We now have at least two companies making significant Chromium-based editors, one is Adobe and the other is GitHub.
One of them is developing the core of their editor technology using a fully open-source model (hosted on GitHub, naturally) under a well-understood and widely accepted license, the other isn't (or at least isn't currently planning to).
2 years ago, who among you would have guessed correctly that the one whose editor was open source would be Adobe's?
Historically, it appears that closed source front-end editors like Textmate, Sublime Text and others find more success and usage in the market than open-source front-end editors.
I wouldn't classify Sublime Text as a front-end editor. When I think of front-end editors, I think of Coda, Espresso, and Brackets. Sublime Text is better compared to Notepad++, Notepad 2, Gedit, SciTE, Emacs, and Vim, which are all open source software and extremely popular.
If you're going to market your text editor as hackable and as flexible as Vim and Emacs , it's not a stretch for the developers interested in your product to assume it's going to be or should be open source software.
Fair enough. I use ST2 like Coda/Espresso/Brackets for my own front-end development b/c of the app's agility and abundance of useful plugins for the front-end.
Keeping Atom partially closed source, again pointing to historical marketability, could give it more credence among developers of both ends. There's a reason closed source, proprietary editors are so massively popular vs. open source editors which often can't seem to get meaningful market share (whether Enterprise or Sole Proprietor/Freelancer).
That said, I really wish an open source editor, on the front-end specifically, like Brackets or even Notepad++ would become something I want to use more than ST2, Coda, etc. but there's always something missing.
Atom has potential as a partially open source editor but it remains to be seen. I'll need to be drooling in order to truly make a switch.
I'd be very interested to see data that indicates that closed-source text editors have more market share than their open-source counterparts.
I'm quite positive on the other end of development, mainly Microsoft devs, they're almost always using proprietary software like Visual Studio. Sadly, Microsoft dominates the Enterprise and these environments are nearly half the job openings I come across/hear about.
While developers are used to installing features they want, Brackets suffers from the fact that there isn't any built-in package manager and therefore these types of optional features are gated behind a Google search (where most of the top results are questions about support, not the answers).
Actually, Brackets has a built in extension manager. You can find a list of extensions here - https://brackets-registry.aboutweb.com/ - and in the product you can go to File->Extension Manager.
All the extensions in the registry can be installed from within Brackets.
As an emacs user, I would be pretty happy if someone came along, took the super extensibility of emacs (which at first glance atom appears to do) and spun up a sexy, modern, not-lisp-using alternative. The thing is though, my number one priority for a text editor is that it's under a Free Software compatible license. This is simply not a negotiable point for me personally.
I honestly find it pretty amusing that despite the fact technology progresses at such a rapid rate, I'm using a text editor that was first developed a decade before I was even born.
For example, if I need to move my hand over to the mouse to do some common action, that's not ok. If I even have to move my hand over to the arrow keys, that's seriously suspect.
I would also never use the native OS file open dialogs for the same reason. It's fine to offer them of course. But anybody who's trying to get fast and proficient will rapidly move beyond them. For this, lighttable offers workspaces & the navigation pane, which is still really primitive compared to ido-mode (poor keyboard navigation, no tab completion of partial names, no ability to jump beyond a single, pre-created workspace).
Like Textadept (http://foicica.com/textadept/) ?
It's kind of like the new/gnu reality, where the GPL, designed to protect the authors from commercial exploitation, makes this exact exploitation easier than less restrictive OSS licenses...
Making money off a text editor is going to be hard. Especially when it is meant to be hackable.
Github seems to have things pretty figured out: they have a closed core that they control, with a veneer of hackability, and a lot of hype. You then get people to work for you for free by having them create plugins that, while open source, are effectively controlled by Github, Inc.
The key thing is to make people feel that they're contributing to a community, even though that community doesn't really have ownership of the work. By the time the tension between the community's needs and Github's needs comes out, you've already locked everyone into your ecosystem.
Other notable instances of this phenomenon include the MAGMA computer algebra system, and the creation of SAGE (see ).
Amusingly, they are also going partially-closed source: http://sagemath.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/what-is-sagemathclou...
numpy/scipy have very many more users, but I don't think that they're really comparable: they're aimed at numerical computation for science, while SAGE aims to be a do-everything tool for mathematics. All of scipy/numpy is actually included in SAGE, and you can interoperate between numpy stuff, and, say, exact rational arithmetic, or group theory, etc.
I don't have access yet to try it to see how it compares in terms of speed and feel. That said, this information seems to put it more in the category of a reimplementation of Sublime Text with a different tech stack and a much bigger company backing it.
I would not have expected a bigger and more modern company like GitHub to try and make money off a text editor. It's like building an inferior mouse trap in a world of open source mouse traps. So how this strategy unfolds will be interesting to watch!
But alas, they raised $100M and are probably feeling pressure to find new revenue streams.
Food for thought.
