many more files.

Cons:

  • No UI customization options.
  • The UI looks traditional.
  • Fewer customization options when compared to other IDE’s.

Download and Installation of Code Blocks on Linux:

If you are using any Ubuntu based Linux distro then Installing Code blocks is just a click away from you. Head over to software centre and search for code blocks and install it. If you are using any other Linux distro follow the installation instructions from here.

Final Verdict:

Developers often differ on the best Code editor or best text editor for Linux. So in order to terminate the debate we have picked up the best Linux IDE’s and code editors and listed them based on their performance, usability and customization. You can pick the one that fits into your hat and start developing applications on your Linux machines.

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Did we miss something? Add your favourite code editor for Linux to the List! Comment your opinions in the comments below.

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8 Responses

  1. Jouni "rautamiekka" Järvinen says:

    You’re quite wrong about Eclipse being Java-centered: there’s support for other languages as well.

  2. Anders says:

    “Sublime Text 3” is NOT free, it free to test only.
    From there download page:
    “Sublime Text may be downloaded and evaluated for free, however a license must be purchased for continued use. There is currently no enforced time limit for the evaluation.”

  3. joker512 says:

    Why don’t you mention emacs, but tell about such poor editor as gedit (why not Kate)? It seems strange and biased…

  4. Magnetuz says:

    Where is Emacs? Much better then several listed editors

  5. Phemto5 says:

    Where is VS Code ? That is a glaring omission. Also you said not Vim in your opener and then used it. What gives?

  6. Thanks for the suggestions. We will be updating the list with the suggested text editors.

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11 Free and Best Linux Code Editors For Programmers

by CuriousPost time to read: 12 min
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