Last Updated: December 8, 2022

ActiveState Komodo IDE Now Open Source

I have some news. Some of you might have seen this coming. Some of you might have been too busy trying to get Komodo started on OSX.

We all know it’s best to rip the bandaid off, so let’s get started.

The News

ActiveState is officially retiring both Komodo IDE and Komodo Edit and open sourcing Komodo IDE.  This has been a long and difficult decision. In coming to our conclusion we wrestled with a number of factors:

  1. Mozilla retired the framework Komodo is built on, XUL and XULRunner, back in 2016.
  2. Komodo is built on a rather old version of Mozilla, which is beginning to show its age on new releases of various OSs.
    1. For example, notarizing Komodo in the OSX ecosystem is currently not possible since it’s built on an unsupported version of Xcode and the OSX SDK. For most independent developers this likely isn’t an issue, but it’s a non-starter for ActiveState’s enterprise customers.
  3. The amount of work to extend an EOL framework or even rewrite Komodo using a newer, supported framework just isn’t viable.
  4. There are so many free code editors which means it’s not a good business to be in anymore.

Komodo IDE has a vocal, dedicated community of users. It’s a set of users that have often helped us by contributing features and bug fixes to Komodo, or assisted other users by answering questions in the forums. For this reason, we’ve decided to open source the code.  We feel releasing the code to the community is the right thing to do. It follows Komodo Edit, which has long been open sourced under the Mozilla Public License.

Komodo Retirement

Komodo’s retirement means ActiveState will cease to develop code or create builds for Komodo IDE and Komodo Edit. This means ActiveState will no longer provide new features/functionality, and will no longer create fixes for bugs or security issues.

Open Source Komodo IDE

ActiveState is open sourcing the entire Komodo IDE code base, minus the revision history.  That’s 3.2 million lines of sweet sweet, Python, JavaScript, XUL, HTML, C++… (you get it…there’s a lot of code and languages involved)!

The Komodo code base is accessed through its github.com repository, which you can clone and use as you see fit.

Komodo Forums

ActiveState has committed to keeping the community forums up for at least a year from the date of this post. We are also willing to export the content to be hosted elsewhere if anyone is interested in taking on that management task in the community (obviously, just the threads and not personal user information. We’re not in the email list market).

The extensive existing help information in the forums can act as a significant knowledge base for users and continue to be a central place to ask questions of the community and receive answers. I’ll very likely be there periodically on my own time to help where I can, such as when people are trying to build Komodo at home, or having difficulty making any kind of code edits.

Interesting Komodo Trivia

  • Komodo is over 20 years old with twelve official major releases.
  • It has had only 3 full team changes in those 20 years (I personally think that’s impressive!), and after the first initial releases those teams were never bigger than 3 developers and 1 support engineer.
  • It has transitioned between 3 different version control systems, HG > SVN > GIT.
  • ActiveState contributed the PyXPCOM code to Mozilla’s XPCOM framework, which added Python to the list of languages that you could communicate between when using Mozilla. In other words, we could write C++, JavaScript, or Python code and have it talk to all the other code.

In Closing

I’ve been working with Komodo for some time now.  I started as technical support in 2011 with little to no development experience, slowly moving to the development team over the intervening years. I’m genuinely sorry to see Komodo retired by ActiveState but the software product lifecycle is a reality every company needs to deal with. We’re sad to retire something so important to our company and its history, but trying to manage the support burden while keeping up with the free editors out there has become unrealistic.  BUT I am/we are EXTREMELY happy for the opportunity to open source the code. It’s been fun to work on a project that spans so many languages, contributors, and has such a passionate user base.

By open sourcing Komodo, ActiveState wants to say thank you to the many users we’ve had over the years.  We’re hopeful you can find uses for the code.

And finally, Nathan Rijksen, the last lead engineer on Komodo, wrote an amazing blog post tracking the UI history of Komodo: The History of Komodo, A Trip Down Memory Lane – ActiveState.  Have a look at how Komodo has evolved over the past 20 years!

So long and thanks for all the shoes!

Next steps:

Visit the GitHub repository for Komodo and prepare to join the community!

Other Komodo Links

Komodo IDE & Edit | Forums

The official forums for Komodo IDE and Komodo Edit.

Learn more >

Komodo Documentation

The User Guide for the latest version (v12) of the Komodo IDE.

Learn More >

Komodo Open Source License

Komodo IDE has been open sourced under a Mozilla Public License.

Learn More >

Carey Hoffman

Carey Hoffman

Carey made the logical switch from snowboard instructing and treeplanting to the technology industry in 2009, taking database and network administration at Vancouver BC's BCIT college. Having started out on the technical support and QA team for ActiveState he now works on the Komodo development team as a front and backend software engineer.