Monday, April 7th, 2008

Adobe Releases AIR for Linux, Joins LSF

Category: Adobe

>Adobe continues to expand its support for the Linux platofrm by announcing the release of the Adobe AIR runtime for Linux. This expands the ability to deploy AIR desktop applications to the three major operating systems (Windows, OS X & Linux) while still using the standard web technologies developers have become accustomed to.

This release of AIR for Linux will be supported on the following distributions:

  • RedHat Desktop Linux 4
  • RedHat Enterprise Linux v5
  • Novell Desktop Linux 9
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10
  • Ubuntu 6.06

and the following features are available with this release:

  • Runtime/Application Install/Update and Uninstall.
  • HTML Loader with JS support to render HTML within AIR applications.
  • Local Database APIs
  • File system support with support for user folders like Desktop/Documents etc.
  • Desktop Integration with Drag and drop, clipboard support
  • Windowing support with System chrome none/standard
  • Basic transparency
  • Menu support with context menu, menu bar, pop up menus and menu events.
  • Networking
  • Network change detection (Event.NETWORK_CHANGE )
  • System wide idle detection (userIdle Event)
  • NativeApplication APIs
  • Capabilities (OS) API
  • Mouse events
  • Detection of running application (InvokeEvent.INVOKE)

Adobe has posted a FAQ to provide detailed information about this new product release.

Adobe Joins Linux Foundation

In addition to releasing AIR for Linux, Adobe has also joined the Linux Foundation to “collaborate on the advancement of Linux as a leading platform for rich Internet applications (RIA) and Web 2.0 technologies.

“Adobe’s decision to join the LF is a natural extension of its commitment to open standards and open source, which demonstrates its leadership and foresight in the software industry,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. “Adobe’s membership will contribute to our goal of increasing even more application development on Linux with a specific emphasis on Web 2.0 applications.”

“Adobe delivers key RIA technologies for Linux users, such as Adobe® Flash® Player and now Adobe AIR™, to deploy RIAs in the browser and on the desktop,” said David McAllister, director of standards and open source at Adobe. “The Linux Foundation is a valuable resource, providing a forum where we can work with the community to ensure Adobe RIA technologies are compatible across the Linux software platform.”

This announcement further solidifies Adobe’s commitment to the linux community, having already released server-side products that work natively on the Linux platform.

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“This announcement further solidifies Adobe’s commitment to the linux community, having already released server-side products that work natively on the Linux platform.” – Except for the fact that their CS3 suite has no native linux support.

Comment by tj111 — April 7, 2008

Commitment to the linux community? Lets see the checklist:
– An alpha release an year after the release for every other platform? Check
– An obscure installer, which fails on a modern linux distribution, such as an ubuntu 7.10? Check
– Succinct error messages (during installation), which do not help? Check
– A delayed release for flash 9, after years of ignoring the community? Check
– Support for deprecated libraries (v4l), while ignoring new ones? Check
– Bugs, which to this day are still open (cookie problem with the flash player)? Check
– Numerous high-profile applications, which are yet to see the light of day for the linux platform? Check

Yes, great commitment that, keep up the good work

Comment by urandom — April 7, 2008

At least they did something for you Linux guys. I’m not sure I would have even bothered.

Comment by Jon Hartmann — April 7, 2008

A couple years ago Linux on the desktop was a very tiny market. It has grown tremendously and the fact that leading desktop application vendors are starting to notice it is a good thing. I’ve not been able to experiment with AIR so far so don’t really know what the buzz is about. Now that it “works” on Linux I can start testing it.

Adobe: I bought the web developer studio package in ’99 (Photoshop 6, Illustrator 8, etc) and I haven’t upgraded because new versions don’t work in Linux. I’m ready to upgrade if you’ll please provide me a product that runs in Ubuntu.

Comment by newz2000 — April 7, 2008

Unlike Windows or Mac, Linux does not have a standard API, standard set of libraries, standard way to install apps… list goes on and on. Linux on the desktop is mostly a geek’s toy, or a specific choice for specific tasks, which leaves it out of interest for most companies that make money by selling their software or services to a broad user base. Linux users should be happy that they have at least some attention of the companies like Adobe.

Adobe is a large commercial player on a very profitable market. They make money, they care not about all that open-source. They play with open source because it helps them make money, and they will stop doing that immediately if that will bring no more money. They being part of LSF or anything else is no more than a business decision; it has nothing to do with openness or free software in general.

So why the buzz?

