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How to Install Latest GNU Nano in Linux

Nano Editor for Linux
Written by Divine Okoi
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GNU Nano is a free, open-source command-line text editor for Unix-like operating systems. It was designed to be an easy-to-use replacement for the Pico text editor – a Ncurses-based editor that was part of the non-free Pine email client.

GNU Nano was built to emulate Pico and thus, is keyboard-oriented and can be controlled with keybindings. Unlike Pico, however, it uses meta keys to toggle its behavior and features pointer devices (e.g. a mouse) for positioning the cursor, among other functions.

Features in GNU Nano

  • Free and open-source text editor
  • Available on Unix, GNU/Linux, and macOS.
  • Syntax coloring.
  • Line numbering.
  • Undo/redo.
  • Soft-wrapping.
  • Auto-indentation and tab-completion of filenames.
  • Interactive search and replace with Regex support.
  • A go-to line (and column) command.

GNU nano has been steadily getting updates with major bug fixes, feature updates, and a performance boost. The latest was released on August 24 and codenamed “Ranrapalca“.

What’s New in GNU nano 5.2 “Ranrapalca”?

  • Hitting a toggle at the Search prompt does not clear the answer.
  • No more crashing after making replacements to a large paste.
  • Using --positionlog does not complain at the first start.
  • A macro containing a Search command will not fail sometimes.

Install GNU nano on Linux

GNU nano ships with some operating systems so you might already have it. You can confirm whether you do by running a simple version command:

$ nano --version

GNU nano, version 4.8
 (C) 1999-2011, 2013-2020 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
 (C) 2014-2020 the contributors to nano
 Email: [email protected]	Web: https://nano-editor.org/
 Compiled options: --disable-libmagic --enable-utf8

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The above command shows nano version 4.8 on Ubuntu 20.04 and Linux Mint 20. The new nano version will be available soon via the system updates.

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If the command does not return the version number, you need to install it using the following commands.

$ sudo apt-get install nano   [On Debian/Ubuntu & Mint]
$ sudo dnf install nano       [On Fedora/CentOS]
$ sudo pacman -S nano         [On Arch/Manjaro]

If you want to install the most recent version of nano, then you need to compile it from its source code, you can get its source code from download page.

That’s it, folks! Are you an avid GNU nano user? I know people who swear by it. Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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About the author

Divine Okoi

Martins Divine Okoi is a Cybersecurity graduate student with an enthusiasm for open-source software. With over 700 articles under his belt, he continues to recommend the best software that the market has to offer.