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An open source GUI multi-platform programmer's editor that was originally developed in the early 90's to give UNIX workstations a text editor that looked and worked more like a (then) modern NeXT, OS/2 or Macintosh editor looked like. It saw a lot of development in the late 90's and into the mid noughties and had by then become quite an accomplished tool, but the usual UNIX squabbles have since then made development crawl down to a halt. NEdit runs on OS/2 using the X Window system.


NEdit features a C-like macro language and has automatic indentation, autocomplete and syntax highlighting for a number languages but has no other automatic formatting, folding or code indexing features but can process index tag files generated by Ctags. Has support for multiple open windows either via a tabbed interface or by opening multiple editing windows.

One nifty feature is what they call "CallTips" but that is bubble help for keywords in your file, you can use existing keywords or create your own. It also has the usual shell/CLI command line integration features and slightly more unusually use on-screen text as a shell command a la Oberon.


Background & history

NEdit was originally developed in the early 1990's by Mark Edel who was then working at US research institution Fermilab and was sometimes referred to as the "Nirvana editor". Created on an Silicon Graphics workstation using the Motif widget toolkit, the program with its almost WYSIWYG look and feel was visually and functionally markedly different from the usual UNIX text editor, but that needs not come as a surprise considering that author Mark Edel had been a professional Mac developer for years before taking the software development job at Fermilab.

NEdit soon got ported to basically every platform that had a Motif port on them such as Solaris, SunOS, HP-UX, Digital Unix, Ultrix, IBM AIX and VMS systems, with even the obscure DESQview/X having a functional port for a while, it become very popular on some of the to the point of being shipped as the standard text editor on SGI systems, and as Linux, OS/2 and Microsoft Windows gained functional Motif implementations, they all got a port of NEdit as well.

By the late 90's the codebase had become fairly stable but the project author was facing demands from the Linux community to move away from the Motif library and also demands from distributions like Red Hat and Debian that the code would be moved to the GPL v2 license.


  • Last known OS/2 version: NEdit 5.20 (2003) or NEdit 5.1.2
Sadly the binary for 5.20 is lost, the changes for that version where however folded into the source code distribution so could be recreated, also according to the porter, later versions show fairly little change and might compile with the OS/2 makefile already existing in the source release. Version 5.1.2 is the last OS/2 binary found on the net.
  • 2004: Version 5.5
  • Dec 2014: Version 5.6
  • XFree86
  • Motif or LessTif if you want to compile the program, if you have a choice, Motif is the better one.

Syntax highlighting and autocomplete

NEdit has automatic indentation, autocomplete and syntax highlighting built in for Ada, AWK, C, C++, Csh, FORTRAN, Java, HTML, LaTeX, Pascal, Perl, Python, Tcl, Verilog, VHDL and Yacc.