Adobe AIR for Linux Beta

Adobe AIR logo

NOTE: Adobe AIR isn't an open source product, but I think it's worthy of covering anyway due to its potential for bringing greater application compatibility to open source platforms.

Building applications that work across multiple platforms is always a challenge, but the web has provided a solution for some of those problems, by inherently being a cross-platform medium.

Sometimes the web isn't powerful enough, however, and there is no replacement for a desktop application.

Adobe's AIR platform is designed to bring the ease of development and cross platform support of the web and combine it with the benefits of desktop applications.

AIR is a framework for Windows, Mac OS X and now Linux that allows you to build lightweight desktop applications. It is worth mentioning that AIR isn't open source, and is obviously designed in part to push Adobe's platforms, such as Flash, which also aren't free and can be troublesome on Linux and Unix systems.

Ignoring that, Adobe AIR for Linux 1.1 Beta was released a few days ago and allows you to run pretty much any AIR application already written on your Linux system.

Unfortunately, the installation is a little cumbersome and could be a stumbling block unless you know how to use the command line.

Adobe AIR setup

The installation does work, however, and AIR applications then seem to run pretty well (I tried Twitter client TweetDeck and it appears to work just as it does on Windows and Mac OS X).

In my book, anything that opens up the Linux platform to more application support can only be a good thing, and despite AIR not being free software itself (it is free of charge, but doesn't meet the FSF definition of free software), I think this is a positive step and definitely worth it if you're already a user of AIR apps on other platforms.

You may want to take a look at the release notes and then download the beta.

Avatar for peter Peter Upfold -

Peter Upfold is a technology enthusiast from the UK. Peter’s interest in Linux stems back to 2003, when curiosity got the better of him and he began using SUSE 9.0. Now he runs Linux Mint 9 on the desktop, runs a CentOS-based web server from home for his personal website and dabbles in all sorts of technology things across the Windows, Mac and open source worlds.

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Discussion: Adobe AIR for Linux Beta

  1. Rob Christensen (guest)

    # Posted on 19 September 2008 at 04:42 PM

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for mentioning the Adobe AIR for Linux beta. One point of clarification, in your post you say "despite AIR not being free software itself". AIR is actually freely available. All you need to build an AIR applicatio is to down the free SDK which is available on Mac, Windows and Linux (beta).

    Thanks, -Rob Product Manager, Adobe AR

    • Rob

  2. Peter (guest)

    # Posted on 19 September 2008 at 05:30 PM


    Thanks for the comment and feedback. I use the terms open source and free software largely interchangeably, to refer to the <a href="" rel="nofollow">Open Source Definition</a> and the <a href="" rel="nofollow">FSF's Free Software Definition</a> respectively.

    In the context of that post, by saying AIR wasn't 'free software', I meant that it didn't conform to the FSF's definition. I believe that is correct; the conditions in the EULA and SDK agreement would make AIR incompatible with that definition.

    I have updated the post to clarify what I meant by that term and made it clear that it is free of charge. I hope those edits make the meaning of that statement more clear.

    I hope this addresses the issue, let me know if there's anything else I can clarify.

  3. # Posted on 19 September 2008 at 07:58 PM

    [...] I reported on Adobe AIR for Linux. What I didn&#8217;t do in that post is show how to install it and applications built with [...]

  4. suresh (guest)

    # Posted on 21 September 2008 at 03:24 PM

    This post is a misfit for a site that is called by the name FOSSwire.Please do not post stuff that promotes proprietary technologies.



  5. Peter (guest)

    # Posted on 23 September 2008 at 05:46 PM


    Thanks as always for the feedback.

    At FOSSwire we do like to promote free and open source technologies, but occasionally we think it's worth covering something that isn't, because it enhances the experience of the rest of the free software stack or makes it a load easier to use mostly free and open source software (e.g. drivers).

    In this case, AIR brings a whole new set of applications to the Linux platform, which has the potential to grow the free platform as a whole, even if it also means promoting a non-free set of software in the short term.

