Adobe Launches AIR for Linux

Adobe has officially released AIR for Linux, pulling it out of its beta status, and complementing the existing Windows and Mac versions, thereby giving developers a complete platform.

Adobe Integrated Runtime tools have been rolled out as alpha since March 2008 and form part of the Adobe Flash platform; it will allow programmers to code in HTML, Actionscript, JavaScript and Open Source framework, Flex, to create Rich Internet Applications (RIA) without relying on a web browser.

AIR 1.5 for Linux supports Flash 10 which means that AIR apps should work in a similar fashion across all three platforms and will allow users to use popular applications like Pandora or Tweetdesk. There are more than 100 million AIR installations on Windows and Mac according to Adrian Ludwig, group product manager for the platform business unit at Adobe.

Two key enhancements that AIR 1.5 brings in are the implementation of Webkit HTML engine which is used both in Safari and Google Chrome web browsers as well as the inclusion of the "SquirrelFish" WebKit JavaScript interpreter which will improve application performance.

In addition, Adobe will also be offering free software development kits (SDKs) for Adobe AIR 1.5, targeting AJAX, Flex, and Flash developers and the company has already said that it will be working to make future versions of AIR compatible with mobile Linux platforms with the next version of AIR expected to be released in 2009.

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu project, stated that "Outside of the browser, developers have traditionally had to choose one or maybe two operating systems when building an application. With Adobe AIR 1.5, companies and developers can easily target all three major operating systems with a single code base."

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Our Comments

It is a shame that only three Linux distributions will be compatible with AIR although AIR will reportedly work with Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop. Adobe and Linux have had a great week with BBC finally releasing a Linux version of the iPlayer. Adobe AIR 1.5 for Linux can be downloaded here. The Linux version of Adobe AIR 1.5 includes support for Fedora 8, Ubuntu 7.10, and openSUSE 10.3, says Adobe. The free Adobe AIR 1.5 SDKs should be available here.

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