So I just got my new Eee PC 1000H and it's obviously not a beast of a machine, but it gets the job done with most tasks. I'm looking for a lightweight IDE or text editor (read: lightweight doesn't mean lack of features, just that it's not a bloated piece of crap) The computer itself has a 1.6ghz Atom processor and 1GB of RAM. It's for school if that makes a difference.

There aren't any requirements besides that, I'm just looking for some suggestions on software that could be useful for someone in my situation.


VIM - Vi Improved.

It can go a long way if you are adept in using the unix/linux utilities. If you are on Windows, just install cygwin msys or mingw or andlinux (as suggested in the comments).

You can use VIM sessions so that you got some concept of 'projects'. Just save your current session when you close VIM and then load a previously saved session to load all the files that you were previously editing. Map commonly used functions (build, clean, deploy) to hotkeys so you can quickly trigger them. It supports a lot of languages. Have very good regex support. Once you've learned how to use it properly, very powerful.

yah, cause cygwin doesn't come with a massive over head - END SARCASAM
I don't install the whole lot. just the tools that I use.
Cygwin can go to hell as far as i'm concerned. All the useful utils have been ported to native win32, and then there's msys and mingw. If you really need hardcore linux stuff in windows, you can use andlinux.Even thought it's virtualized, it's still a million times faster than the poo that is cygwin
+1  A: 

I have an Acer Aspire One with the Atom as well. It has 1GB ram. I run Eclipse just fine. I can surf Firefox, listen to music, and code without any problems.

I don't think the Atom is as slow as people think.

eclipse is slow on my dual core 2ghz :(
I don't find it slow at all. Some things take longer than on my desktop, but the performance is useable overall.
+2  A: 

I've used Eclipse on some pretty old machines without any problems. If you try to load a lot of plugins, RAM usage will go up, so at that point, I would expect a lot of paging, but if you're only doing 1 language at a time, the lazy plugin loading should keep the usage to a minimum.

+6  A: 

I like jEdit. It does syntax colouring for many languages, has a good plug-in community, and allows split windows etc. I use it all the time.

I also use Vim but only for quick editing.

Michael Easter
It is also java so cross platform - which can be real useful
+20  A: 

VIM and/or EMACS depending on your preference are both relatively light weight and have a truely massive set of features and functionality.

EMACS might be a bit easier to pickup for somebody completely new, but taking the time to learn VIM is (imo) worth it. Both might look a bit weird, but keep at it - the power is more than worth the pain.

My advice overall is to check out GVIM.

Good luck.

I'd say that you should not only pick GVim, but Cream which is "a modern configuration of the Vim text editor", and it's really awesome.
David The Man
We used to make fun of Emacs being big and very bloated, but that was 15 years ago and on ~100MHz Sparc-stations. Nowadays it's really snappy, even on low-end hardware.
Now you have VS2008... Really big and bloated. And made by MS. A perfect victim!
Emacs is the only editor with a built in therapist :)
Tim Post
+30  A: 

I personally vote for Notepad++

I agree, it is small and has a set of language highlights that make it actually useful out of the box.
And it's fast, IMHO.
Theres also lots of plugins.. From auto-closing XML/HTML tags to the spell-checking addons.
the most important thing, its opensource but has capabilities like commercial IDE.
+1  A: 

I like The Programmer's File Editor (PFE) which can be found at

Very lightweight (624k) and Free!

Features include (from the Readme.txt):

PFE includes the following features:

