7 Best IDEs for Linux Development in 2023

Linux is beloved by developers across the world for its stability, security, customizability and sheer coding power. With the right tools, you can build everything on Linux – from simple scripts to complex, enterprise-grade applications.

And what self-respecting developer codes without an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to supercharge their workflow? IDEs are absolutely essential for productive coding on any platform.

That‘s why in this epic guide, we‘ll uncover the 7 best IDEs for Linux development in 2023. I‘ve tested and used all of these extensively over my 10+ years as a Linux-toting developer.

Here‘s what we‘ll cover:

Let‘s get started!

What is an IDE and Why Use One?

An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is a software suite that consolidates all the tools developers need into a single graphical interface.

IDE capabilities often include:

  • Code editing
  • Debugging
  • Project management & build automation
  • Version control (e.g. Git) integration
  • Code completion & analysis
  • Snippets, templates & macros
  • Customization via plugins & extensions

And much more.

IDEs aim to help developers code more efficiently by eliminating constant app switching and providing advanced coding assistance.

Benefits of using an IDE include:

  • Faster setup – Get a full dev environment with just 1 install
  • Improved workflow – Code, test and debug seamlessly in one GUI
  • Increased productivity – Leverage smart code completion and analysis
  • Customization – Extend functionality with plugins
  • Collaboration – Integrated tools for team development

For any non-trivial development, an IDE ends up saving huge amounts of time and mental fatigue.

Code Editor vs IDE – What‘s the Difference?

Before going further, it‘s important to delineate code editors from full-featured IDEs.

A code editor is a text editor specially designed for writing and editing code. They provide programmer-friendly capabilities like:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code completion
  • Bracket matching
  • Snippets
  • Plugins

Examples of popular code editors include Sublime Text, Atom and Visual Studio Code in its base configuration.

An IDE takes things several steps further by integrating a full suite of developer tools into the editor. This eliminates the context switching that comes with running separate apps for coding, building, testing, versioning, debugging etc.

So while lightweight code editors are useful, IDEs supercharge efficiency for serious development work.

Okay, now that we‘ve got that covered, let‘s look at key factors for choosing a Linux IDE…

Key Factors for Picking a Linux IDE

With criteria in mind, we can narrow down the best IDEs for our specific needs:

1. Supported Languages

Verify that your language(s) of choice – whether Python, Java, C++, JavaScript etc. – are fully supported by the IDE‘s editor, debugger and build tools.

2. Available Plugins / Extensions

The ability to augment IDE functionality via plugins & extensions is extremely valuable. Check each IDE‘s plugin ecosystem to see if they allow customizing it to suit your needs.

3. Pricing

Some IDEs are completely open source and free, while others have paid licensing beyond an initial trial period. Factor this into your decision based on your budget.

4. System Resource Usage

Heavier IDEs require more RAM, CPU cores and drive space. Make sure your dev machine has enough horsepower for votre chosen environment.

5. Community & Support

An active user community indicates engaged developers and timely assistance with troubleshooting. Mature IDEs tend to have more extensive documentation as well.

Okay, now that you know what to look for in a Linux IDE, let‘s explore some leading options available in 2023!

The 7 Best Linux IDEs for Development

1. Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is an open-source code editor that can be transformed into a full-featured IDE via its robust extension ecosystem.

Out of the box, VS Code supports IntelliSense code completion, debugging, git integration, code refactoring and more for dozens of languages.

But things get really interesting when you install IDE-enhancing extensions like:

And thousands more spanning every language and use case imaginable.

With full IDE functionality unlocked via extensions, VS Code is hugely popular for JavaScript, Python, C++, Java, PHP and Go development on Linux in 2023.


  • Fast & lightweight
  • Fully-customizable via extensions
  • Great built-in terminal
  • Active open source project


  • Plugins can slow things down
  • Less structure out of the box

2. Geany

Geany bills itself as a "small and lightweight IDE" – and that‘s pretty accurate. It‘s got just enough capability to enhance coding, without getting bogged down with bloat.

Geany supports syntax highlighting for dozens of programming and markup languages. It also offers code navigation tools, symbol name auto-completion, project management, basic debugging functionality and more.

The Geany plugins page hosts extensions that add further IDE-like capabilities, from Git integration to Markdown previews and beyond.

Overall, Geany is a fast and unfussy IDE suitable for those who want a simpler, yet more advanced coding environment than a standard text editor.

It may lack some large IDE features, but Geany‘s leanness makes it a great option for lightweight development workflows.


  • Very fast & lightweight
  • Good language support
  • Simple, easy to use UI


  • Less fully featured than larger IDEs
  • Fewer plugins than alternatives

3. Eclipse

Eclipse is a hugely popular open-source Java IDE, with additional support for C/C++, JavaScript, PHP and more. Though beginner-friendly, it delivers advanced functionality for enterprise developers.

