Gedit is a free text editor (under gpl license), utf-8 compatible. It is provided by default with the gnome graphical environment. It has been designed using the gtk library in order to have a simple and clean graphical interface, inspired by the ideals of your gnome project.
Gedit has also been ported to windows and mac os x, however the windows version is less tested than the first versions and contains more bugs and incompatibilities than the first ones.
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Gedit plugins are written in c or python. It is not necessary to restart it to activate new plugins, however it is necessary during the installation of new plugins. There are gedit-plugins or gedit-extra-plugins or gedit-code-assistance packages depending on the distribution.
In these plugins, you can quote for example embedded terminal which allows to integrate a console in the side or bottom panel. Or synctex which allows to support synctex, to synchronize the editing of latex files and the pdf file produced by compilation.
Among these features, let us note the syntax highlighting, appreciated by developers, compatible with the computer languages c, c++, python, perl, xml, java or html. Several advanced options will allow you to customize this coloring according to your needs.
It also offers more common tools such as search and replace function, undo last actions or line numbering, useful to find your way in high documents. Gedit also features automatic spell checking.