Frequently Asked Questions


Why a new editor? Why not work on Atom, or contribute to Visual Studio Code?

We stopped working on Atom and started on the foundations of Zed when we realized that we couldn't shape Atom into our vision for the ultimate editor. While we respect and appreciate the innovations brought by Visual Studio Code, we never found ourselves loving it enough to give up on the dream. Ultimately, we think we're going to add the most value to the world by creating something new. It's also a lot more fun.

Will Zed be free?

Yes. Zed will be free to use as a standalone editor. We will instead charge a subscription for optional features targeting teams and collaboration.

Will Zed be open source?

We'd like to be as open as possible while maintaining the ability to run a profitable business. This probably means some kind of "open core" model, where the editor is available under the GPL but other parts of our system remain proprietary. The timeline and exact strategy are still uncertain at this stage.

How can I download Zed?

Currently only Insiders can download Zed. You must either be invited from the Waitlist or be invited by an Insider. We are constantly adding waves of new Insiders from our waitlist, so hang tight! Adding people in groups allows us to continually get feedback as we develop Zed so we can build the best editor possible.

Will Zed only be available on macOS?

We're focusing on a single platform for now because we're a small team. At our current scale, maintaining additional platforms would represent a big cost without much additional learning. We plan to support Linux and Windows before 1.0, and to support a web version some time after that.

Will Zed be extensible?

We plan to make Zed extensible via WebAssembly, but we're taking a different approach than we did with Atom. Our goal is to make Zed fast, stable, and collaborative first, extensible second. We'll be taking a more conservative approach with our APIs to ensure we can preserve our core values even as users add extensions.

Will Zed have an enterprise version?

This isn't something we're worrying too much about right now, but we anticipate adding enterprise-focused features eventually.

Privacy and collaboration

Are collaboration sessions hosted on a server?

All interactions between collaborators are proxied via our servers. This ensures much greater reliability than peer to peer connections and is simpler to implement. It's also important for the business we intend to build around collaboration.

What data gets sent to your servers?

If you don't authenticate, we currently send nothing to our servers.

If you are authenticated, you can still open a project in "offline mode" by clicking the lock next to your project in the contacts panel. At that point, we record the fact that you have a project open, but no other details. If your project is online but you don't have any guests, we send the name of its root folders along with a count of files for each file extension in your project.

We currently default projects to "online mode" because we want it to be easy to collaborate for the first time, and we're worried that forcing you to take a project online adds extra friction. You can change this by setting projects_online_by_default to false in your settings.

What data is stored during collaboration?

Currently, very little. The only data we store in our database is the count of paths with different file extensions in a project so we can learn what kinds of projects people are editing in Zed. We store project paths in memory only during the collaboration session. All other data stays with the host and is proxied through our servers when requested by a guest. We intend to add the ability to record editing sessions, but we'll make it clear when we do this. Again, if your project is "offline" we will respect that and not send anything about it to our servers.


Is Zed a for-profit company?

Yes. We sold equity in our company to investors to enable ourselves to give Zed the focus it deserves.

How will you make money?

We plan to monetize optional network-based services integrated into the editor. The editor itself will be free to use.


Why not use an existing Rust GPU library?

When we started on Zed the Rust UI framework space was much younger. In absence of a mature solution that met our exact needs, the simplest path for us was to build it ourselves. We're too far into things now to change at this point. We also like our framework. It's working well for us.