Adobe AIR and Linux: Increasing Distribution on Devices

As the market for applications is increasingly led by mobile devices, Adobe is investing more in simplifying app development and deployment for mobile operating systems.  By the end of 2011, we expect that there will be more than 200M smartphones and tablets which can download and run Adobe AIR apps, including devices running Android, BlackBerry Tablet OS and iOS.

The recent release of Adobe Creative Suite 5.5, including Flash Builder 4.5, enables developers to deliver their experiences on the web and as apps across all the major mobile platforms, as well as popular television, Blu-ray player and set top box platforms.  We’re committed to working with our partners to bring Adobe’s runtime technologies to the platforms and devices that are important to end users and developers, including new hardware and operating systems as they come to market.

To support the variety of Linux-based platforms across PCs and devices, we are prioritizing a Linux porting kit for AIR (including source code), which Open Screen Project (OSP) partners can use to complete implementations of AIR for Linux-based platforms on PCs, mobile devices, TVs and TV-connected devices.  We will no longer be releasing our own versions of Adobe AIR and the AIR SDK for desktop Linux, but expect that one or more of our partners will do so.  The last Adobe release of AIR for desktop Linux is AIR 2.6.  By focusing on the porting kit and support of partner implementations, we expect to provide broader support for AIR across Linux-based PCs and devices, whereas our own desktop Linux releases have accounted for less than 0.5% of lifetime AIR downloads.

Existing AIR applications will continue to work on Linux PCs provided they target AIR 2.6 or below, and users may continue to use their existing AIR applications without interruption. However, users will not be able to install applications or apply application updates (including security updates) that require a later version of AIR, unless and until such later versions are released by an OSP partner.
We will of course share more information about any partner plans to support AIR for desktop Linux.  In the meantime, for more information please review the FAQ.

85 Responses to Adobe AIR and Linux: Increasing Distribution on Devices

  1. Olivier says:

    Ok for dropping AIR runtime for desktop Linux. But why dropping the SDK support????
    So if I want to build AIR apps for win, mac or devices I MUST use win or mac station. Doesn’t make sense to me. I hope Adobe won’t do that for Flex, really.

  2. Pingback: Adobe Abandons Air for Linux | Simb & Company

  3. Wayne Shuster says:

    LOL. This is a pretty clear admission from Adobe that Air itself is in trouble. Companies do not redistribute developer resources like this when a project is doing well.

    Like Microsoft with Silverlight, Adobe appears to (finally) be realizing that the future of the web is in standards based HTML technologies.

    Mark my words, Flash is next.

    • Matthew Fabb says:

      My understanding is that the Adobe AIR and Flash teams has had huge amounts of growth in order to support the increasing number of mobile platforms. It makes sense that to increase AIR to more mobile platforms such as WebOS (mentioned in the FAQ) and possibly even Windows Pone 7, that costs of AIR & Flash continue to ballon. So Adobe has cut desktop Linux because of what little uptake there has been there and hope that perhaps the Linux community might pick up some of the slack. I don’t think this says anything to do with the health of Adobe AIR or the Flash Player team.

      • Couldn’t agree more. This is not the end of AIR on Linux desktop- simply a new distribution model (and one more in line with how Linux software distribution operates).

    • Sujay says:

      I have a different take on this. I think Adobe flash platform has great potential – if only Adobe can itself believe in that.

      Adobe – increasingly like Microsoft – is not following through with its own innovations. Going through the recent Shantanu Narayen (Adobe CEO) interview – it was apparent that rather than supporting Flash – he was justifying that Flash is a very small part of Adobe – trying to imply that if Flash loses its market penetration, it won’t affect Adobe.

      About HTML5 – I strongly believe that technology is being reinvented. I mean look at the “awesome” games built using HTML5 – feels like I am back in the Y2K era. As an ex-Flash dev, I can bet that anything that you can build in HTML5 can be done in a better way in Flash. The lack of courage from adobe coupled with the flash-hatred from Apple leaves little hope. I hope Adobe gets its act together.

      And Flash for Linux – come on – if you can set it up for a Mac (unix-based) – how difficult is it to port it to Linux? I think the biggest problem is that Adobe lacks the vision to do what it is capable of….

  4. Shawn says:

    So, Adobe changing support for a DESKTOP runtime, somehow tells you that Adobe has realized that HTML5 is the the future for the WEB?

    Grasping at straws much? I don’t see what one has to do with the other.

