|Developer(s)||GitHub (subsidiary of Microsoft)|
|Initial release||February 26, 2014|
1.63.1 / 23 November 2022
1.61.0-beta0 / 8 March 2022
|Operating system||macOS 10.9 or later, Windows 7 and later, and Linux|
|Type||Source code editor|
|License||MIT License (free software)|
Most of the extending packages have free software licenses and are community-built and maintained.
On June 8, 2022, GitHub announced that Atom's end-of-life would occur on December 15 of that year, "in order to prioritize technologies that enable the future of software development", specifically its GitHub Codespaces and Microsoft's Visual Studio Code.
Atom was a desktop application built using web technologies. It was based on the Electron framework, which was developed for that purpose, and hence was formerly called Atom Shell. Electron is a framework that enables cross-platform desktop applications using Chromium and Node.js.
Atom can apply syntax highlighting for multiple programming languages and file formats.
Like most other configurable text editors, Atom enabled users to install third-party packages and themes to customize the features and looks of the editor. Packages can be installed, managed and published via Atom's package manager apm. All types of packages, including but not limited to: Syntactic highlighting support for languages other than the default, debuggers, etc. can be installed via apm.
Atom was developed by GitHub as a text editor using the Electron Framework (originally called Atom Shell), a framework designed as the base for Atom.
Between May 2015 and December 2018, Facebook developed Nuclide and Atom IDE projects to turn Atom into an integrated development environment (IDE).
On June 8, 2022, GitHub announced shutdown of Atom development and archival of all development repositories of Atom by December 15, 2022.
Atom's founder, Nathan Sobo, has announced that he is building the "spiritual successor" to Atom, titled Zed. Unlike Atom, Zed will be written in Rust and will not be using the Electron framework.
On January 30, 2023, GitHub announced a breach which exposed "a set of encrypted code signing certificates" some of which were used to sign Atom releases. GitHub advised users to downgrade to earlier version of Atom signed with a different key.
Initially, extension packages for Atom and anything not part of Atom's core were released under an open-source license. On May 6, 2014, the rest of Atom, including the core application, its package manager, as well as its desktop framework Electron, were released as free and open-source software under the MIT License.
There was initially concern and discussion about two opt-out packages that report various data to external servers. However, those packages became opt-in with a verbose dialog during the initial launch:
GitHub today announced that it will sunset Atom
[...] we didn't build Atom as a traditional web application. Instead, Atom was a specialized variant of Chromium designed to be a text editor rather than a web browser. Every Atom window is essentially a locally-rendered web page.