the atom text editor snap app on ubuntu 17.04

It just got super easy to install the Atom text editor on Ubuntu and other Linux distributions.

Like, one command easy.

Yup, Github’s Atom text editor is available as a Snap app.

Snap apps, for those of you not keeping up at the back, are distro-agnostic application packages that are able to run on any Linux distribution that supports ’em, including Ubuntu, Fedora, Arch and others.

Unlike other Snaps that you can find and install using Ubuntu Software the Atom text editor has to be installed via the CLI. This is because it requires something called “classic” confinement so that it can open, write and access files on your computer.

Cassic confinement allows snaps to read and write to the host file system, not just its own neatly defined sandbox.

Atom-sized Blurb about Atom

As an open-source and cross-platform text editor, Atom isn’t new to Linux. The app has been available on Linux (as well as macOS and Windows) for a while. But this is the first time that the editor has been available to install on Ubuntu without you needing to go out and download an installer package.

Not being a developer I can’t talk too much to the editor’s capabilities. But at a superficially level the editor seems to have everything it should, including auto-completion, git integration, line numbers, tabs and panes, search/replace features… Oh, and a very clean layout.

But the big lure of Atom is its role as a hackable text editor. Because it’s written in JavaScript, CSS, and Node.js (yup, it’s an Electron app) it’s easy for developers to tweak, fine-tune and tailor the editor to suit their needs. This is done using ‘themes’ and ‘packages’, thousands of which are available.

Glancing over the sheer breadth of packages (and themes) that are available for Atom (which can be done inside the app, no need to venture elsewhere) makes it clear to see why the app has become the recommended code editor for so many developers,

Install Atom on Ubuntu

On to the easy bit: installing Atom on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and up or a different Linux distro with Snapd installed:

sudo snap install atom --classic

That is it.

Open the Unity Dash, the GNOME Shell Applications Overlay, or whatever app menu method your desktop uses, search for ‘Atom’, and enjoy.

Snap app updates are largely invisible, so you likely won’t be troubled when an Atom update is available. It’ll just be installed in the background.

Do you use Atom? What do you like about this editor? Which packages do you always install? Let us know in the comments!

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