Atom is a new (its first stable release was in June 2015) free cross-platform text editor by GitHub that is licensed under the MIT License. It is my favourite text editor as it is essentially Vim or Emacs for non-techies, that is, it has many of the same features that both Vim and GNU Emacs boast yet is simple enough that even an inexperienced technology user should be able to use it. There are pre-built binary packages available for the 64-bit versions of the more popular Linux distributions (such as Debian, Fedora, Linux Mint, openSUSE and Ubuntu), but for Sabayon Linux there is so far no Atom binaries available in the Entropy store. Consequently, Sabayon users must either install Atom using Portage (several overlays are available that contain Atom, although the main Gentoo overlay does not) or build Atom from source themselves.

Installing Atom from a binary package

I have recently (23 October 2015) set up a GitHub repository that provides information on how to install Atom from pre-compiled binary package(s) I upload to my Dropbox.

Installing Atom with Portage

To install Atom with Portage using the emc overlay (which I have chosen because it contains the greatest number of Atom ebuilds and seems to be frequently updated), run:

root #  layman -a emc
root #  emerge –sync && layman -S
root #  emerge app-editors/atom
root #  equo rescue spmsync && equo mask app-editors/atom

Building Atom Manually

Getting the dependencies

To install the dependencies for Atom, using Entropy, run:

root #  equo i nodejs libgnome-keyring gcc make dev-util/ninja fakeroot media-fonts/inconsolata

Getting the source code

Atom’s source code can be obtained via cloning its git repository or downloading tarball releases of its source code. If one intends to update Atom when new releases become available it is probably advisable to use git to get the source code.

To get the source code using git, run:

user $  cd ~
user $  git clone
user $  cd atom
user $  git remote add upstream
user $  git fetch -p
user $  git checkout $(git describe –tags git rev-list --tags --max-count=1)

To get the source code using wget, run:

user $  ver=1.0.19 #replace 1.0.19 with the version of Atom you are downloading
user $  cd ~
user $  wget -c$ver.tar.gz
user $  tar -xzf v$ver.tar.gz
user $  mv atom-$ver atom

Building Atom

To build Atom after installing the dependencies and getting the source code, run (from ~/atom):

user $  script/build
user $  sudo script/grunt install

The first of these lines may need to be repeated if errors are encountered.

Upgrading Atom

If one got the source code using git, then to upgrade Atom run:

user $  cd ~/atom
user $  git fetch -p
user $  git checkout $(git describe –tags git rev-list --tags --max-count=1)
user $  script/build
user $  sudo script/grunt install

alternatively, if you got the source code with wget, then to upgrade atom run:

user $  sudo rm -r ~/atom
user $  ver=1.0.19 #yet again, replace this with the version of Atom you want
user $  cd ~
user $  wget -c$ver.tar.gz
user $  tar -xzf v$ver.tar.gz
user $  mv atom-$ver atom
user $  cd atom
user $  script/build
user $  sudo script/grunt install

Known issues

I have noticed that upgrading using git, gave me the output:

Node: v0.12.7
npm: v2.13.3
Installing build modules…
Installing apm…
Installing modules ✓
Deduping modules ✓
Running “download-electron” task
Fatal error: Cannot find module ‘binary’

when I was upgrading from v1.0.11 to v1.0.13. I have reported this issue at the Atom GitHub repository. I ended up having to upgrade using the source code tarball method.


As previously mentioned in this post, there currently is no Atom package in the Entropy repositories, but I have posted a request to add Atom to the Sabayon overlay (which is a prerequisite for it to be added to the Entropy repositories).

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