How to Install Atom Text Editor on Debian 11

Atom is a free and open-source text and source code editor that supports many cross-platforms such as macOS, Linux, and Microsoft Windows with support for plug-ins written in JavaScript and embedded Git Control, developed by GitHub.

The catchphrase that Atom calls itself is the “hackable text editor for the 21st century”. Atom, compared to competitors, is more user-friendly, with plenty of options for extensions to add syntax highlighting for languages and formats, add dynamic linting, and integrate debuggers, runtime environments, and video and music player controls, and much more.

In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install the latest version of Atom Text Editor on your Debian 11 Bullseye operating system.


  • Recommended OS: Debian 11 Bullseye
  • User account: A user account with sudo privilages or root access (su command).
  • Required Packages: wget

Updating Operating System

Update your Debian 11 operating system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Root or Sudo Access

By default, when you create your account at startup with Debian compared to other distributions, it does not automatically receive sudoers status. You must either have access to the root password to use the su command or visit our tutorial on How to Add a User to Sudoers on Debian.

Install WGET Package

The tutorial will utilize the wget package to download the GPG key; Debian 11 has this installed by default but to verify:

wget --version

Example output if installed:

GNU Wget 1.21 built on linux-gnu.

If you do not have wget installed, use the following command:

sudo apt install wget -y

Import GPG Key and Atom Source Repository

By default, Atom Text Editor is not available in the default Debian 11 repository. To install Atom, you must add the source repository and the GPG key to verify the packages. On a good note, importing the source repository will mean you will always have the latest stable version of Atom.

First, import the GPG key with the following command:

wget -O atom_gpgkey
gpg --no-default-keyring --keyring ./atom_signing_key_temp.gpg --import ./atom_gpgkey
gpg --no-default-keyring --keyring ./atom_signing_key_temp.gpg --export > ./atom_signing_key.gpg
sudo mv atom_signing_key.gpg /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/

Example output if successfully:

gpg --import ./atom_gpgkey
gpg: keybox './atom_signing_key_temp.gpg' created
gpg: directory '/root/.gnupg' created
gpg: /root/.gnupg/trustdb.gpg: trustdb created
gpg: key B75442BBDE9E3B09: public key " ( <>" imported
gpg: Total number processed: 1
gpg:               imported: 1

Next, import the source repository to your apt package manager sources list:

echo "deb [arch=amd64] any main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/atom.list

Install Atom Text Editor

With the source repository sorted, you must refresh your apt package manager sources list to reflect the new addition before the Atom installation. To do this, run the following command in your terminal:

sudo apt update

Now install Atom Text Editor with the following command:

sudo apt install atom -y

To confirm the installation, you can use the verify version command as follows:

atom --version

Example output:

Atom    : 1.58.0
Electron: 9.4.4
Chrome  : 83.0.4103.122
Node    : 12.14.1

Launch Atom Text Editor

With the installation complete, you can run Atom in a few different ways. First, while you are in your Debian terminal, you can use the following command:


Alternatively, run the atom command in the background to free up the terminal:

atom &

However, this isn’t practical, and you would use the following path on your Debian desktop to open with the path: Activities > Show Applications > Atom. If you cannot find it, use the search function in the Show Applications menu if you have many applications installed.


How to Install Atom Text Editor on Debian 11

The first time you open Atom Text Editor, you will see the following window:

How to Install Atom Text Editor on Debian 11

Congratulations, you have installed Atom Text Editor on Debian 11.

Uninstall Atom Text Editor

To remove the Atom software from your Debian system, run the following command in your terminal:

sudo apt autoremove atom -y

Then for complete removal, delete the repository and GPG key:

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/atom.*
sudo rm /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/atom_*
sudo apt update

Comments and Conclusion

In the tutorial, you have learned how to import the source repository for Atom and install it using the apt package manager on your Debian 11 Bullseye operating system. Overall, Atom is considered more straightforward to use a WYSIWYG editor that is fast as any competitor such as Sublime Text editor and is customizable with plugins.

For more information, visit the official documentation.


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