Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Linux Users Are Closer to Building AIR Apps

Category: Adobe

Adobe continues to update the AIR runtime and SDK to make it a strong cross-platform candidate for building desktop apps. Support for the Linux operating system has been a bit of a sore spot for the AIR team but they’re working hard to address that as evidenced with their release yesterday of Adobe AIR for Linux Beta.

The AIR for Linux FAQ goes into a lot of detail to explain what is being provided in this beta and it does state that this version is feature compatible with both the Windows and OS X versions of the runtime & SDK.

AIR on Linux officially supports the following distributions:

  • Fedora Core 8
  • Ubuntu 7.10
  • Open Suse 10.3

If you’re interested in providing feedback about this release, Adobe has the AIR Support Center available to discuss any quirks or comments.

Posted by Rey Bango at 9:23 am
11 Comments

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This is fantastic news! Being able to use apps like Kuler directly from the desktop in Ubuntu will be a lot more convenient. Since I’m an avid Linux supporter I had largely ignored Air because of its cross-platform compatibility problems. I’m glad to hear they are making progress, and it’s certainly piqued my interest.

Comment by Adoleo — September 17, 2008

I don’t see what the excitement is… The whole Linux ecosystem is based on Free software. When something is broken, someone files a bug, it gets fixed. With AIR, that’s not the case… you hope and pray Adobe does something about it, and they usually don’t. For example, WMODE in most browsers is still messed up in Flash. It took Adobe years to release a decent Flash player for Linux… and I’m still not sure they have even done that yet.
All that’s going to happen is Adobe will release AIR for Linux once in 5 years, users will complain about how AIR doesn’t work on Linux, Adobe will ignore them, and marketing people get to say that AIR is so great because it’s cross platform. How exciting and newsworthy!

Comment by candrews — September 17, 2008

@candrews: You’re missing the point: Adobe is starting to give a f*ck about Linux. While I agree that open software is necessary for a proper Linux ecosystem, the fact is there is some proprietary software that is quite useful but will never be released as (F)OSS. Software providers caring about Linux is a great thing, even if it’s not happening under perfect community circumstances.

This could also mean the start of Adobe’s migration of some of their other apps to the *nix world, which would be great for Linux users who still have to dual-boot to use the likes of CS3. Adobe’s software is often the number one reason people still use Windows or OS X instead of full Linux; though sometimes it’s just for the games.

Comment by MichaelThompson — September 17, 2008

@MichaelThompson:

Let’s hope that the Gnash guys will clone adobe air, so we can get a usable implementation.

As I understand it, Adobe air is essentially flash using webkit as a browser with some local file system added.

Should be easy to do.

Comment by chrisdk — September 17, 2008

I constantly hear this whining from Linux users complaining about that Adobe does not release any of their top products for their platform. Now they do and they complain its not open source etc. WTF!

Oh, and by the way, this made me laugh out loud: “When something is broken, someone files a bug, it gets fixed. “

Comment by Jeria — September 17, 2008

@Jeria @MichaelThompson
I’m not sure why that’s so funny – it’s very true! When bugs are reported, they are fixed – and in big and popular projects, they’re usually fixed quickly. Just look at gnome, firefox, and webkit as some examples.
And I, along with a decent number of other Linux users, would never complain about how X, Y, or Z doesn’t run on Linux. I couldn’t care less if Adobe never made any software run on Linux – I’d prefer it! I don’t need any more proprietary software – I don’t need a Flash player that sometimes works, sometimes crashes, and no one is accountable for. I don’t need an OS that blue screenscreens for no apparent reason. What I do need is software I can complain about productively, software that my business can rely on (so if I need something fixed and the community isn’t interested, I can pay someone to fix it), software that I can freely distribute, and software that I know will never bitrot. To me, and many others, it’s not about what runs on Linux – it’s about Freedom.

@chrisdk I also hope Gnash or swfdec become AIR compatible at some point… but then again, it isn’t worth much if the entire Flash ecosystem doesn’t become Free. If I have to license Flash compiler/producer or whatever it is from Adobe, and all that entails… what use is a Free runtime?

Comment by candrews — September 17, 2008

And here was the firefox version of the bug, just for completeness’ sake: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=218223

Comment by mdmadph — September 17, 2008

“when bugs are reported, they are fixed”

Right. And Santa Claus is coming to us soon.

Comment by Jeria — September 17, 2008

There are even real (!!!) bugs on the Linux bugtracker that have been there for many years and never got fixed. I’m a big Linux fan and I’ve been using Linux for 5 years as my main OS but in the open source world there is also one person who decides what will be in the mainstream releases. In the Linux kernel developers community that is still Linus Torvalds. Some kernel developers have made great patches for the Linux kernel which could give the Linux kernel huge performance advantages (like the CK patchset for instance) but Torvalds refused to put those improvements in the mainstream kernel. And sure you can path your kernel yourself with those patches but the fact still remains that there is still one guy that is calling the shots. So there aren’t that big of differences between proprietary and open source on that fact.
.
I think it’s a great thing that Adobe is porting applications to Linux. I even hope they do that with their other apps to, like Photoshop and Dreamweaver. This would be a great plus for Linux to attract more Windows users who are using Windows for those applications. Like someone above said: finally a software company that gives a fuck about Linux. And for your information: Adobe has a public bugtracking system.

Comment by AriesBelgium — September 17, 2008

@mdmadph I’m CC’ed on that bug :-) And it seem unclear which of Adobe or Mozilla is the cause of the bug. But seeing as how it happens on Webkit browsers (Safari, Chrome, etc), my bet is on it being Adobe’s issue. That bug is proof to my point – Free Software can’t, shouldn’t, and usually won’t fix bugs in proprietary software. The problem is Adobe’s – they should fix it.
The bigger the bug, the faster it gets fixed. I’m willing to bet the multiline title bug didn’t annoy people, so it wasn’t high priority. If it did, it would have been fixed. Heck, I never heard of it… and I look at Firefox’s bugzilla a lot, and develop for the web frequently.
Just look at Firefox’s security record versus Flash’s. Those are serious problems that impact a lot of people – and Firefox beats Flash every time in releasing fixes.

Comment by candrews — September 17, 2008

@candrews:


If I have to license Flash compiler/producer or whatever it is from Adobe, and all that entails… what use is a Free runtime?

Adobe offers a free and open source compiler and framework:

http://opensource.adobe.com/wiki/display/flexsdk/

There are also third party compilers (some open source).

mike chambers

mesh@adobe.com

Comment by mikechambers — September 17, 2008

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