GitHub's Atom is open-sourced under MIT License

May 12, 2014 by Nancy Owano weblog

Atom, GitHub's text editor, turned a corner for programmers this month with the May 6 announcement that it is now open source, available under the MIT License. Atom is still OS X-exclusive; prebuilt versions of Atom are currently only available for OS X (10.8 or later). GitHub, though, indicated that may not be the case for very long. Linux and Windows are in the wings. "Today," the team announced, "we're excited to announce that we are open-sourcing Atom under the MIT License." Development will continue supported by a dedicated team." In the next few months, we'll be focusing on improving performance, releasing on Linux and Windows, and stabilizing APIs. We think being open source will help us get there faster, and more importantly, source access will give you the transparency and control you've told us you expect from your tools."

Since the time they launched the Atom beta, every Atom package—and much of Atom's functionality is provided by packages—have been , but the significance of this month's announcement is that the rest of Atom has been open sourced. This includes the core application, package manager, and Atom's Chromium-based desktop application framework, Atom Shell. (Chromium is the open source project behind Google's Chrome.)

One important distinction about Atom is its ability to make use of web technologies without being restricted by web technologies, The Atom site explains: Atom is a desktop application based on . Like other desktop apps, it has its own icon in the dock, native menus and dialogs, and full access to the file system. As developer Nathan Sobo said in February, in the Atom blog: "So when we set out to write a text editor that we ourselves would want to extend, web technology was the obvious choice. But first, we had to free it from its chains."

He noted that while web browsers are great for browsing web pages, "writing code is a specialized activity that warrants dedicated tools. More importantly, the browser severely restricts access to the local system for security reasons, and for us, a text editor that couldn't write files or run local subprocesses was a non-starter." In turn, they did not build Atom as a traditional web application but instead as a variant of Chromium designed as a text editor rather than browser.

As for its going open source, Sobo said in the May 6 announcement, "As Emacs and Vim have demonstrated over the past three decades, if you want to build a thriving, long-lasting community around a text editor, it has to be open source."

Explore further: Exploring the magnetism of a single atom

More information: atom.io/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Exploring the magnetism of a single atom

May 08, 2014

Magnetic devices like hard drives, magnetic random access memories (MRAMs), molecular magnets, and quantum computers depend on the manipulation of magnetic properties. In an atom, magnetism arises from the ...

Google trumpets Dart release as first stable version

Oct 17, 2012

(Phys.org)—Google on Tuesday released its first stable version of Dart SDK. Dart is a programming language for Web applications that Google thinks will offer an improved, easy to learn, high performance ...

Recommended for you

N. Korea suffers another Internet shutdown

15 hours ago

North Korea suffered an Internet shutdown for at least two hours on Saturday, Chinese state-media and cyber experts said, after Pyongyang blamed Washington for an online blackout earlier this week.

Sony's PlayStation 'gradually coming back'

15 hours ago

Sony was still struggling Saturday to fully restore its online PlayStation system, three days after the Christmas day hack that also hit Microsoft's Xbox, reporting that services were "gradually coming back."

Chattanooga touts transformation into Gig City

15 hours ago

A city once infamous for the smoke-belching foundries that blanketed its buildings and streets with a heavy layer of soot is turning to lightning-fast Internet speeds to try to transform itself into a vibrant ...

Uber broke Indian financial rules: central bank chief

15 hours ago

India's central bank chief lashed out at Uber, already under fire over the alleged rape of a passenger, saying the US taxi-hailing firm violated the country's financial regulations by using an overseas payment ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.