The long-delayed TextMate 2 text editor has been open-sourced under the GPL 3 license, says its creator Allan Odgaard. The editor, after being announced years ago, was released as an alpha in December of last year.

Now, the app has been open sourced, which has led a lot of folks to immediately predict its death by disinterest, at least in terms of official development. The decision to open-source the code for TextMate 2 was made because he wanted to let end-users ‘tinker’ with the app, says Odgaard, and he wanted to give them the ability to do so beyond the concept of bundles which customize the app’s capabilities for certain users.

Odgaard has released the code under the GPL 3 license, which means that it can be played with and redistributed, but not on a for-pay basis unless the users provide their code under GPL as well. Not that this is out of the question in the future, says Odgaard:

I am also a pragmatist and realize that parts of the TextMate code base is useful for other (non-free) applications, so I may later move to a less restrictive license, as is currently the case with the bundles. For now, please get in touch with us if there are subsets of the code base you wish to use for non-free software, and we might be able to work something out.

TextMate was first released in 2004 and rose to prominence as a viable alternative to BBEdit. Praised for its speed and extensive support for use-case templates called bundles, it has become a major favorite of coders and writers alike. I myself moved to the ‘BBEdit-lite’ TextWrangler a while back because I wanted something faster and lighter but couldn’t wait for the new TextMate.

I’ve been using the TextMate 2 alpha since its release, but there are too many rough spots to make it my primary editor. Hopefully now that the code is available to tinker, people will polish those bits out. But it seems that an official track of development might be on the way out.

You can view the GitHub repository for TextMate 2 here.

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