21 Excellent Open Source Linux Text Editors

A text editor is software used for editing plain text files. It has many different uses such as modifying system configuration files, writing programming language source code, jotting down thoughts, or even making a grocery list.

Whatever the level of sophistication of the editor, they typically have a common set of functionality, such as searching/replacing text, formatting text, undo/redo, importing files, as well as moving text within the file. However, many of the editors included in this article are feature-rich, and can be further extended using plugins and libraries.

We previously published an article on the best open source editors in 2008. Given the length of time that has elapsed, and the new projects that have come forward, it’s prudent to update the article. Here’s our updated list of the finest open source editors available for Linux. Naturally, it’s largely a matter of preference, but it’s extremely likely you’ll find your ideal editor below.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that’s available, we’ve compiled a list of 21 high quality Linux text editors. There’s a mix of graphical and console based applications included. Many run on multiple platforms. Hopefully, there will be something of interest for all types of users.

Now, let’s explore the 21 editors at hand. For each title we’ve compiled its own portal page, providing a screenshot of the software in action, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.

Text Editors
EmacsExtensible, customizable, self-documenting text editor
VimPower of the editor 'Vi', with a more complete feature set
AtomHackable text editor for the 21st Century
BracketsEditor for web designers and front-end developers
Light TableModify running programs and embed anything from websites to game
ICEcoderDevelop websites directly within the web browser
SciTeSCIntilla based Text Editor
Komodo EditEditor for dynamic languages based on Komodo IDE
GeanySmall and lightweight Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
TextadeptFast, minimalist, and extensible cross-platform text editor
neEasy but powerful alternative to vi
nanoClone of Pico, the editor of the Pine email client
geditSmall and lightweight text editor for the GNOME environment
KateMulti document editor which is part of KDE
TEAGTK-based with wide range of text-processing functions
BluefishPowerful editor for writing websites, scripts and programming code
BlueGriffonWYSIWYG content editor powered by Gecko
KompoZerComplete Web Authoring System
LyXAdvanced open source document processor
TexmakerIntegrates many different tools
TeXmacsWYSIWYW scientific word processor
Return to our complete collection of recommended free and open source software including our latest additions.
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