Text editors can be used for writing code, editing text files such as configuration files, creating user instruction files and many more. In Linux, text editor are of two kinds that is graphical user interface (GUI) and command line text editors (console or terminal).
In this article I am taking a look at some of the best 21 open source commonly used text editors in Linux on both server and desktops.
1. Vi/Vim Editor
Vim is a powerful command line based text editor that has enhanced the functionalities of the old Unix Vi text editor. It is one the most popular and widely used text editors among System Administrators and programmers that is why many users often refer to it as a programmer’s editor. It enables syntax highlighting when writing code or editing configuration files.
If you want to see our complete series on vi(m), please refer the links below:
- Learn and Use Vi/Vim as a Full Text Editor in Linux
- Learn ‘Vi/Vim’ Editor Tips and Tricks to Enhance Your Skills
- 8 Interesting ‘Vi/Vim’ Editor Tips and Tricks
This is a general purpose GUI based text editor and is installed by default text editor on Gnome desktop environment. It is simple to use, highly pluggable and a powerful editor with the following features:
- Support for UTF-8
- Use of configurable font size and colors
- Highly customizable syntax highlighting
- Undo and redo functionalities
- Reverting of files
- Remote editing of files
- Search and replace text
- Clipboard support functionalities and many more
3. Nano Editor
Nano is an easy to use text editor especially for both new and advanced Linux users. It enhances usability by providing customizable key binding.
Nano has the following features:
- Highly customizable key bindings
- Syntax highlighting
- Undo and redo options
- Full line display on the standard output
- Pager support to read form standard input
You can check our complete guide for editing files with Nano editor at:
4. GNU Emacs
This is a highly extensible and customizable text editor that also offers interpretation of the Lisp programming language at its core. Different extensions can be added to support text editing functionalities.
Emacs has the following features:
- User documentation and tutorials
- Syntax highlighting using colors even for plain text.
- Unicode supports many natural languages.
- Various extension including mail and news, debugger interface, calender and many more
Kate is a feature rich and highly pluggable text editor that comes with KDesktop Environment (KDE). The Kate project aims at development of two main products that is: KatePart and Kate.
KatePart is an advanced text editor component included in many KDE applications which may require users to edit text whereas Kate is an multiple document interface(MDI) text editor.
The following are some of its general features:
- Extensible through scripting
- Encoding support such as unicode mode
- Text rendering in bi-directional mode
- Line ending support with auto detection functionalities
Also remote file editing and many other features including advanced editor features, applications features, programming features, text highlighting features, backup features and search and replace features.
6. Lime Text
This is a powerful IDE-like text editor which is free and open-source successor of popular Sublime Text. It has a few frontends such as command-line interface that you can use with the pluggable backend.
7. Pico Editor
Pico is also a command line based text editor that comes with the Pine news and email client. It is a good editor for new Linux users because of its simplicity in relation to many GUI text editors.
8. Jed Editor
This is also another command line editor with support for GUI like features such as dropdown menus. It is developed purposely for software development and one of its important features is support of unicode mode.
9. gVim Editor
It is a GUI version of the popular Vim editor and it has similar functionalities as the command line Vim.
10. Geany Editor
Geany offers basic IDE-like features with a focus on software development using the GTK+ toolkit.
It has some basic features as listed below:
- Syntax highlighting
- Pluggable interface
- Supports many file types
- Enables code folding and code navigation
- Symbol name and construct auto-completion
- Supports auto-closing of HTML and XML tags
- Elementary project management functionality plus many more
11. Leaf Pad
This is a GTK+ based, lightweight GUI based text editor which is also popular among Linux users today. It is easy to use by new Linux users.
It has the following features:
- Codeset option
- Allows auto detection of codeset
- Options of undo and redo
- Display file line numbers
- Supports Drag and Drop options
- Printing support
Bluefish is an easy-to-install and use text editor targeting Linux programmers and web developers. It offers a wide set of features as listed below:
- Lightweight and fast
- Integrates external Linux programs such as lint, weblint, make and many others and filters, piping such as sed, sort, awk and many more
- Spelling check feature
- Supports working on multiple projects
- Remote file editing
- Search and replace support
- Undo and redo option
- Auto-recovery of modified files
Atom’s feature highlights include:
- 100% open source
- Modern, customizable layout
- Embedded Git support
- Real-time collaboration with Telesync
- Smart auto-complete and intelliSense
- Built-in package manager
VSCode is a robust free and open source modern text editor built by Microsoft for Linux, Mac, and Windows computers.
It offers tons of powerful features including:
- Full debugging capability with an interactive console, breakpoints, call stacks, etc.
- Built-in Git support with Git commands
- 100% customizability
- Support for tons of languages straight out of the box
- Toggable layouts
- Built-in terminal
15. Light Table
Light Table is a powerful, clutter-free cross-platform text editor built to be customizable enough to be used in any that its user chooses.
Light Table’s features include:
- Inline evaluation
- Real-time watches
- Free and open source
- Plugin manager
- Powerful editing
16. Medit Text Editor
medit is a lightweight open source text editor for Mac, Linux, and Windows. It originally started as a simple built-in component of GGAP editor and is now its own stand-alone text editor.
medit’s features include:
- Customizable syntax highlighting
- Support for plugins written in Python, C, or Lua
- Support for regular expressions
- Configurable keyboard accelerators
17. Neovim – Vim-based Text Editor
Neovim is a hyperextensible vim-based text editor with a focus on usability and function extensibility. It was forked from the popular Vim editor in order to aggressively refactor its functionality and usability with modern GUIs, asynchronous job control, etc.
Neovim’s feature highlights include:
- Free and open source license
- Support for XDG base directories
- Compatibility with most Vim plugins
- A embedded, configurable terminal emulator
Notepad++ is a customizable text editor built with a focus on speed and minimal program size for Windows platforms. It is developed based on Scintilla text editor and can have its functionality extended with tons of plugins.
Its features include:
- Tabbed editing
- Code folding
- Bookmark support
- Document map
- Perl Compatible Regular Expression
Read Also: 11 Best Notepad++ Alternatives For Linux
19. Kakoune Code Editor
Kakoune is a free and open source Vim-based modal text editor with an editing model that implements Vi’s keystrokes as a text editing language.
It has several features among which are:
- Case manipulation
- Piping each selection to external filter
- Syntax highlighting
- Multiple selections
20. Micro – Terminal-based Text Editor
Micro is a command line-based text editor built to be easy and intuitive enough for users to take advantage of the features in other terminal-based text editors without the steep learning curve.
Micro’s feature hightlights include:
- Mouse support
- Multiple cursors
- Terminal emulation
- High customizability
- Plugin system
- Static library with no dependencies
21. Brackets Text Editor
Brackets features include:
- A beautiful User Interface
- Preprocessor support for SCSS and LESS
- Inline editors
- Live preview
- Multiple tabbed editing
- PHP support
- Supports Language Server Protocol
- Support for plugin extensions
I believe the list is more than what we have looked at, therefore if you have used other free and open source text editors, let us know by posting a comment. Thanks for reading and always stay connected to Tecmint.