  • The size of file it can handle is limited only by the total amount of virtual memory available
  • No arbitrary limit on the number of lines a file can contain
  • It can edit multiple files, the number being limited only by the available system resources
  • Allows multiple edit windows showing the same file
  • Multi-level undo facility
  • Can read and write files in UNIX format using LF as line terminator, with automatic format detection
  • Line numbers can be shown in any edit window if required
  • Text can be copied and moved by dragging and dropping
  • Right-click mouse menus give access to commonly required functions
  • DOS commands such as compilers can be run with the output captured in an edit window
  • Commonly-used text can be inserted in a simple operation from template libraries
  • Fully-remappable keyboard, including two-key operation similar to MicroEMACS and mapping of Alt keys to functions
  • Keystrokes and menu commands can be recorded in replayable keyboard macros which can be collected into libraries
  • Files can be printed either in total, by line range, or selected text only
  • Files can be printed with two pages per sheet of paper in landscape mode or as booklets
  • Automatic line indenting and removal of trailing spaces
  • Automatic configuration of edit options depending on file type
  • Automatic configuration of tab sizes depending on file type
  • Automatic brace alignment when editing C source
  • Text indent/undent operations
  • Optional automatic text wrapping at configurable margin
  • Supports Microsoft IntelliMouse (32-Bit Edition)
  • Floating Control Station to manage large numbers of open files (32-Bit Edition)
Bob Minteer
This is very late but I have used PFE for years and have yet to find anything to compete with it's editing features...
+1  A: 

As mentioned by others, my recommendations are:

  1. Vim - pretty much can do anything you need an editor for. If it add more features other than that it might become Emacs :). It run on pretty much all platform out there, Unix, Windows, Mac.
  2. Notepad++. If you prefer classical windows app, this is my other recommendation. It is also free and open source. Very lightweight and also has most features you need for code editing: syntax highlighting, multi-tabs, and can be extended with plugins.

I also use Scite

SciTE is a SCIntilla based Text Editor. Originally built to demonstrate Scintilla, it has grown to be a generally useful editor with facilities for building and running programs. It is best used for jobs with simple configurations - I use it for building test and demonstration programs as well as SciTE and Scintilla, themselves.

SciTE is currently available for Intel Win32 and Linux compatible operating systems with GTK+. It has been run on Windows XP and on Fedora 8 and Ubuntu 7.10 with GTK+ 2.12. Here is a screenshot of SciTE.

On Windows, there is a companion application Filerx which provides project management and macro features to SciTE.

+3  A: 

PsPad gets my vote.


Ron Savage
+1  A: 
  • Notepad++
  • EditPlus
+2  A: 

My preferences (all links go to download page):

For Windows:

For Linux:

I'm pretty partial to Nano, glad to see it mentioned :)
Tim Post
+3  A: 

My preference is the E-Text Editor. It's based on TextMate and is designed to be compatible with it's bundle system (when possible). You can get it here. Only problem is, it isn't free, but I find it well worth the price personally.

Ryan Taylor

The only one you'll ever need is Editplus. It's very lightweight and includes sftp support, multi language syntax highlighting and is only $30 (the trial never expires too :).

Eric Lamb
+2  A: 

If windows I keep falling back to TextPad.

+1  A: 

This question has some suggestions for lightweight text editors.

Dave Webb

Zeus -

+2  A: 

Geany is cross-platform and uses the same editor component like Notepad++ and SciTE, but has much better IDE stuff.

Milan Babuškov
+1  A: 

For C# or VB.NET you can use SharpDevelop.

Artur Carvalho
I run this on a laptop and it works great for me.
Dan Adams

I use EditPad Lite.

It meets my basic requirements for a notepad replacement:

  • launch as fast as notepad
  • deal with any character set, convert between them, repair improperly converted files, and let me control whether to save utf-8 with or without BOM
  • deal with any line terminator convention, let me convert between them
  • settings configurable per file extension
  • unlimited undo/redo
  • optional word wrap, line numbering
Joeri Sebrechts

If you need a lightweight WYSIWYG HTML/TXT editor, check out NetEditr


Windows Answers:

  • I've uses textpad for about 9 years. It's not free, but it's a great editor.
  • People who don't use textpad tend to go for ultraEdit.
  • e is getting a lot of attention and is worth checking out.
  • Notepad++ is free and well loved.

OSX Answers.

  • Textmate. There's not been an update to it for a while, but most mac users swear by it.

SciTE is the best lightweight programming editor.


Notepad2 is a great alternative. There is an article on the website which describes how to replace Windows' notepad.exe.

Stefan Schultze