You may be interested in what we're doing over at Assembly: https://assemblymade.com. Open source products that share profits between contributors.
I'm just wondering if a developer could make a decent monthly living by working 40hrs/week on different projects.
Also, what happens if one of these projects wants to break out and go for VC money? Is each contributor's stake a legally binding "share" of the app?
Lastly, who owns the idea, in a legal sense? Would Assembly receive all revenue and distribute it, in which case it's logical that it would receive all ownership of ideas?
There is hardly a definition of "non-commercial" uses in any one jurisdiction. There is no way how this plays out in multiple jurisdictions.
CC-NC is a waste of the name Creative Commons. They might as well use "All rights reserved" and then just not go after anyone that copies the material in their basement.
If you're relying on GitHub for Issues/Wiki, then fair enough I suppose. Not as easy to get that data somewhere else.
Seems like they want to implement one of those Microsoft "shared source" models, which still count as proprietary.
He specifically mentions two examples of what not to open source:
Core GitHub Rails app (easier to sell when closed)
The Jobs Sinatra app (specially crafted integration with github.com)
Now, I'd find the argument really stretched thin if you were to tell me that a text editor is your core selling point. Where does a text editor fit into GitHub's overarching mission?
They have all the rights to recover their costs in some way. At the end of the day, they are a business.
Nobody asked them to spend their money creating an editor. It was their decision. They have been profitable for a while now and deciding to make an editor, charging for it, is not recouping costs for their existing service...
He mentioned not to opensource anything that represents core business value. A Text Editor is best set to grow when available free. Examples - VIM, Emacs, LightTable.
That said, there have been hints that it might be paid ("Atom is free till beta") and Github might try to make money through it like Sublime or Textmate.
Though I wouldn't worry much about Opensourcing, I might think twice to pay for a Text Editor - considering that there are really good free alternatives.
The problem begins when you close-source a text editor. For me, this is a deal-breaker. I would not want to invest time and effort in learning a new tool - my primary tool, in fact - that won't stay for more than 5 odd years.
Just take sublime as an example. I've seen so many ST users, right here on HN, drooling over Atom, ready to jump ship. On the other hand, I do not see any Emacs or Vim users saying the same. This is because Emacs and Vim are very powerful editors and there's no point jumping ship to another new and shiny editor that might no longer be there after a few years. Also, I've seen a lot of friction around forums regarding the fact that the author pretty much left ST2 entirely (bug fixes/enhancements) in favour of ST3. Also, the features of a closed source editor might not be well aligned with what the community wants.
 I'm not saying that ST isn't powerful - it's okay. But, Vim and Emacs are far more powerful - because you can hack at the source itself and because generally a much larger number of people can contribute to the project (given that not many people are competent enough to actually do that or do not have the time) -  and, if you feel the editor/project isn't going in the right direction, you can just create your own fork and if it's good, people will actually migrate to your fork for better usage. And that really is the power of FOSS.
This "it is not open source, I cannot hack it" sounds a lot like "I cannot change a battery on my phone any more" whining: many complain about it, few ever had a need or done that even if it were possible.
If it wasn't already abundantly clear from my previous comment, that is exactly what I'm doing.
> And if you do not want to invest a couple of hours learning a new tool I doubt you will invest dozens of hours fixing it anyway.
First, my comment was in response to the person claiming that "those not using Atom because it's not FOSS" are having an attitude that they're entitled to the editor being open-source. I was merely trying to point out the reasons why some of us expected a text editor (not any other software but specifically a text editor) to be open-source.
Second. Since you've entirely glossed over what I was trying to say, I'll explain it again (I should use easier English, I suppose).
It is evident to me that you are absolutely oblivious to the philosophy that drives FOSS. For a software to be open-source isn't important for me because I can make changes to it - it's because anyone can make changes to it. Let me put it in easier terms: If there are a large number of people using a software, and, that software happens to be open-source, it will generally lead to the betterment of the software as time goes on. Why? Well, it's because it is not at all imperative for me to change the code - in fact I know I'll pretty much never need to patch, say, Emacs - for the software to become better because I know that there are other people who are doing so - thereby leading to a better piece of code. Examples of this kind of behaviour is spread all over the place. The Linux kernel is a pretty good example. So is git. Now, because an editor is the primary tool of a programmer, you can be sure that a very large number of people are going to use it. If even a fraction of those people contribute to the editor's source, you can be pretty certain that the editor is evolving according to the needs of the community (and not according to the organisation owning the software) since that fraction of the people contributing code will represent pretty evenly the general demands of the community. So, the editor will become better over time, evolve in a way that is representative of the demands of the community and won't die out.
