Electron decays at its roots.

2022-12-15, post № 267

software, #deprecation, #opinion, #bloat

“A hackable text editor for the 21st Century” once was the proud motto of yet another text editor’s working group [A22 [1]]; only that it also served as the flagship to their shiny new platform. Web everything! were the joy-filled chants ushering in a new era of containerized Chromiums. Too elite to recognize UNIX, too elite to value Emacs. Too elite and dazzled by their own superiority stemming from one interpretation of Git, they bestowed upon us Atom.
Eleven years later [2], Atom gets slaughtered [G22 [3]]: GitHub got gobbled up and Redmond picked favorites: VS Code runs on the platform envisioned with Atom — like a mistletoe surviving felling, it, transiently, seems to be the one that stays.

I have fond memories of Atom: in early 2019, when I first dipped my toes into a crude Git workflow, necessitated by a university group project to build a Java compiler in Haskell, it was my tool. Not realizing and at most tentatively asking myself about the difference between a popular version control system and a no-value centralization effort regarding the very, my window into computing was a MacBook and on it my window into conducted computing GitHub Desktop and Atom.

Atom wasn’t too bad if one accepted the dulled GUI-y way of life [S99 [4], pp. 46—60: ‘The Interface Culture’]: its shaky foundation and interpretation of JavaScript’s strengths only possible origins being besotted Web addicts isn’t apparent to the jaded mind. It felt right at home in the form-over-everything dystopia of macOS.

As such, I personally feel less of a loss in software and more an anger to monopolization: as so often with this duplicitous Redmond-free software, we witnessed another instance of gulp, grief, let grieve. Sub-par software and design ethe weren’t dropped, they were set in stone, hammered shut and embossed with a mark of ownership.


  1. Atom: atom.io. 2022. Online: https://web.archive.org/web/20221214224500/https://atom.io/ [accessed 2022-12-14, archived in the Internet Archive]
  2. As of writing, $ cd "$(mktemp -d)" && git clone https://github.com/atom/atom . 2>/dev/null && git log --pretty='authored %aD ; committed %cD' | tail -n1 outputs authored Thu, 18 Aug 2011 21:11:59 -0700 ; committed Thu, 18 Aug 2011 21:11:59 -0700.
  3. GitHub Staff: Sunsetting Atom. In: GitHub Blog, 2022-06-08. Online: https://github.blog/2022-06-08-sunsetting-atom/ [accessed 2022-12-15]
  4. Neal Stephenson: In the beginning ... was the command line. Perennial, 2003. ISBN: 0-380-81593-1
Jonathan Frech's blog; built 2023/01/21 15:03:55 CET