Operating systems, GUI toolkits and competing editors come and go, but Emacs is forever!

– Unknown

Yesterday it was announced that the once popular Atom editor is going to be discontinued at the end of this year.

I’ve often said that one of the great advantages of Emacs is that it has stood the test of time1 and will likely be with us for a very long time to come. During the 25 years I’ve been into computers and programming I’ve seen a lot of editors and IDEs rise and fall:

  • Komodo
  • Eclipse
  • NetBeans
  • TextMate
  • LightTable

And now Atom. Any investment you’ve made to master those tools and build additional plugins for them has been mostly wasted in the end.

This list also serves to illustrate that just being an open-source project doesn’t mean much, if there’s no real community around the project and the bulk of the development is driven by commercial interests. The moment when such projects lose their backing they typically stagnate and die. It’s not like community project don’t meet their demise from time to time as well, but they are definitely much more resilient than the typical company-driven OSS project.

Emacs is a true community-driven project and I’m certain that it will outlive many more trendy editors until all is said and done.2 If you’re playing the long game, you better pick the right tools for it.

In Emacs we trust! M-x forever!

  1. It first appeared way back in 1976! 

  2. Same goes for our evil nemesis vim