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Linux Development for Contributors

Jason San Jose edited this page Feb 9, 2015 · 59 revisions
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Brackets officially supports Mac and Windows. However, we're working on adding Linux support with the help of our open source community. If you're an end user that just wants to try out Brackets on Linux, please be aware that many features are missing or partially implemented.

To be clear, if you are NOT an extension developer and NOT planning to contribute to brackets-shell, please visit to download a preview build of Brackets. Please review the release notes for known issues.

Development Environment Setup

Required Setup for brackets-shell and brackets

These instructions will download the Git repositories for brackets-shell and brackets, download required dependencies, compile the native shell, create and install a debian package, then run Brackets ( /usr/bin/brackets).

  1. Fork brackets and fork brackets-shell
  2. Create a top level folder to contain the Brackets git repositories
  3. In a terminal window, cd to the folder from the previous step and run the following command as root
wget; chmod +x; bash; rm
  1. You'll be prompted for your GitHub user name to clone your fork of the repositories
  2. Respond to sudo password prompts when requested

ATTENTION This setup script will point your git origin to your own fork, then add a remote upstreamand point to the upstream/master branch in the main git repository. Assuming you're here to contribute to Brackets, you will want to point to your fork. This setup script automates the fork and upstream setup instructions here.

Cache Location

# cache root

# browser cache, local storage, etc.

# extensions

Extension Development

The extension development workflow is the same as Mac and Windows. Please refer to How to hack on Brackets and How to write extensions. Please note that the extension location on Linux is ~/.Brackets/extensions/user.

Tested Distributions

Contributors: If you are willing to test other Linux distributions please add your results here

Distribution Version Issues
Ubuntu 13.04 64-bit libudev workaround (Fix arrives in Sprint 30)
Ubuntu 12.04 32-bit None
Ubuntu 12.04 64-bit libudev workaround (Fix arrives in Sprint 30)
Mint 15 64-bit libudev workaround (Fix arrives in Sprint 30)
Mint 16 64-bit No issues besides the close issue. Still Testing
LMDE(*) Debian Testing 32 bit None
Arch 32/64-bit Not tested / None - (Package:
Arch 32/64-bit No issues besides the close issue. Still working around all the features. (Package:
Slackware 32 & 64 None (

(*) Linux Mint Debian Edition

Building brackets-shell

After the script runs to completion, you'll need to get the CEF components. To do this, run:

grunt cef

To create the /path/to/brackets-shell/Makefile run:

gyp --depth .

If you're only making changes to C++ code, just run grunt build and the binaries will be in /path/to/brackets-shell/out/Release.

When adding new files or changing the build configuration, you'll need to make modifications to the GYP configuration files (either appshell.gyp.txt or common.gypi). After making changes, you'll need to generate a new Makefile with gyp (as above).

Packaging Brackets

Brackets currently supports 2 options for installation: (A) a Debian .deb package and (B) a portable .tar.gz archive.

Debian Package

To build a Debian package for installation on Debian/Ubuntu distributions, use the grunt installer build task. This tasks copies over both the binaries and the www source and creates a Debian package, e.g. installer/linux/Brackets Sprint 30.deb.

Note that Debian packaging is based on the Chromium browser installer build scripts (CEF 3.1547.1354, Chromium 29.0.1547.41) and shares some 3rd party code. Chromium also provides an RPM script that we could use in the future to implement installers for Fedora/CentOS.



To build a portable archive, use the grunt build-linux-archive task. This task generates a .tar.gz based off the current Linux build. Use and from the installer/linux/archive/ directory to install/uninstall desktop and command-line entries for Brackets.

Reference: Pull Request

User Stories

There are several user stories (feature work) to complete in brackets-shell before the Linux version reaches feature parity with Mac and Windows. These stories are listed below in priority order

User Story Status Affected Features Contact
Ubuntu Installer/Packaging In Progress Install experience Jason San Jose
Native Menus Not Started Menus (HTML menus are an interim, but completely functional substitute) Ingo Richter

Open Issues

We tag Linux-specific bugs in our GitHub issues.

Development Log

  • 2013-08-29: Updated for Sprint 30
  • 2013-08-20: Update user story status, remove TODOs jasonsanjose
  • 2013-08-09: Edit inline sprint 28 comments jasonsanjose
  • 2013-07-30: Inline draft comments for sprint 28 build jasonsanjose
  • 2013-06-22: Updated brackets-shell/linux branch with SVG app icon jasonsanjose
  • 2013-06-21: Linux branches land in master in brackets-shell and brackets. Includes: CEF parity with Mac and Win, stubbed methods for incomplete native shell stories (Node, File I/O, etc.), debian packaging. jasonsanjose
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