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Ask HN: Is Atom now dead in the water?
41 points by sergiotapia 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 28 comments
Now that VSCode is clearly the winner - and not only that, Microsoft acquired Github, is Atom now dead in the water?

Why would Microsoft continue to support Atom, when VSCode is 200% better?




From Nat Friedman, future CEO of GitHub (https://www.reddit.com/r/AMA/comments/8pc8mf/im_nat_friedman...):

"Developers are really particular about their setup, and choosing an editor is one of the most personal decisions a developer makes. Languages change, jobs change, you often get a new computer or upgrade your OS, but you usually pick an editor and grow with it for years. The last thing I would want to do is take that decision away from Atom users.

Atom is a fantastic editor with a healthy community, adoring fans, excellent design, and a promising foray into real-time collaboration. At Microsoft, we already use every editor from Atom to VS Code to Sublime to Vim, and we want developers to use any editor they prefer with GitHub.

So we will continue to develop and support both Atom and VS Code going forward."


That's a 5 months old reply. Microsoft bought GitHub and have their own code editor based on a similar technology. They might have said that they will keep it but the company is known for ditching products and lying about it until its obvious they won't continue support.


Atom was a great experiement to find the limits of the innovative design now known as Electron.

They succeeded: the limits where found, moved, found again, moved again, and now hidden far away. The current limit is just performance. Electron is the valueable outcome, in hindside Atom was the side product.

I dont use either! Simple text editor = nano + notepad, and IDE = JetBrains (mostly WebStorm).


Why would VSCode be clearly the winner? I prefer Atom, VSCode is not even "200%" better, since most of it is personal preference. Such bold claims without even providing one argument.


I have been a Vim user. Coding mostly C, C++, Rust and Python. As I tried to make it more IDE-lile, added autocompletion plugins and lint plugins, startup time and responsiveness was seriously affected. I then tried using IntelliJ and Atom for a while. They were even worse. So I stuck with Vim. Then a friend told me about VSCode, a few weeks ago. I have installed vim emulation extension and now I am doing all of my coding entirely in VSCode. Startup comparable to Vim with Deoplete+Clang complete and ALE. Responsiveness and usability much much better. Atom was also comparably feature rich, but performance wise Microsoft nailed it this time.


what vim extension you're using?


Doesn't VSCode have privacy issues? I read a few tweets where people reported that telemetry is switched on as the default, and you had to opt out. Then there is the grand issue of Windows 10 itself where it is nearly impossible to disable data collection.

I happen to work on code that is very sensitive in nature and I really don't want it in other people's hands.


VSCodium solves that mostly (https://github.com/VSCodium/vscodium) but we'll have to wait and see if Microsoft keeps the repo up or finds a workaround.


I still prefer Atom. Seems to handle the fundamentals a lot better IMHO.

Can never seem to get indentation working correctly with VSCode but Atom never has an issue. Also I find Atom's extensions to be a lot more solid.


They claim they'll keep it alive but Embrace, Extend, Extinguish is in their blood.


When is the last time Microsoft applied that strategy?


https://youtu.be/TVHcdgrqbHE

They are supposedly doing it with Linux right now.


That was recorded in April, here are some more recent of Bryan's thoughts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efxJuvwgHu8

I would like to read a convincing account of how M$ would extend and extinguish the Linux kernel (or GNU userland for that matter). All I can imagine they care about is a) making sure Azure succeeds and b) getting users on monthly subscriptions for everything.

It's not that I don't believe the latter 2 of the 3 E's aren't plausible, I just haven't read a convincing account of what they could feasibly be and why M$ would have that incentive beyond spite. Satya Nadella seems like a paragon of neo-liberalism (everybody should be nice and get along, just let us maximise profits).


First of all, that later talk you linked to, doesn't really prove anything. It's really a plea from a journalist to MS. He wishes they just talked to him, but they just refuse to do so.

Whether or not the allegations are correct/plausible, I feel it is very important to have them. At this point, we can't say for sure as to what the eventual goals are (since they won't talk openly about it), but it is always good to have criticism, especially considering their past as a company, not just the CEO...


They did it to Nokia a few years ago. Skype is an ongoing project.


Those aren't "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish", that expression refers to taking an open system or standard and embracing it to get a marketshare (think IE for the web platform), extending it with proprietary features (like activex or dx-filters in IE) and then try to make those proprietary features such a defining part of the platform that all competition is "Extinguished".

Nokia and Skype were both bought by MS and mismanaged. There is nothing about "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish" that applies.


They never stopped.


Maybe Atom/Electron eventually get the same edge that VSCode has over them despite being an Electron app & maybe help abolish the memory hog image.


When the news of the acquisition first broke, they said they were going to keep GitHub as a separate company. So Microsoft would not have anything to do with Atom, it's still GitHub's.


Microsoft will not "kill" atom because they want to have two "horses" in the race.

The strategy of having multiple products in a given category is well understood by many segments (think about how many beverages CocaCola has!).

MSFT might "consolidate" or "unify" the underlying engine for Atom and VSCode, but I highly doubt they will discontinue/terminate Atom as a project/product given the goodwill damage that would have in the wider Open Source community.


In the recent state of Js survey there are surprising amount of people using using Atom. So it is not dead, just not growing / gaining ground or popular.

Atom is now focusing its energy on Xray or Atom 2.0 Which is aiming to be even faster than VSCode.

There is another Editor in the work called Xi, aiming at or even faster than Sublime Text.

However both are still years from production ready.


Atom will likely see maintenance akin to how IBM maintains OpenOffice, a small continuous stream of patches that keep Atom somewhat working.


I have lots of issues with VSCode. Atom always seems faster and more reliable to me.


Just use vim or emacs for text editing. Both have been around for DECADES.


Atom is OSS. Someone could fork it and continue to support it.


I switched to VSCode, it's as good as Atom.


Atom is also good, but VSCode is too good.


Yes




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