Now, I'm not saying that Atom isn't a good product. Indeed, from the looks of it, it appears to be a very well rounded text editor. But again, it's not open-source and hence, the benefits that I talked of in the last paragraph won't apply to Atom. This means that the project might die out in 4-5 years. Then, there's the fact that Emacs can do much much more than Atom right now and I expect Emacs will be around 20 years from now . These facts lead me to the obvious conclusion that there is no incentive for me to switch to Atom. Had Atom been open-source, then, it being a pretty great editor already, I know that it would have been much more likely that Atom would still be around 10 years from now (Why? See the last paragraph!). Then, I might have made Atom a second (actually third, second is Vim) editor that I'm proficient in. But alas! That is not to be.
Anyway, I truly hope that you understand why it is that I (and many others like me) want the text editor to be open-sourced. It's not because I will make it better - it's because I know that there are others, far more competent than me, who will, and, do so according to the wishes of the community using the software.
 Extrapolating from the fact that it has been around for 20 years already.
OK if he talks about why, since this is a discussion site?
For me, GitHub is an open source company even if they don't open source all of their code...
I don't equate git with github, I just don't like bloating my posts with too much nitpicking.
But by your logic, the NSA must be an open source government agency. After all, the Snowden leaks revealed that their technology (including XKeyscore) is built on open source software.
"Working inside open source browsers mostly."
Every website and web application is open source now? If you can find a way to arbitrarily lift server-side code from any web application, you'd be hailed as the next technological messiah.
No, GitHub using open source software does not make their platform open source. They do give back to an extent, sure. But that's hardly anything to celebrate by itself.
What's my view of OSS? I'm thankful for it. Yes, it's free work - they're working (although doing it for pleasure) and giving it away as a gift. I guess that's the difference, I view it as a gift, others seem to think it's immoral to work for pay.
Edit: Please enlighten me, what exactly is immoral about charging for software that takes thousands of man hours to create?
Google sells advertisements, so they make a free browser that makes the web fast and secure. They improve search to make the web more useful for everyone. They help get third-world countries online. Why? Because when the internet grows, Google grows. They're not working on search "for free".
GitHub might have taken a similar view with Atom: by creating a freely-available, polished, advanced, and easy-to-use programming environment, they might help foster the growth of a whole new generation of hackers that would use GitHub to easily store and share their code, right there, baked into the editor. Universities might pick it up, and it might be featured in coding academy curricula. Student projects might involve writing plugins for it, extending it, and making it their own: often the first task of an artisan is to make and customize his or her tools of the trade. And GitHub would be there, at the center of it all. Rather that some advanced hacker tool shrouded in mystery, GitHub would be built-in to every new coder's first experiences with programming: an iconic brand synonymous with that eye-opening rush of seeing your code work for the first time.
That doesn't appear to be their plan, though.
Editing text isn't a particularly interesting problem: the best models for it were developed decades ago, and the main innovations since were fonts and color themes. Text editors are a prime candidate for open sourcing, and most good ones are, including huge IDEs like Eclipse, Netbeans and IntelliJ. To say nothing of Emacs, Vi(m), nano, mg, TextMate, LightTable, Brackets, Notepad++, Kate, GEdit and dozens of other sophisticated, open-source text editors.
Expecting GitHub (of all companies) to err on the side of closing up the source for a text editor (of all products) seems strange.
The business model around a desktop application is bound to be different from the web services, and probably isn't even finalized yet. I'm just looking forward to trying it out to see if I like the editor or not. That bar is high enough, given that I'm pretty comfortable with my workflow as it is. To expect that something this new will be polished enough to make me alter my day-to-day process, but do so without any viable business model, seems rather unlikely.
A free/open version would be great, but I'll feel better about adopting it if the project is clearly profitable.
Looks like Jeff Atwood is still creating great products. I even felt a nostalgic whiff of his Microsoft infused sense of style (the <code> font-family is "Consolas, Menlo, Monaco, "Lucida Console", "Liberation Mono", "DejaVu Sans Mono", "Bitstream Vera Sans Mono", "Courier New", monospace, serif", in that order)
But they could do that with free to use I guess. And it makes sense, then no one is allowed to removed the github-as-a-backend part, and people have to get the paid plans to develop closed-source software.
While Open Source is great and it's contribution to the world is amazing, we shouldn't forget that it's a small niche thing, if we are talking about % of programmers contributing.
Because the whole premise of this editor is that it's "hackable". It isn't truly hackable if it isn't truly open source.
Those of us who've been around longer have seen this play out many times. Free software isn't just dogma, it's very practical self-defense.
Equating open source to "not for profit" is just a misunderstanding of both business and open source. One of the main reasons for businesses contributing open source is a solution for the problem of the necessity of in-house development and the un-necessity of an unprofitable/risky in-house software marketing effort with all the overhead that entails.
Actual FOSS would be nice, but non-free software + source still beats regular closed-source proprietary software.
This looks like they're going to allow people to view the source code, but not actually use it. My impression is that it would be similar to Assembla's not-really-open-source license 
As to why Atom, I'd bet this was something one or two senior guys just had an itch about, and they sold the project.
There are some reasons that not everything is open-source here: http://tom.preston-werner.com/2011/11/22/open-source-everyth...