    To me this indicates that Adobe has realized that they need to focus all their efforts on the true future of AIR, and that is as a cross-platform runtime for Mobile Devices.

    Timing is key, and they don’t need to be burning resources supporting features for Linux that 99.5% of people are not using.

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  7. Gary says:

    Wayne: nonsense my friend. AIR is or should be doing great (does anyone have hard numbers?) It’s probably the best runtime there is for crossplatform apps, across all the platforms that matter (shame about linux) and with a choice of html/css/js or actionscript development. AIR is in a very strong position right now – way stronger than a few years ago.

  8. Eky says:

    AIR for everyone….???, DEFINITELY NOT!

  9. samba says:


  10. Jon Rose says:

    Sad day for Flash / Flex in the enterprise, and particularly those of us who have invested in enterprise tools, like FlexMonkey. Our user can no longer live the full dream of test driven development, as this will eventually break 99% of the continuous integration deployments our users have in production. I love everything Adobe is giving us in mobile, but this is a major blow to the platform and those of have advocated its use in serious development shops.


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  13. Oscar says:

    This is a BLACK day.
    I had faith in Adobe, as THE ONE company who understood the wish of THEIR developers, and fully understood the benefits to create CROSS PLATFORM applications. I loved Adobe for that. Developing cross-platform, including Linux, was my motivation to specialize in Flex.

    Now THIS?

    decisions. Should I drop Adobe too, and convince others with this loud & clear motive provided by Adobe self?
    Or put faith in companies like, who understood what Adobe was missing in the first place?

    Bad move, Adobe

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  20. Bluespear says:

    Goodbye Flex, ActionScript, Flash. Remember Silverlight / Moonlight ? This is going to be the same with AIR and Flash for Linux

    I am a Linux user running 64 bit system and I do not want to have a plugin wrapper to be able to see an animation or a movie.

    Flex was the only remaining product still usable under Linux (for development) and since no debugging plugin or standard plugin has been published for months for 64 bit Linux, I will definitely move my projects to HTML5.

    Hopefully your decision will make devs create decent charting libs which will definitely make Flex ininteresting 🙂

  21. manny says:

    should really start considering about open sourcing this stuff, like java, etc..

    No reason not to.

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  27. Steven says:

    You can’t be serious about that announcement! The main feature of AdobeAir is platform independency and now you get lose of linux? That is unbelievable!

  28. Adam Ness says:

    I guess that fixes it. I’m using Titanium for all of my cross platform desktop and mobile development from here on out. Sorry Adobe, been nice playing but developing on Windows is a pain.

  29. Pingback: Adobe scraps AIR for Linux, focuses on mobile - SHADI HANIA

  30. J. Alan Atherton says:

    Wow, Adobe loses points from me on this one. I specifically chose Flex+AIR because I can develop in Linux for other platforms. Lots of developers prefer to use Linux given the choice because developers are tinkerers by nature.


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  32. BN says:

    This will definitely take some steam not out of Linux… but out of flash. It is a bad move, and a bad way to announce it. Adobe could perhaps have shifted some of the development work to OSS developers, but could have kept up the front by distributing the results seamlessly. Air is now only-sorta-cross platform. And now essentially unsuitable for Kiosk development.

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  43. Fernando S says:

    such a shame, I guess Air cannot be called multi-platform anymore…

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  45. Warren Young says:

    I hope Adobe doesn’t apply this same download-numbers thinking to the Flex SDK.

    We use the Flex SDK exclusively on Linux, because our software is built on and runs on Linux servers. This software has a web front end, and some of the components in that front end are built with the Flex SDK. We download each SDK just once, then mirror it internally to each of our development systems.

    The thing is, though Adobe is seeing just one download from us, that one download represents thousands of mostly Windows and Mac users. It would be a colossal mistake for Adobe to assume that small Linux download numbers indicate a small market. I assure you, Adobe, our use of Flex is keeping Flash Players up to date on a great many machines that otherwise wouldn’t stay updated.

  46. linuxluvr says:

    Since Android is just Linux in drag with a funky Java-like runtime, it seems that cross-compiling support for both is, while not trivial, then doable with minimal resources. But Adobe’s AIR releases for Linux so far have been buggy, error-prone, and with limited bits. And then Adobe says that Linux take-up is disappointing?

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  50. bone says:

    volverán con el rábano metido atras, en menos de que cante un gallo

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  52. suvi says:

    With our without air, my desktop stays on Linux.

