Sunset will trees and rocks as silhouettes with the Atom text and logo

Atom Text Editor Project Ends

  • Adam Douglas

I found out from a friend of mine that the Atom application, a free and open-source text editor project will be retired and cease development. This didn’t overly surprise me much. Let me explain my thoughts and opinion on this concerning matter to many.


The first release of Atom was on February 26, 2014, 8 years ago as I write this post. At first extensions and everything else not part of the core was released under an open-source license. However, on May 6, 2014 the rest of Atom which included the package manager, core application and desktop framework Electron were released as free and open-source software under the MIT license.

I believe I started using Atom around 2015 or 2016. It was a joy to see something so visually polished and able to make it easy on the eyes using what we now call dark theme or dark mode. Though I admit I am maybe recalling; things in the wrong timeline. It did the job for the most part, but had issues loading large files which I still find frustrating. It is one reason why I stopped using Atom and moved onto using VSCodium, a fork of Visual Studio Code.

Project Retirement

Atom was one of the projects GitHub developed that impacted many people’s lives. Heck GitHub brought Git to the main stream making it more user-friendly and more of joy to use. The Atom editor was no different considering what was available in the market at the time. I myself have used a lot of text editors over the years such as, BBEdit, Bluefish, Geany, Gnome Edit (gedit), Komodo, Metapad, Notepad++, let’s just say I’ve tried too many to list them all without boring you. The point I’m trying to make is that I can see how the end the development of Atom can be a painful thought for so many and quite an investment to move on to something different. We all don’t exactly enjoy change even though change is inevitable. With all this said, the retirement of the Atom project is still no surprise to me. Microsoft owns GitHub and has their own editor Visual Studio and more specifically the comparable editor to Atom called Visual Studio Code. So there is some level of conflict in regard to effort and resources from a business standpoint. However, it does lead to less competition in the marketplace and available options for one to choose from.

All the repositories along with Atom itself will be archived on December 15, 2022.

Promising Future

I wouldn’t be surprised if people in the community end up forking Atom and continuing the development as they see fit. This in the end could be a good thing for everyone. It would sever ties with Microsoft and GitHub that would remove the conflict of interest and allow for focus on just the editor itself.

A new editor is entering the market called Zed which will be written in the Rust programming language. It should be blazing fast and hopefully allow for editing large files. As well this editor will be GPU powered using a new framework they call GPUI. Though I cannot deny that I have concerns about this editor having collaborative support. What does this mean? I want an editor that runs locally on my system without requirement of a constant Internet connection or even having to have another dang account. It should have self-hosted aspects to allow one to be independent, in control of your own circumstances and your data.

We will all have to see what the future brings.

This is post 20 of 100, and is round 2 of the 100 Days To Offload challenge.

    • Change 100DaysToOffload message