I've recently switched over to Ubuntu from Windows and love it. One thing I miss is my Programmer's Notepad. I haven't found anything similar yet for Linux. Eclipse is way too big and involved for what I need.


Specifically I'm looking for -

  • a diff tool (I know about Meld, but am looking for built-in or plug-in rather than a separate tool);

  • ftp;

  • html/xml tag-matching;

  • and the big one - find in files - search for a term or regex in a user-specific group of files, or recursively through directories, and return a highlighted, clickable list of results.

Edited again (04/05/2011) I did end up trying most of the suggestions below, but what I ended up with is Komodo Edit. It does everything I wanted, and it's available on all three platforms, so now that I'm on a Mac at work, I don't have to learn another new IDE. It's build on Mozilla, so there are add-ons (and you can create your own) which can be updated the same way Firefox add-ons are.

  • 2
    I'll just leave this as a comment since you've already picked your answer, but Notepad++ is supposed to run very well under WINE.
    – Michael
    Commented Dec 14, 2010 at 14:44
  • Use Geany. It's based on the same Scintilla text-editing control as Programmer's Notepad and Notepad++, so it should feel very similar. It's also equally light-weight. Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 8:08

12 Answers 12


A lot of Linux users eventually migrate to Vim or Emacs. They have steep learning curves, but near-infinite customizability. For a more notepad++ like editor, I hear good things about geany, but am a vim user myself.

In my opinion the choice of an editor is a very personal matter. If I were you, I would look at this list and try them one by one until I found one that worked for me. If all else fails, I noticed on that list that notepad++ is reported to work well with wine.

  • Thanks for that list. I think I'm going to try geany and jEdit - vim looks to be a bit hard-core for me (I'm a wuss!). Unfortunately neither of them has ALL of the features I want, but they're closer than anything I've seen so far.
    – EmmyS
    Commented Oct 15, 2010 at 20:53
  • 2
    vim is awesome. The best programmer's text editor. For me, it is better than any IDE ever made.
    – Wuffers
    Commented Oct 15, 2010 at 21:06
  • @EmmyS - emacs has ALL of those features and more. The functionality you're asking for is but a cup in the large kitchen sink of what emacs can do. chuckle But, emacs definitely has a learning curve. In my opinion, it's simpler to do the simple things in emacs than vi, but that's just my opinion. Commented Oct 15, 2010 at 23:43
  • @EmmyS: vim has (as well as emacs) all of what you want .. under more OS than notepad* or whatever comes along. if you do not like vim in its configuration install cream.sf.net which makes it a pretty good "idiot-proof" editor...
    – akira
    Commented Nov 17, 2010 at 13:04
  • I know this is a REALLY old question, but I'm just going to leave this here for folks who stumble on it. If you're going to be using Linux or Unix professionally LEARN. It doesn't have to be your bestest buddy, your daily use editor or whatever, but some version of vi is part of the default install of every unix I can think of, and I've used Linux, Net and FreeBSD, Slolaris and Irix "professionally", and touched a couple others in passing. Vi tends to be there when others are. Yeah, if you're a Programmer (especially C or LISP) EMACS might be better, but it's not always there.
    – Petro
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 17:11

Vim sounds like what you're looking for


Instructions to install it are on that page too :)

  • 4
    Vim isn't anything like N++ or Programmers Notepad. Commented Oct 15, 2010 at 19:50
  • 1
    yeah, the crazy Vim is like "copy con" in DOS, or "cat >" in nix :))
    – jondinham
    Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 5:46

There are tons of editors, many with features you'll love. My suggestion is definitely to migrate to something that works on multiple platforms and use it on all your machines.

That said, here is a link for many Ubuntu options: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Programming

GNU Emacs, Vim and jEdit are good options (thought I don't use jEdit):


I am also new to Ubuntu and I've been using Atom and I am really pleased with it. It has some features by default like code folding and snippets autocomplete for frequently used words. But appart from that it is fully customizable and there are free packages for everything you can imagine. There are packages to:

  • add minimap
  • change theme colour
  • change syntax colour
  • Add linter to quickly detect your errors
  • Autocomplete packages for many languages
  • Search and replace in file (ctr+f) or in the whole project folder (ctr+shift+f)

These are some of the features. Give it a try. :-)


Gedit isn't bad and you may have it by default anyway. Based on feedback, have a look at Bluefish as well.

  • I do have gedit, but it doesn't have much in the way of plugins or features. I've edited my original post to add more info on what I'm looking for.
    – EmmyS
    Commented Oct 15, 2010 at 19:42
  • Edit: OK, based of feedback, have a look at Bluefish bluefish.openoffice.nl/features.html
    – Linker3000
    Commented Oct 15, 2010 at 19:58

You can use gedit or you can use Notepadqq. I like Notepadqq better than gedit. Notepadqq is an opensource clone of Notepad++, you shouldn't need to install wine just for Notepad++.


I like gvim. It has all of the power of vim, but with some friendly GUI features added. It has syntax highlighting, regex related find and replace, and you can do diffs, as well as a host of other things. It's cross-platform, as well.

I use gedit, as well.


Based on your specification , like regex/ftp use, Vim is the best editor you would want to use. It'll look impossible in the beginning,so take some tutorials ,i would suggest you to go through the book, A Byte of Vim by swaroop hegde ,It's free for download


Note that Unix (in which almost any Linux distributions count) does have a completely different philosophy than Microsoft and Windows in general.

The Unix philosophy in short; Do one thing, and do it well.

Therefore, you'll see very few do-it-all IDE's. Instead, many tasks is performed by small by very competent tools, like MELD is only focused on diff/merge (kdiff3 is another great tool by the way).

As of this, my suggestion to you is to take your time and really learn how to do your work the Unix way. Learn about things like GNU core utils, grep, find and tools like Git. It will pay, and you will never want to go back.

Happy Unixing!

(ps: superuser.com doesn't allow me to more than two links, but I'm sure Google will help you)


I guess this is an old post but you can look at wine to use Notepad++ on ubuntu. I have done that and I find it much better than simple text editors available for linux....


Since no one has mentioned Editra (editor's note: previously hosted at http://editra.org/ but as of 2024 that domain is for sale) i feel that I have to. Check it out if you want to. I personally prefer gedit with add-ons but Editra comes close. And, It is cross platform!


You could try nano - it comes as standard with some distributions. nano

If you need something that works on every distribution, learn vi. Even primitive versions of Linux have vi. Once you get used to the single character commands, it is a pretty amazing tool. It has 4 cut and paste buffers which no other editor has and it can be used to edit binary files.

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