Sublime Text - proprietary

Here’s a thing I didn’t know about ArcoLinuxB, it seems to with SublimeText configured as the default text editor (or this install does). Normally I choose Pluma, FeatherPad, MousePad or, for proper code, Geany for ditingtext, but just now I simply (double) clicked on a file to look at it and it opened, but so pop-up saying there was a newer version of SublimeText.

Curious, I went to the site and saw…

Sublime Text may be downloaded and evaluated for free, however a license must be purchased for continued use. There is currently no enforced time limit for the evaluation.

Having never knowingly used this editor I’d like to ask, “does it have any unique selling point?”

I’m not free-zealot, and it doesn’t sound like they are too pushy about it, but I’m tempted to remove it as my usual selection of editors do me just fine, but if it has some special features I could “evaluate” it for a bit.


I’m about to embark on a web development module for my degree which will include some Java, Javascript, PHP & possibly some Python, and I’m going to be using 2 editors, both free and in the AUR:

For HTML/CSS: Brackets (takes a good 10 mins to build!).
For everything else: VS Codium (the version of VS Code stripped of telemetry).

I’d say certainly for programming VS Code is pretty decent, and for light work such as HTML/CSS then Brackets with its live-previews in Chromium as you work is very good. Both are pretty lightweight (esp Brackets) and are loaded with options & themes.

For standard text file editing? Mousepad for me. Or Kate at a push.

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I tried Sublime Text several times while trying to improve my DE but it was never quite good enough and the others definitely weren’t. I then discovered which is basically Sublime Text but magnitudes better so i’ve been on it happily for years now.

As for quick stuff +1 for Mousepad

Thanks @Sar for the tip on VS Codium i’ll have to check it out.


It’s been a while since I did any HTML/CSS/Javascript but I always used Bluefish and still keep it around for simple stuff and to tweak a couple of websites I did for friends.

For writing C (I am so rusty it’s almost like relearning, and I wrote most of my C before ANSI C was a thing, good old K&R C) and if I ever have a mental breakdown JAVA or whatever I use Geany - simple but it works for me.

When I’m cobbling together Bash scripts I tend to go for Pluma or Featherpad (Mousepad at a pinch). I’m a simple lad and like relatively simple editor.

I’ve had a quick “evaluation” of SublimeText, it looks OK, does a bit of syntax highlighting, has what I find to be horrible colour themes but thats a personal thing. I just wondered what others who used it thought about it and the whole proprietary “evaluation” thin with it was.

I’ve seen and tried, wasn’t that struck wth it either.

Mousepad is good for basic quickie edits and is everywhere Xfce is (my DE of choice). Mostly I turn to Pluma or Featherpad for scripts and simple text. I tend to fire up Geany for other code, especially if I want multi-file projects… not that I do much of that since I retired in 2008.

Hi! I use VIM and that is god for me. The plugin suite will help me to do different task with VIM.

I spent quite a few years in the 1990s using vi on Solaris and vim on other platforms but I can’t say I remember very much beyond basics and proper visual/gui type editors are a lot easier. Although you will usually find vi or vim on any Unix like (and other) systems so I guess it’s handy to know the basics.

I never really got the hang of emacs, I did try and a mate at work persevered and mastered it… it became his equivalent of those people who today proclaim to everyone “BTW, I run Arch…”

Me too, I never try emacs.

I did not know they had Sublime Text set as the default, that is actually pretty cool in my opinion. :smiley:

I have been using Sublime Text for many many years now and I can easily say it’s the best editor I have ever used. Yes, I am comparing it to Atom, Brackets, and yes even Emacs and Vim.

I am not going to into a comparison for each editor because I don’t have days to write this reply. :slight_smile: So instead, here is the basic reason I use Sublime Text over all of the others. Sublime Text is innovative and powerful while at the same time very responsive and efficient on resources.

Emacs and Vim require plugins to add any sort of innovation so while some things in Sublime can probably be done in those, it will require you to find plugins to make them work. Sublime has plugins as well but the method of finding them is a LOT easier.

Brackets and Atom are both based on Electron so they are VERY heavy in comparison to Sublime Text. History Lesson: Electron only exists because of Atom because Atom was created as a clone of Sublime Text and then they built Electron to make it work. GitHub was then purchased by Microsoft so Atom and Electron are now owned by Microsoft, yay!

Atom is a weak Electron clone of Sublime Text. Brackets is a weak clone of Atom by Adobe with the only value it adds is integration with Photoshop and that sort of stuff. So weak clones is what they are.

Now let’s talk about what makes Sublime Text Awesome!

First of all, let’s get the proprietary and evaluation period thing out of the way. Yes, Sublime Text is proprietary for sure but I would argue look at all the clones that exist . . . this was actually smart to do because imagine how many clones there would be if people could just fork the code rather than make it themselves. I am not saying I agree with it or like that it is closed but it was probably better for them to do initially due to the fact that so many clones were made. Atom, VSCode, Brackets and even CodiMD are clones of Sublime. CodiMD is less so due to it’s main purpose of being a self-hosted collaboration platform but the functions and shortcut schemes are directly from Sublime.

The evaluation period is something people harp on as well BUT they don’t read the last sentence most of the time.

“There is currently no enforced time limit for the evaluation.”

