First of all, I’d like to point out this article doesn’t include full-fledged IDEs, I’ll leave those for another article. So in conclusion you won’t find here Emacs, nor Vim or Eclipse and so on. This article overviews text editors, which may or may have not features belonging to a programming environment, like indentation or syntax highlighting, but aren’t full-blown development environments.
Geany | Homepage
Geany is a powerful and user-friendly GTK text editor that is one of the favorite applications for users under GNOME. It is full-featured, and besides the usual functions it also provides support for projects, embedded terminal, auto-indentation, highlighting support, line wrapping, integration with the make tool, plugins, and various configuration options. This is a very good recommendation for those who are looking for a good text editor/programming environment for GNOME.
SciTE | Homepage
Yet another nice text editor for GNOME, SciTE features all the common functions you’d expect to see in a full editor. Included here are a big number of language modes, highlighting support, tabs, read-only mode, exporting to HTML, PDF, LaTeX, XML or RTF. Monospace font is disabled by default, so you will have to press Ctrl+F11 or go to Options->Use Monospaced Font.
Kate | Homepage
This is by far my favorite KDE editor. Kate (KDE Advanced Text Editor) is a serious, full-featured programming environment which brings up things like: indentation, syntax highlighting, sessions, file selector, integrated terminal, word wrap, block-selection mode, and much, much more. A valuable piece of software for any KDE user.
Gedit | Homepage
Gedit is the default text editor that ships with the GNOME desktop environment. It has support for indentation, syntax highlighting, tabs, check spelling, bracket matching and fullscreen mode. Gedit allows you to configure text wrapping, tab width, auto-save feature, font and color scheme. Another good addition Gedit implements is support for plugins, and most of the features are provided by these plugins. Included here is the side panel plugin, document statistics plugin, or the spell-checker plugin.
NEdit | Homepage
NEdit is a decent text editor with a particularly clean interface written using LessTif, “the hungry programmer’s version of OSF/Motif”. Although the interface doesn’t exactly look like a 2011 GUI application, let’s have a look at the features of NEdit: it supports a lot of language modes, auto indent, text wrapping, syntax highlighting, incremental search, macros and window splitting. NEdit is pretty rich when it comes to customization options too.
Scribes | Homepage
Scribes is a simple editor written in GTK with a minimalistic interface, where the workspace occupies all of the window space. There is no menubar nor a toolbar, so accessing the options is done by right-clicking anywhere on the workspace or by using mouse-over on the top-right corner icon.
jEdit | Homepage
You can tell jEdit is written in Java just by looking at its interface. jEdit comes with some pretty neat features and rich configuration options. Some of the highlights include: indentation, word count, complete word function, multi-functional clipboard, incremental search, markers, file browser, a *huge* number of programming modes, many configuration options, support for macros and plugins. It is a little slower at start-up since it is Java-based, but otherwise jEdit really makes up a wonderful editor with lots of useful features.
Medit | Homepage
Medit is a simplistic editor for GNOME with support for tabs, syntax highlighting, text wrapping, sessions, Python plugins support and sidebars for file list and file selector.
Leafpad | Homepage
This is the most minimalist notepad-style editor for GNOME in this review. Leafpad only offers options to search, change font, enable auto-indent, line numbers or word wrap. Perfect application for quickly editing configuration files or other ASCII text files without the need to fire up a heavier editor.
Joe | Homepage
Or Joe’s Own Editor, Joe is a terminal-based text editor which resembles the keyboard style used by the older WordStar and Turbo C editors and features like multiple windows support, command history TAB expansion, indentation, highlighting support, undo/redo functions, and also Pico and Emacs emulation.
Ne | Homepage
Ne (Nice Editor) is yet another text editor for the terminal targeted at beginners, with enough features to make it powerful enough.
Komodo Edit | Homepage
Komodo Edit is a free, powerful text editor from the Canadian commercial company ActiveState. It comes with many features. It’s only downside is that it is pretty slow at startup.
KWrite | Homepage
KWrite is another editor for KDE with less features than Kate. Includes features like check spelling, indentation or dynamic word wrap.
Nano | Homepage
This is probably the most popular tool among Linux beginners when it comes to console text editors. Nano is highly configurable and provides syntax highlighting (here is a guide I put up a while ago on how to enable it), indentation, easy to use keyboard shortcuts, standard Emacs way of moving around (like ^N or ^P, or ^F and ^B) and plenty of other functions. Nano is particularly useful for quickly edit configuration files as root or as normal user.
Diakonos | Homepage
Diakonos is yet another terminal text editor providing customization, ease of use. Diakonos is intended to be easier to use than Emacs while also offering strong features.
Bluefish | Homepage
Some prefer to write HTML/CSS pages using normal text editors, however for those who want a dedicated application for this, Bluefish is a real gem. This program is a fully-fledged editor for web designers, with very powerful functions, a visual editor provided by the toolbar icons for inserting various tags in a fast fashion, syntax highlighting, file browser, and many more.
Jed | Homepage
Jed is a fast console editor which offers keyboard shortcuts similar to the ones of Emacs (like ^X-F to open a file, or ^X-C to quit), highlighting support and many other tools available.
TEA | Homepage
TEA is a decent HTML/XHTML, Docbook, LaTeX and Lout editor written using the Qt toolkit which offers a clean interface, highlighting support, file browser, standard HTML editing functions, a TODO calendar and various configuration options.
Kile | Homepage
This one’s a KDE LaTeX editor with good features and plenty configuration options, as well as building system and support for projects.
Lyx | Homepage
Lyx is a highly full-featured document processor for LaTeX based on the WYSIWYM (What You See Is What You Mean) paradigm.
In conclusion, want a full-fledged editor for GNOME? Try Geany or SciTE. For KDE? Give Kate a shot. You like Java-based applications? Try jEdit. You want a minimalist editor? Give Medit, Scribes, Leafpad or KWrite a shot. If you’re a command-line addict, see what Joe or Nano have to offer.
I’d really like your feedback, especially for all those terminal editors which I hardly ever used more than taking a glimpse at them for this review. Any suggestions, corrections and additions are warmly welcomed, so please express your impressions in the comments below.