OK, now that I’ve given Cindy a heart attack, I should mention that Kate is a text/code editor developed as part of the KDE project. Since Firefox came along to provide a decent web browser and Thunderbird to do likewise for email, one of the biggest obstacles to my use of Linux as my primary desktop has been the apparent lack of a code-editing tool that could approach the capabilities and ease (or pleasantness) of use that I’ve become accustomed to using EditPlus on Windows. To be specific, the must-haves for me are:

  • Stability.
  • A modern interface that allows effective use of either mouse or keyboard (key bindings must be configurable) and with sane cut/paste behavior. This excludes every version of emacs I’ve ever seen.
  • Auto-indent and word-wrap that actually work properly.
  • Decent search/replace functionality, including regular expressions and multi-file searches.
  • Syntax highlighting for the several programming languages I use, plus HTML. Configurability is also a key here, since I generally dislike the default highlighting schemes that come with most editors. Also, Python tends to be an acid test for whether the syntax highlighting is really robust. Many editors I’ve tried, both on Windows and on Linux, rely too much on braces (which Python doesn’t use) to indicate control-structure nesting or can’t handle the “”" form of multi-line comment.
  • Built-in FTP support so I can edit files on this website directly instead of having to download/edit/upload using two separate programs.

There are probably some others I’ve missed, but which I notice when I’m actually trying to get work done. That should do for a start, though. Kate is the first Linux-based editor that really satisfies these criteria. It does lack a few of the nuances I’ve become used to with EditPlus, but it also has some advantages (such as the ability for one program instance span multiple windows). I’ve been using various versions of vi and emacs just about forever, but Kate is the first Linux editor in which I actually enjoy working on code. Now Outlook’s calendar and Zuma are pretty much the only reasons I switch to my Windows box.