How to Install Atom Text Editor on Linux Mint 21 LTS

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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 plugins 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, video and music player controls, and much more.

The following tutorial will teach you how to install Atom Text Editor on Linux Mint 21 LTS using the command line terminal, and optional version builds of stable, beta, and nightly.

Update Linux Mint

First, update your system to ensure all existing packages are up to date. This will ensure no conflicts arise as best as possible during the installation.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Install Dependencies

To complete the installation, you will need to install the following software packages using the following command in your terminal.

sudo apt install curl libcanberra-gtk-module dirmngr ca-certificates software-properties-common gnupg gnupg2 apt-transport-https -y

If unsure, run the command; it will not harm you.

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These are the most common software packages found on nearly all Linux distributions.

Import Atom Text Edit GPG Key & Repository

Import GPG Key

In the first step, you will need to download the GPG key.

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curl -fsSL https://packagecloud.io/AtomEditor/atom/gpgkey | gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/atom.gpg > /dev/null

Next, import the repository using the following command.

echo "deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/atom.gpg] https://packagecloud.io/AtomEditor/atom/any/ any main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/atom.list

Now update your repository list to reflect the new repository changes:

sudo apt update

Install Atom Text Editor

Install Atom Text Editor Stable

Once you have imported the repository, you can install Atom Text Editor using the following.

sudo apt install atom -y

Confirm the installation and version build with the following command.

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atom --version

Install Atom Text Editor Beta

For most users, installing the beta is to see the upcoming release for the stable version; this is often recommended before nightly.

sudo apt install atom-beta -y

Confirm the installation and version build with the following command.

atom-beta --version

Install Atom Text Editor Nightly

The Atom nightly is available for those who do not mind using the development branch. This is the most cutting-edge version available but beware, this will likely be unstable and contain bugs even to break, be sure to install stable to fall back to.

sudo apt install atom-nightly -y

Confirm the installation and version build with the following command.

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atom-nightly --version

Note that you can install both the stable, beta, and nightly text editors.

How to Launch Atom Text Editor

With the installation complete, you can run Atom in a few different ways.

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Remember to replace the atom example with atom-beta or atom-nightly for the terminal launch command.

atom

However, this isn’t practical, and you would use the following path on your desktop.

Taskbar > Programming > Atom {version}.

Example:

How to Install Atom Text Editor on Linux Mint 21 LTS

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

Example:

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How to Install Atom Text Editor on Linux Mint 21 LTS

How to Update Atom Text Editor

Updating can be done using the terminal. Run the APT update command in your terminal, as you would check your entire system for any updates.

sudo apt update

If one is available, use the upgrade option:

sudo apt upgrade

Desktop users would receive notices about updating packages, but I recommend running the terminal commands often to ensure all updates are occurring and installed.

How to Fix Atom Closing Issue

If the application fails to start, it means you are missing some dependencies, go back to the start of the tutorial to install.

Lastly, depending on your installation and how you run Linux Mint, sometimes you will see Atom auto close on launch. A workaround for this is to launch it without the sandbox environment.

atom --no-sandbox

Again, ensure you add the beta or nightly to the command for alternative upstream versions.

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Users that use the desktop icon use the following command to open up Atom stable for this example.

sudo nano /usr/share/applications/atom.desktop

If you are unsure or cannot open the file since you are using the beta or nightly, I would suggest using a command like follows that will print all applications with the name atom to get the correct one.

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ls /usr/share/applications/atom*

Once this is done, you should get an output like follows.

/usr/share/applications/atom-beta.desktop
/usr/share/applications/atom.desktop
/usr/share/applications/atomix.desktop
/usr/share/applications/atom-nightly.desktop

So, for example, you could open the nightly, and now you have the correct name and path.

Once you open the correct application, find the following line.

Exec=env ATOM_DISABLE_SHELLING_OUT_FOR_ENVIRONMENT=false /usr/bin/atom %F

And change it to the following, adding the –no-sandbox to the line, so you do not need to use the command line terminal each time.

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Exec=env ATOM_DISABLE_SHELLING_OUT_FOR_ENVIRONMENT=false /usr/bin/atom %F --no-sandbox

Remember, this is a stable example. If you are using an upstream, do not copy and paste the entire line; copy and paste the no-sandbox.

Example:

How to Install Atom Text Editor on Linux Mint 21 LTS

Save the file CTRL+O, press the ENTER key, and exit with CTRL+X.

How to Remove (Uninstall) Atom Text Editor

To remove text editors, use the following command; remember, you must match the command if you remove one version while keeping another. Also, remember not to remove the GPG key or repository if keeping a particular branch version.

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Remove Atom Stable

sudo apt autoremove atom -y

Remove Atom Beta

sudo apt autoremove atom-beta -y

Remove Atom Nightly

sudo apt autoremove atom-nightly -y

Note unused dependencies will also be removed.

Next, use the following command for users who want to remove Atom Text Editor altogether.

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sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/atom*.list

Finally, delete the GPG key.

sudo rm /usr/share/keyrings/atom*.gpg

Comments and Conclusion

If you’re looking for an editor that is both easy to use and fast, Atom should be at the top of your list. With its vast selection of plugins, you can customize it to fit your needs. And if you ever get stuck, there are plenty of online resources to help you out.

For more information on Atom, visit the official documentation.

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