Linux’s Top Open Source Editors – Part I

By Software Levi

In this article, we’ll review Linux’s top open source editors. We’ll cover some with basic functionality and those that are full-fledged integrated development environments (IDE).

1. Gedit

Gedit doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of other tools but in terms of simplicity, it can’t be beaten. It is the official Gnome desktop editor and is included in default installation for any Gnome based flavors of Linux.

It supports development in multiple languages, with syntax highlighting. An extensive collection of plugins offered there allows you to further expand the functionality.

This is the tool that we can use for quick editing or changing files. The thing that keeps me from using it more is the inability to mount remote network drives.

geditimage-Linux's Top Open Source Editors

2. Vim

Ever heard of defacto Unix text editor Vi? Vim is touted as an enhanced version, more feature-rich, Vi. Also known as the “the programmer’s editor,” it’s obviously great for coding, but it allows you to edit things like config files and XML documents.

Vim comes standard with almost every Linux distribution, but can be installed on Ubuntu systems with the command: sudo apt-get install vim full

You can launch in console mode by typing vim in a terminal window (or gvim for graphical mode). The first thing you should be aware of is the concept of modes.

  • Insert (to type text)
  • Ex (to issue colon commands)
  • Visual (to select text visually)
  • Command (to issue commands)

Vim Tutorials and full documentation are available at the Vim website.


3. Netbeans

Free to use, relatively lightweight, low learning curve and a full IDE. This is just a slice of what Netbeans has to offer. Netbeans is cross-platform, so will run under various operating systems such as Windows and Mac OS X as well as Linux.

There is support for Java and a slew of other languages and developers hosting their open-source projects on have access to integrated instant messaging and issue tracking. Netbeans has a fairly extensive collection of plugins in addition to documentation and support at their website.

To install Netbeans, download from their website. The package is also available under the synaptic package manager in Ubuntu Linux, though it will not be the latest release.


Thanks for reading this article. Please check our next article that explains some more free and useful editors in Linux. You can check our next article at Linux’s Top Open Source Editors – Part II.