    This is of course a controversial issue on which not everyone will agree. Ultimately, whether you choose to run this or not is up to you. The majority of the time, FOSSwire will cover purely open source stuff.

    On the occasion that we cover something that doesn't fall into that category, it will be made as clear as possible that the software in question isn't Free (as I believe it was in this case).

    I've updated both AIR posts to make it even more obvious of the status of AIR regarding licensing. I hope this is a suitable compromise for these posts - and of course we will resume covering open source applications and solutions for the majority of the time, as we always do.

    Let me know if you have any more questions on this issue.

  6. Vadim P. (guest)

    # Posted on 26 September 2008 at 12:28 PM

    This is a great framework that allows a developer to make a cross-platform application with zero effort on the cross-platform aspect. I think that is a great idea, and I'm loving it.

    See the bookmash app ;)

  7. Vadim P. (guest)

    # Posted on 26 September 2008 at 12:29 PM

    Additionally, the AIR team is actually complying with a lot of the freedesktop 'standards' - which I personally think is great. Not many other commercial applications do that.

  8. sudheer (guest)

    # Posted on 08 October 2008 at 12:00 PM

    soo well

  9. sportember (guest)

    # Posted on 06 November 2008 at 05:04 PM

    "Let me know if you have any more questions on this issue."

    With including proprietary technologies among Free and Open Source Software (that is, FOSS for short), FOSSwire is cleanly betraying it's own name and identity.

    However Adobe's AIR technology is sexy and technologically efficient, it is still Adobe's property. FOSS software is about giving software to to public. Mixing the two is directing people from their own interes to Adobe's interest.

    Adobe has a bad history of supporting FOSS software. In fact, they did nothing useful for the FOSS community; but they own the largest current proprietary threat to it: the embeddable Flash platform is presumably the most used technology that stands between FOSS acceptance and the general public.

    Therefore, I would like to suggest the usage of the Cortado streaming applet ( to FOSSwire as a preferable technology for embedding video into it's blog, as it allows FOSS users to experience FOSSwire without proprietary compromises. Using Adobe's technology is enforcing the readers to use proprietary software, and encoding FLV media needs patented technologies such as mp3, etc. The Cortado applet allows to stream the patent-free OGG media to the public.

    FOSSwire is a great media to read, I would like to enjoy it at 100%, without compromises.

  10. Peter (guest)

    # Posted on 06 November 2008 at 06:00 PM


    Thanks for your comments.

    I'm aware already of some opposition to the inclusion of these Adobe AIR posts, so I'll be looking very carefully in future about whether to cover similar technologies. I'm going to discuss the wider issue of covering non-free things with the rest of the FOSSwire team.

    I'm sure you'll agree it is a very complex wider issue - for example with proprietary drivers often becoming necessary in certain hardware and software configurations.

    I've also passed on your suggestion about Cortado to the whole team and it is something that will most definitely be taken into consideration for a future upgrade to FOSSwire's video component.

    I would like to just point out, however, that it is possible to watch FOSSwire's video content with purely free/open source software today, albeit not with the streaming element.

    Each video page always contains a link to a Theora file that you can download to your desktop and watch from there with any suitable program.

    I appreciate, though, that the Flash embedded player is far from an ideal solution for people who choose only to run FOSS.

  11. Vince (guest)

    # Posted on 15 December 2008 at 01:49 AM

    If Adobe will support standards (SIP, RTP, etc), standard formats (.wav, .ogg, etc), friendly codecs (g.711, Speex, etc) and provide raw access to the media streams (audio and video)then Adobe Air is very interesting.

    As it is the media streaming is locked down and very proprietary.

    • vc

  12. # Posted on 10 August 2010 at 05:56 AM

    I just wanted to try out the BBC iPlayer and stopped when it asked me to download Adobe Air. After some research I first found Appcelerator Titanium and OpenLazlo as FOSS alternatives. But thanks to wikipedia lists, I found even more:

    Unlike Flash, those kind of things are only just starting up, so I think it's really important to push the FOSS alternatives now, especially since they are already available.

    P.S.: Apparently entering my email address for my openID profile is mandatory to post here (even though it said optional when I signed in!).

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