GitHub to sunset open-source text editor Atom later this year

9 Jun 2022

Image: © Sundry Photography/

The company has set 15 December as the last official day Atom will be in operation. But a ‘successor’ is in sight.

After more than a decade of helping software developers write code, GitHub is archiving its open-source text editor Atom to focus on cloud-based alternatives.

Launched in 2011, Atom is a free and open-source text and source code editor for software developers working on a range of operating systems.

The Atom software development environment laid the foundation of the Electron framework which has paved the way for “thousands of apps”, according to GitHub, including Microsoft Visual Studio Code, Slack and GitHub Desktop.

Now, GitHub has announced that it is officially sunsetting Atom and archiving all associated projects on 15 December, 2022.

“When we introduced Atom in 2011, we set out to give developers a text editor that was deeply customisable but also easy to use – one that made it possible for more people to build software,” the company said.

“While that goal of growing the software creator community remains, we’ve decided to retire Atom in order to further our commitment to bringing fast and reliable software development to the cloud via Microsoft Visual Studio Code and GitHub Codespaces.”

Dwindling popularity

GitHub said Atom has not had any significant feature development “for the past several years”, despite sporadic maintenance and security updates for developers still using the editor.

“We recognise that Atom is still used by the community and want to acknowledge that migrating to an alternative solution takes time and energy,” GitHub said.

Microsoft, which acquired GitHub for $7.5bn in 2018, launched its Visual Studio Code text editor in 2015 to compete with Atom. Since the acquisition, VS Code has gained popularity and now has a significant hold of the market share, while Atom’s popularity has dwindled.

“As new cloud-based tools have emerged and evolved over the years, Atom community involvement has declined significantly,” said GitHub.

The legacy of Atom may yet live on through a successor, however. TechCrunch reported that one of Atom’s core contributors, Max Brunsfeld, is leading an effort to launch a new, ‘lightning-fast’ collaborative code editor called Zed.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic