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TextMate 2 goes open source

Allan Odgaard announced today that the upcoming TextMate 2 (the next version of development text editor TextMate for the Mac, a commercial product that costs US$49) is now open source software, and is available on GitHub for those who wish to contribute. The application is covered under version 3 of the GNU General Public License (GPL). From his announcement:

I've always wanted to allow end-users to tinker with their environment, my ability to do this is what got me excited about programming in the first place, and it is why I created the bundles concept, but there are limits to how much a bundle can do, and with the still growing user base, I think the best move forward is to open source the program.

I had a chance to briefly chat with Allan today, and he told me that he will continue to be an active developer on TextMate; it was not a lack of personal time that pushed him to this decision. He is NOT abandoning TextMate to an open source wasteland -- he truly hopes and believes this approach will be better for everyone.

A TextMate bundle developer I spoke with is developing a "wait and see" approach, as in waiting to see if the community takes on the application itself (there is already community support around bundles, an architecture that allows customization of what TextMate can do). There's hope that the existing TextMate community (all those people you know who swear someone could conquer the world with the right combination of text files) will embrace this. That being said, not every Open Source project gets a lot of love which is actually backed up by contributed code and ideas.

I'm an optimist, so I hope this does speed along development and turn TextMate 2 into something really special that text file geeks everywhere can appreciate. I couldn't bring myself to make the jump to version 2 while it was alpha; I'm still using version 1.5, even to write this post. If you have a creative use for TextMate, let us know in the comments.

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