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  58. RainCheck says:

    Air is poor, regardless of platform, its uptake by app developers is minimal, and 90% of the ‘apps’ that do exist are just readily available webpages given their own window,

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  61. The Fake Bill Gates says:

    If only Linux support was more than lip service

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  66. Mario says:

    NO!!! keep support for ubuntu please adobe please! I hate windows!

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  68. Jeremy says:

    I’m perfectly happy to have the various Linux distributions package their own versions of AIR. I myself am a heavy user of AIR and want the platform to continue to see support on Linux.

    Here’s what worries the heck out of me:

    I don’t think Adobe as a company UNDERSTANDS the Open Source world. Looking at the Open Screen Project site it expects you to be a CORPORATION in order to “license” and distribute the content. Open Source projects are (mostly) NOT corporations.

    Can someone please explain how “Joe Developer” who likes to use Fedora AND Ubuntu can get permission to create packages for AIR 2.7?

    If someone can take it upon themselves to do this, AIR’s future in the OS world will be fine.

    If Redhat (Fedora) and Canonical (Ubuntu) have to independently “license” AIR and devote resources to creating packages JUST for their users, AIR on Linux is doomed. Especially the 200+ distributions that don’t have any corporation behind them.

    By the way, I’d be happy to be Joe Developer in this scenario and support the packaging for all the various distributions I want to use.

    • Jeremy says:

      To test my own assumptions, I just tried to apply to the Open Screen Project to redistribute AIR for Linux and was rejected in 5 minutes. I think we’re in trouble.

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  71. Jon Rose says:

    Sad day for Flash / Flex in the enterprise, and particularly those of us who have invested in enterprise tools, like FlexMonkey. Our user can no longer live the full dream of test driven development, as this will eventually break 99% of the continuous integration deployments our users have in production. I love everything Adobe is giving us in mobile, but this is a major blow to the platform and those of have advocated its use in serious development shops.

  72. Daniel says:

    I’m sorry to hear this, but honestly…I tried to install AIR on my Ubuntu, but had to give up. For some reason you have made the installation fairly complicated, and I’m afraid that this is why many have given up on AIr in it’s current state. I do support your products and want to use them, but I was hoping for a release that would correct this issue soon (though this was already a while ago), so I would be able to install it.
    I really hope that you will reconsider.

  73. Ezekiel Partida says:

    I downloaded Adobe Air for linux on 3 of my computers, but to be honest, most of the Adobe Air Apps that I downloaded didn’t work.

    Is that linux users fault?… I don’t think so.

    I have migrated more that 45 friends to linux and they are VERY happy with Linux, Mostly Mandriva and now Mageia Linux, some Ubuntu.

    So, why should I install Adobe Air for linux on all of my friends computers if around 2% of the Air apps that I downloaded worked on Air for linux?.

    I tried those same applications on Windows and they worked fine…

    I have a rule that if there’s a program that I don’t use in my computers, I go ahead and uninstall it.

    I hope that Adobe reconsiders and make Adobe Air the best app for linux, only then they will have more support.


  74. SBS says:

    I have downloaded and it was ll work . I have needed for creat apps on Blackbarry and Iphones and is a good step from Adobo to make more or the Phone Software.

  75. Pete says:

    Most people who take software development seriously nowadays want to include automated functional tests as part of an automated build process – and many of these people use a linux build server to accomplish this.

    The people who Adobe are upsetting as a result of this decision are not primarily end users of Adobe AIR applications but rather people who have been developing Adobe AIR applications.

    This probably means that we need to decide between migrating our build servers from linux to windows or not using Adobe AIR in future projects.

  76. Amos Batto says:

    I find it sad that Adobe has decided to abandon desktop Linux, so AIR applications won’t run on my Debian system or on any of the 14 Linux desktops in the development and support department at the software company where I work.

    This decision just strengthens my conviction that I should never tie my future to proprietary technology. Since 1999 when I started using WordPerfect 7 on Linux, I have learned that I cannot rely on proprietary software, because the companies that offer it for the Linux platform won’t keep supporting it. Over and over, I have seen proprietary software companies abandon Linux on a whim, and we have no recourse because we can’t get access to the source code to maintain the port to Linux. Let this be a lesson. Don’t tie your future to a proprietary software product.

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  78. Mujuni Amos says:

    Relay i have tried my best to download adobe flash player on my laptop but all in vain .am using Linux .what should i do?