Adobe Breathes Air 1.5 into Linux

Dec 19, 2008

Adobe, maker of Photoshop and Flash, has released version 1.5 of its AIR platform for Linux. The software allows Web users to run so-called Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) without resorting to a browser.

AIR stands for Adobe Integrated Runtime, a single package that includes old favorites such as Flash Player and Apple's WebKit Engine. The AIR platform, therefore, is especially interesting for developers using well established Web technologies who want to write applications concurrently on Linux, Windows and MAC OS X.

Development on Flash Player brings in version 10, with its 3D content, video and animation, ActionScript and Flex framework. The WebKit engine handles HTML and CSS, and JavaScript runs with the increasingly favored SquirrelFish engine. The new AIR also includes a special, encrypted database for enterprise app developers.

According to Adobe, companies such as DIRECTV, Fox News and the Nasdaq are using AIR to deliver high resolution videos and other content to its audiences. Adobe itself even provides AIR as the basis for its Kuler color theme generator.

Adobe wants to make AIR a key element of its Flash platform and thereby hold back its Java and Microsoft Silverlight competitors in the ever increasing Web 2.0 market. Of course, it wants to promote its own products: which professional Flash animator without much fuss can currently avoid a Flash license? Still, Adobe assures users that Linux still plays an important role, emphasized by Adobe's continued participation in the Linux Foundation.

Adobe AIR 1.5 is available for free download here, along with useful tools such as a Dreamweaver plug-in and an SDK. Officially only 32-bit versions of the older Fedora 8, Ubuntu 7.10 and openSUSE 10.3 distros are supported, even if the components are running on a current Linux. With a bit of tweaking, the package can also run on a 64-bit system.

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