What does this mean exactly? It means that Sublime Text is free to use forever with a small stipulation that after the “evaluation” it will nag you to buy it upon every ~100 saves. Sublime is not restricted in features in anyway, it is extensible and it allows you to use it for as long as you want and if you are ok with the nag thing popping up every 100 saves then you can use it for free forever.

Now let’s talk about features.

Multiple Cursors

One of the best features that I love about Sublime Text is the Multiple Cursors feature and this allows you to edit multiple lines very quickly! Some applications have a thing called “Column Editing” (allowing you to edit multiple lines on the same column but that’s not what this is. Yes, you can do that with this BUT the value in Multiple Cursors is they can be independent from the rest.

Multiple Cursors

In order to do what is in the GIF, you select some text and press Ctrl+D and it will select the next in the sequence so you can select as many or as few as you want. If you want to select ALL of them simultaneously you can do that too with Alt+F3.

“But Michael, this is just Find and Replace isn’t it?”

No, various people who asked me this every time I showed this. Sublime Text also has Find and Replace but this is actually much faster because all you have to do is select what you want, press Alt+F3, and just start typing. This cuts out many steps of opening another dialog, typing what to find, then what to replace and then clicking the button to apply it. This method is MUCH faster.

This might make you think “why does it have Find & Replace at all then?” The answer to that is because the Find & Replace in Sublime Text is MUCH more powerful than a basic find like many other editors. Once you press Ctrl+Shift+F you will be presented with a Find & Replace dialog that also includes Regular Expression searching (this is incredibly powerful), Case Sensitivity Searching, you can even select a big section and only search inside of that selection in Sublime.

If that wasn’t enough, Sublime Text’s Find & Replace works across all open files and folders. If you open a project folder in Sublime Text you can search for something and replace it for every file in that project whether it is currently being edited or not!

What is a Text Editor Without Additional Plugins?

I agree, good thing Sublime Text has a TON of plugins and it even has a well organized directory of those plugins. Package Control directory at has a listing of all the plugins for Sublime Text and it also tells you stats of the plugins like how many people are using it, when it was added/updated and ratings, links to docs, and etc.

There is one interesting thing about Package Control that might confuse people and that is the lack of Download or Install options on the website. There is a fantastic reason for this and that’s because the Package Control, package manager, is built into Sublime. Press Ctrl+Shift+P and this will open the Command Palette, this is powerful on it’s own, and type in Install. From here you search for the name of the plugin you want to install from browsing the website and that’s it, it will install it for you automatically.

I can go on and on about Sublime Text but this should be enough to explain why it is such a great editor. If you would like me to go on, just let me know. :smiley:

Maybe I should make a video about Sublime Text and just why it is such a great editor. :sunglasses:


I’m going to re-try Sublime Text, thank you.


Not having used ArcoLinuxB, I would be curious if anything in their installer/agreements denotes that Sublime is included for evaluation only (which it should).

Thanks @MichaelTunnell now it’s explained and with a few examples I can see the point. If I was 15 years younger and still bashing out code I’d give it a good going over. Now, well, I give it a try (but at a more leisurely pace). My need for fancy, or powerful, isn’t what it was.

I’ll poke about in the repos on other distros to see if they have it available.

I agree with various other folks’ sentiments @MichaelTunnell - I’ll have to relook at Sublime text now!

Checking the SublimeText site they seem pretty cool with the idea of distros making it available…

Linux Package Manager Repositories

Sublime Text 3 includes an auto-upgrade mechanism on Windows and OS X to make upgrades a snap. Instead of going against the grain of the Linux ecosystem, packages and package repositories are provided for most of the major distributions.

Builds listed in the dev channel are only available to licensed users. Users who are evaluating Sublime Text before purchase will need to use the stable channel.

It then tells you how to add their repositories to your distro Linux Package Manager Repositories

I’ve not got ArcoLinux on this laptop (I’m using my “Debian distros” machine right now) so I can’t say just now if it has any word about it being for “evaluation”

OK, following their instruction I’ve added SublimeText to the install of SolydX I’ve been playing with. Easy and straight-forward.

I’m still not mad keen on the default colour schemes, there has to be a way to tweak them to be a little… nice? clearer? a bit more contrasty or maybe they have others available for download

Sublime’s Evaluation does not have any time limit so its essentially forever so if their installer doesn’t Sublime does make it clear when you first load it I think.

@Ulfnic, @ChristopherM, @TerryL please let me know what you think after testing it again with this context. If you have further questions and would like more details as to why Sublime is great feel free to reply here. :smiley:

Package Control also supports themes so you can just install any of these themes that you like better directly from inside Sublime’s Command Palette. (Ctrl+Shift+P then type install) . . . with that said, I use the Default theme but with the Adaptive version, Preferences → Theme → Adaptive

Is something like this more your style? (pun intended)

I like a higher contrast between the text and background - the background should be black or at least a darker grey. I want the text to stand out more - that’s how I find it to be more readable.

Ok! But it’s just a tool, and every job needs its own to do it. I use VIM wit his awesome plugins!

You were right about Sublime Text, i’ve been on it for months now. I use a custom color palette for code styling and it was very easy to replicate over from and I was able to add a bit more detail. I’d prefer a 100% FOSS program but it’ll do.

In general everything’s very familiar, easy to use, opens several seconds faster and is generally faster at everything. It’s just a better program by quite a stretch.

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