Installing Atom on Elementary OS

last updated Jan 7, 2017

The Atom text editor is not included in the standard Debian/Ubuntu package repositories, and it isn’t present in the Elementary OS-specific repositories, either. This leaves two options for installing it: loading the .deb from the website or compiling the whole editor from source.

In either case, you’ll have to satisfy Atom’s dependencies first:1

  • Node.js (>4.4.x, <7.x)
  • npm (>3.10.x)
  • The GNOME Keyring development headers
  • python2

All can be had through apt; no magic required.

From deb

Installing from the .deb package is simple enough: download it from the Atom website and install the package by one of three methods (ordered by convenience):

  1. gdebi (GUI) — run apt install gdebi, then open the .deb from Elementary’s file manager. This will automatically resolve any dependencies in the process.
  2. gdebi (CLI) — run apt install gdebi, then run sudo gdebi atom-amd64.deb (or whatever the name of the package you downloaded happens to be).
  3. apt (CLI) — run apt install ./atom-amd64.deb. Doesn’t require any special software, but marginally clunkier than gdebi.2

If you’ve done everything right, Atom should be accessible from the Applications menu at the top left.

From source

If you’ve satisfied all the dependencies, installing from source shouldn’t be much harder than installing from the .deb package.

Navigate to some temporary directory and grab the source with git:

  git clone https://github.com/atom/atom.git
  cd atom
  sudo script/build --install  

And that’s it.

  1. Complete dependency information is available in the Atom docs.

  2. Adapted from Lewis Goddard’s post here.