28 February 2014
On Wednesday, a wind of hype got the world of developers around the world. That was the beta release of Atom.io, the first code editor made by GitHub. It’s destined to any language, not web only. Their ambitions are pretty big :
Sublime and TextMate offer convenience but only limited extensibility. On the other end of the spectrum, Emacs and Vim offer extreme flexibility, but they aren’t very approachable and can only be customized with special-purpose scripting languages.
Like they said, Atom has to be completely modular, anything can be overwritten: this sounds exciting! And a lot of dev already wrote extensions. The software works on Node and Chromium. When you code you can open the console, like in Chrome. Funny, useless but funny.
The enthusiasm and hype about this project was really impressive. But after a try, my personal motivation has left to let the place to confusion. On their welcome page, here is what we can see :
1. Atom is free during the beta period.
WUT? From GitHub? The Open-Source kingdom? The creators of the ‘fork’ button? Something broke at that point. GitHub is not anymore a contribution platform promoting open source in my mind, but a company like the others. What’s the point? They have built a SublimeText like (design, feature, licence) just based on different technologies and more ‘flexible’.
They have the right and the power to do it, so why not? It’s just a bit disappointing that GitHub did not encourage people to build an open source editor (especially when they dare to mention Emacs and Vim).
My only hope would be Atom to become completely open source and free. That would be great. Making Atom the code editor of the devs, by the devs, for the devs. Where everybody could focus their contribution and build an amazing piece of software which could be installed by default on any Linux distribution (ok I’m dreaming about the last part :-).
So, I will continue to support Brackets. A brilliant and promising code editor, completely open source, made by Adobe (yes I could expect closed source from them, more than GitHub). Maybe it will give them some ideas, and add new features and review the interface.
Also, last point, the thing who pissed me off the most, was the infatuation about Atom. They got 20k followers during their first 24h. Just for a SublimeText like. Even Brackets does not have this popularity, and deserve it. Usually I don’t give a fork, but I will try to give a hand to Brackets. This project deserve more attention than Atom.
Like many devs, I’m a bit confused about the future of Atom, will it finish open source or not. Let see what’s happening, I think it’s too early to judge.