Atom is a cross-platform text and source code editor developed by GitHub. Atom is Open Source, written in C++, Node.js, CoffeeScript, Javascript, CSS and HTML. Atom is still under active development does not come with a pre-compiled package for Linux and is not officially supported by any Linux distributions, As of now Atom only support OSX platform.

Here is an easy guide to get Atom running on Linux. You can find Atom’s GitHub project here. Atom project recommends Ubuntu 12.04 LTS x64, Atom currently supports x64/i386

If you are using Arch Linux you can find it on AUR.

Lets get started!


  • Git
  • Build-Essential
  • Node.js

If you already have the required dependencies on your system skip this step, if you don’t have the dependencies already installed on your system then follow the steps. To install Node.js using PPA on Ubuntu follow this post

Installing dependencies for Debian based Linux distributions.

sudo apt-get install build-essential git nodejs  
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

If you use Fedora or RPM based Linux distribution follow below. If you are using CentOS 6 than you can add EPEL repository. You might need to source compile Node.js on certain Linux distributions if Node.js is not available in the repository, you can get the Node.js source here.

Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Installing EPEL.

sudo rpm -Uvh epel-release-6-8.noarch.rpm  
Code language: CSS (css)

Installing dependencies for RPM based Linux distribution.

sudo yum install 'Developer Tools' git nodejs npm  
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Installing dependencies for Gentoo or Gentoo based Linux distributions.

sudo emerge nodejs  

Clone Atom’s Git repository.

  git clone Atom
Code language: PHP (php)

Get into the directory.

cd Atom/  

Atom by default requires to work correctly. If this requirement is not met you would get an error message like the one given below.

/usr/local/share/atom/atom: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

To avoid the error above enter the command below.

sudo ln -sf /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/  

To build Atom we need to configure NPM to use Python2 to avoid any errors.

sudo npm config set python /usr/bin/python2 -g  
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

We can now start build Atom.


Once the above step is complete, we can install Atom.

sudo script/grunt install  

Now we have Atom installed on our system, we can now create a shortcut to the application menu so we can execute Atom from the Application menu or Unity dash.

Create a Atom.desktop file in /usr/share/applications/.

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

Paste the content below in the Atom.desktop file and then save it.

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=/usr/local/share/atom/atom %U  
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Now you can launch Atom from the terminal by entering ‘Atom’ in the Terminal or visit the Unity dash and launch Atom.

Atom is still under active development and might have bugs, if you find any bugs in Atom report here. If you have problem following the steps above feel free to leave a comment below.

I compiled a list of software and services that I use to improve my workflow, here is the link to the list.

Darryl Dias

I’m Darryl. I’m a 3D Artist, Programmer and Linux enthusiast. On this site I share my insights, tips and tricks, tutorials, methods and best practices.