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Adobe breathes AIR for Linux

By Paul Krill
December 18, 2008 12:00 PM ET

InfoWorld - Adobe Systems is extending on Thursday its AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) technology to Linux desktops.

Previously available for Windows and Macintosh, AIR is Adobe's free technology that enables delivery of Web applications that also can run outside the browser; it lets Flash programs run on the desktop. The Linux version of the software can be accessed here.

The company is making Version 1.5 of AIR available for users of the OpenSUSE 10.3, Fedora Core and Ubuntu 7.10 or higher open-source Linux distributions. AIR 1.5 also has worked on Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop, but the company has not tested it on this implementation of Linux.

"We're experiencing nearly 100 million installations of Adobe AIR on Mac and Windows by the end of this year," said Adrian Ludwig, group product manager for the platform business unit at Adobe. "That strength of platform across Mac and Windows is going to make it very easy for developers to build applications that will end up running on Linux as well."

AIR 1.5 for Linux is arriving a month after it became available for Windows and Macintosh. Future versions of AIR will arrive simultaneously for all three platforms, Adobe said.

AIR applications can access local data and receive activity notifications from the Internet in the background. For example, the Fox News AIR application offers a pop-up window to inform users of a new show. "It changes from having to have [the Fox News] Web site front and center," Ludwig said.

"There's an element to being able to work offline because you don't need to be connected the way a browser requires," he said.

Linux penetration on the desktop was estimated at less than 5% overall by Forrester Research's Jeffrey Hammond, senior analyst for application development. But by putting AIR on Linux, Adobe believes it is addressing a situation in which it has been difficult to build applications for the Linux client, Ludwig said.

Hammond emphasized that developers are an important part of the Linux desktop contingent.

"Even though the rates of desktop usage for Linux are low, I think there's a high percentage of developers and application development decision-makers that are part of that group," Hammond said. "What AIR 1.5 for Linux does is knock down one more hurdle that would keep them from committing to it as a strategic cross-platform technology. It allows them to make a technology decision while keeping their options open."

Adobe with AIR also is enabling developers focused on cloud-based deployments to have more power on the client, Ludwig said.

To build AIR applications, developers can use Web development technologies such as JavaScript, HTML, ActionScript and Adobe Flex. The same AIR installer runs on Linux, Windows and Macintosh.

Reprinted with permission from InfoWorld. Story copyright 2012 InfoWorld Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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