For building, testing, debugging and deploying Java applications, Eclipse has fantastic tools like:

  • A sophisticated code analyzer
  • Built-in JUnit integration
  • WYSIWYG GUI builders
  • Maven project management

Developers can further augment capability via Eclipse Marketplace extensions like Subversive (SVN client) and tools for Angular, Salesforce, MongoDB and Android development.

Beyond great Java support, flexible plug-ins transform Eclipse into a multifaceted IDE for many scenarios.


  • Excellent Java integration
  • Mature plugin ecosystem
  • Feature-packed for large apps
  • Free and open source


  • High memory usage
  • UI may seem dated

4. IntelliJ IDEA

IntelliJ IDEA by JetBrains is likely the most advanced IDE available for JVM languages like Java, Kotlin and Scala.

But IntelliJ’s capabilities extend far beyond JVM development to support JavaScript, TypeScript, SQL, Python, PHP, C/C++ and more.

It packs built-in tools like:

  • A heavyweight code analysis engine to spot bugs and errors as you type
  • An intelligent editor with coding assistance and refactoring capabilities
  • Support for latest frameworks like Spring Boot and React
  • Built-in database tools and SQL auto-completion
  • Integrated version control

IntelliJ also manages the full application development lifecycle, from initial prototyping to final deployment.

For enterprise developers working on complex Java applications, IntelliJ IDEA is hard to beat for sheer coding power.


  • Extremely robust Java support
  • Loaded with advanced functionality
  • Great for large, complex apps
  • 30 day free trial


  • Steep learning curve
  • Resource intensive
  • Paid licensing

5. Apache NetBeans

Apache NetBeans is another free, open-source IDE with great support for Java development. It runs on Windows, macOS and Linux.

NetBeans enables building applications in Java, JavaScript, PHP and C/C++. It comes loaded with project templates to get started quickly.

Notable NetBeans features include:

  • Fast and smart code editing capabilities
  • Integrated GUI builder
    -Built-in profiling and auditing tools
  • Support for Maven and Ant projects
  • Top notch HTML5 and PHP support

Additionally, NetBeans allows extending functionality with third-party plugins, though not as extensively as Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA.


  • Free and open source
  • Great for learning Java
  • Easy to navigate UI
  • Good JavaScript support


  • Less extensible than alternatives
  • Older interface

6. PyCharm

As you may have guessed from the name, PyCharm is tailored specifically for Python developers. Made by JetBrains, it comes loaded out of the box with excellent Python support.

PyCharm enables productive Python development with features like:

  • Smart code completion and analysis
  • Built-in debugger and unit testing tools
  • Support for frameworks like Django and Flask
  • Integration with Jupyter Notebooks
  • Refactoring and code navigation
  • Powerful database editor
  • REST client

And that barely scratches the surface of PyCharm‘s capability tailored to Python coders.

Whether you’re analyzing data, building web apps with Django or test automation with Selenium – PyCharm likely has the best tooling to streamline development.

And with integrated container and remote development capabilities, it’s a leading cross-platform Python IDE in 2023.


  • Excellent for Python web and data science development
  • Loaded data visualization tools
  • Great framework integration
  • 30 day free trial period


  • Performance impact is noticeable
  • Steep learning curve
  • Paid licensing

7. Spyder

Spyder styles itself as the “Scientific Python Development Environment” – and that descriptor fits it perfectly.

It bundles a tailored toolkit for interactive computing and data science workflows in Python.

Out of the box, Spyder includes tools like:

  • A multi-language editor
  • Interactive console
  • Data inspection, exploration and visualization capabilities
  • Integrated debugger
  • Static code analysis

Augmented with Spyder‘s plugin ecosystem, you can transform it into an IDE fitting your exact data science needs.

For programmers using Python for data analytics, engineering, academics and the sciences – Spyder is tough to top.


  • Excellent data science tools
  • Lightweight and customizable
  • Great for academic use
  • Free and open source


  • Weaker general programming tools
  • Less extensible than PyCharm
  • Dated interface

Final Thoughts

And there you have it – the top 7 recommended IDEs for Linux development in 2023. From lightweight editors like Geany to full-featured environments like IntelliJ IDEA – there‘s something for everyone based on need.

Here‘s a quick recap of what IDE suits which scenario best:

  • For web development – VS Code, Eclipse or Apache NetBeans
  • For Python coding – PyCharm or Spyder
  • For Java enterprise apps – IntelliJ IDEA or Eclipse
  • For flexibility – Eclipse or VS Code
  • For lightness – Geany or Visual Studio Code

These suggestions are just a guide. The "best" IDE differs for every developer!

My key advice is to reflect on your specific development needs. Then trial a shortlist of options that fulfill them with room for growth.

You might start basic with VS Code – then keep unlocking functionality with plugins as required. Or go all out with IntelliJ IDEA if Java is your thing.

Whatever your IDE preference – I wish you happy and remarkably productive coding on Linux in 2023.

What‘s your preferred IDE for development? I‘d love to hear in the comments below!