Boston Linux & UNIX was originally founded in 1994 as part of The Boston Computer Society. We meet on the third Wednesday of each month at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Building E51.

Atom: A Hackable Text Editor for the 21st Century

Date and Time

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm


MIT Building E-51, Room 149


Jerry Feldman , Associate Director , Boston Linux & Unix - gaf blu org


Jerry shows us Atom, a graphical editor for software development


As the subject says, ‘Atom is a Hackable Editor for the 21st Century’. Jerry is a long time EMACS user, but while at Red Hat, he found that EMACS was not doing a good job with Python. Another developer suggested Atom. Atom is very customizable. First, for Python, it has a number of packages that provide syntax checking, automatic indentation as well as the ability to execute code from the console. Atom also has packages to support other languages. The things I like about Atom is that it can display a list of files and their status, and a number of panes. Jerry will demonstrate how he works on applications and displays code in multiple panes. In addition, Atom supports GIT and SVN. With git you can do a an add, commit, a pull or a push. He will demonstrate that on one of his projects.
Atom is fully open source. In addition to Python, Atom supports many other languages, including C, C++, Perl, JavaScript, Java, and many more. Jerry will show a list from the language indicator. Atom supports many different themes. Jerry uses the Atom Dark, but he will demonstrate others. He will also discuss the package manager. He will also demonstrate how to run the application being edited.

Atom can be installed directly from the Fedora repositories via the ‘dnf install’ command or the software center, and in Ubuntu via the ‘apt-get’ command or via the Ubuntu Software Center. It may be downloaded from [] For more detailed directions see the Atom Flight Manual: [] In many cases, when you install an application from a vendor repository, that version might be somewhat out of date. However, atom will notify you if there are updates to both Atom or your packages.

Jerry has tried many different editors over the years. More recently he tried Pycharm, a popular Python-oriented IDE. Pycharm is not open source, and the free version lacks many useful features. Several years ago, Jerry tested Geany, but decided that Atom was the better system.


  1. Atom home page
  2. Installing Atom

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