Atom is now available as a snap for Ubuntu

David Callé

David Callé

on 11 May 2017

There’s a new desktop snap in the Snap store: Atom.

The hackable editor, backed by GitHub

Launched in 2014, Atom has been rapidly adopted by a large community and is considered one of the top language agnostic code editors. It offers a constantly growing library of 6 000+ addons for all purposes, from themes to IDE features.

To install Atom as a snap:

sudo snap install --classic atom

Atom has most of the features you can expect from a modern code editor, such as project trees and autocompletion. It also comes with git integration, a built-in package manager, a file-system browser, multiple panes and a versatile find and replace function that allows you to replace strings in multiple files and across projects.

Open source and built on the cross-platform Electron framework, it provides deep introspection into its own code and is well suited for customization, allowing incredibly useful extensions such as git-time-machine or todo-show.

The git-time-machine extension draws a bubble chart of the git file history at the bottom of the panes and lets you navigate the timeline of changes.

Enabling availability

So why does it make sense to have Atom packaged as a snap? Snaps mean simple installation and update management, without affecting the application: everything works as expected, including extensions.

It also means that when software vendors make them available, it’s easier to access the beta version of their app or even daily builds. In practice, this snap makes the latest version of Atom easily installable and auto-updatable for Ubuntu 14.04, 16.04 and newer supported releases, goodbye 3rd party PPAs and general package hunting.

What’s in a classic snap?

You may have noticed that Atom is a classic snap (as seen in the snap install command with the --classic flag), which means it’s not strictly confined. Classic snaps are a way to start snapping complex software that has not been built with relocation in mind. When snaps under strict confinement consider /snap/core/current/ as the root of the file system, classic snaps use /, as most legacy packaged app would do, therefore they can read and write in the host file system and not only in their dedicated confined space.

Here is an introduction to snaps confinement modes:

Ubuntu desktop

Learn how the Ubuntu desktop operating system powers millions of PCs and laptops around the world.

Newsletter signup

Select topics you’re interested in

In submitting this form, I confirm that I have read and agree to Canonical’s Privacy Notice and Privacy Policy.

Related posts

The path to Ubuntu Core

At Canonical, helping customers overcome their challenges is what we do every day. In the IoT world, a common challenge we encounter is customers who are interested in transitioning to Ubuntu Core and the snapcraft.io ecosystem, but are…

Infographic: Snapcraft for developers

At the end of last year, we shared an infographic highlighting the adoption of snaps by users for their desktop, server or IoT devices. Those snaps wouldn’t be available without the growing number of developers building them behind…

Building ROS2 snaps with Colcon

The snapcraft CLI has supported building ROS1 snaps for a while via the catkin plugin. We supported the ROS2 betas via the ament plugin, but that was before Open Robotics had a ROS2 package repository setup, which meant that the ament…