Comment by ingdir — April 7, 2008

Whether you like the buzz or not,

Adobe as a company has dedicated engineering resources in an aim to release its widely installed and adopted runtimes on Linux. In this case AIR for Linux is not but a little over a month behind the Windows and Mac operating systems. Flash Player 9 was about a year behind, but we are working diligently to bring all releases (for AIR and Flash Player) in sync.

This is a major engineering investment from a large software vendor, and you think the effort would be appreciated. I travel the world telling developers about Adobe technologies, and I regularly hear the request for Linux support. As a company, we start to deliver, and this thread fills with nothing but criticism. Instead, the message I read here is that Adobe is wasting their time and shouldn’t event try.

I see that the open, community-driven nature of the Linux community is alive and well here on Ajaxian.

Specifically to urandom,

It sounds like you had problems installing the AIR runtime. I’m sorry to hear this occurred. General feedback on the private beta on Ubuntu support has been positive. Did you capture the details of the problem? Did you file that on the public forums? Do you have the Linux engineering knowledge to lend a hand? I can arrange more direct access to engineering if you’re willing to pick up the community flag an run with it (khoyt _@_ adobe _._ com).

Kevin Hoyt
Platform Evangelist
Adobe Systems, Inc.

Comment by parkerkrhoyt — April 8, 2008

@ingdir
All linux distributions conform to the POSIX specifications. Nothing is more standard than that. You can bet that any distribution that comes with graphical applications has the GTK library installed. Even KDE centric distributions have GTK installed. Also, the LSB states that the RPM package format is standard on distributions, and almost every distribution is capable of installing RPM packages. Most likely, only OSX has a standard way of installing applications, as even Windows has different installation libraries that developers can use (InstallShield, MSI). Furthermore, most computer companies tend to focus on specific user base, adobe included (originally, targetting graphic designers, and lately web developers). Furthermore, I don’t give a rat’s ass whether a program is open or closed source, as long as it runs natively. And everyone knows they are here to make money, even from the linux crowd. Your points seem quite moot.

@parker
There were no details. The installer just stated that it failed (An obscure “An error has occurred”). Trying it again today, the runtime installs fine, so I have no idea what caused that error (the system itself hasn’t changed at all). It’s a bit puzzling why the installer installs directly into /opt, instead of asking the user for an installation path, since it is sometimes preferable to put alpha or third-party software in the user home directory (like ~/.local or something). And a general suggestion is to always generate some detailed log file during installation. There was no log file when the error occurred last time I tried to install the runtime.

Comment by urandom — April 8, 2008

I think you are seeing some frustration over Adobe’s past record with supporting Linux. People are wondering if Adobe’s renewed support for Linux is going to be just the same as the past (read: patchy and uneven). The ball is in Adobe’s court here.

The problem I have is with the contradictory comments in the Linux Foundation announcement. Zemlin is talking about commitment to open standards and open source, while McAllister is talking about vendor lock-in proprietary software. Also most of the Open Source software listed on http://opensource.adobe.com/wiki/display/site/Home is tied into proprietary components, namely the flash player or AIR runtime. It looks like Adobe is willing to take steps in the right direction, but isn’t quite ready yet to let go of the vendor lock-in. FOSS with vendor lock-in isn’t very useful.

Open standards are useful and Adobe’s work with turning PDF into a real open standard is much appreciated. It is time that Adobe made Flash and .swf into a real open standard which every can freely implement. This could create a RIA standard which everyone could get behind without fear of handing either fate over to a powerful 3rd party, be it Adobe or Microsoft.


Simon

Comment by SimonEdwards — April 8, 2008

Why does java get a free ride from the web developer community when it is just as closed as flex?

Anyway, I’m glad adobe is giving more attention to the linux platform. This is a win for everyone as far as I’m concerned. Less users are locked out of adobe-based solutions, and developers have more options.

Comment by Joeri — April 8, 2008

Linux is an almost missed opportunity by Adobe. Facing Silverlight and Microsoft Express Studip it is good to see, thing are moving forward. Pitty it took so long for Adobe to realize how easily they could loose their multimedia web dominance.

Comment by OndraM — April 8, 2008

@Joeri
Because Java isn’t as closed as Flex. Nowhere near. Java has a *huge* ecosystem of software and businesses around it, and it is also Free Software / Open Source under the GPL which also keeps the hippies happy. ;-)

@OndraM
You said it. As a web developer I want a way of doing rich web applications, but I don’t want to have to choose between the MS lock-in or the Adobe lock-in. Adobe could bust the whole RIA area open once and for all, and kick the web up a (big) notch by following Sun’s lead and opening up the Flash standard (player would be nice too) and building a real ecosystem and community around it. And I don’t mean a community which is dominated by one big dictator.

Comment by SimonEdwards — April 8, 2008

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