Adobe Gives Linux Devs a Blast of Fresh AIR

Adobe announced Thursday the official launch of its Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) 1.5 for Linux operating systems. AIR, a component of Adobe’s Flash platform, enables Web developers to use HTML, JavaScript, ActionScript and Flex, a free open source framework, to create Web applications outside of the browser.

Rolled out as an alpha offering in March 2008, the release of the software from beta means that now Linux developers have the same tools as Windows and Mac developers, whose final versions of AIR were released in November.

“It has feature parity with the version we shipped out a month ago for Mac and Windows. We’re delivering on a promise we’ve been making to our development community around the world to make sure that their applications can be on Windows, Mac and Linux and reach anyone who’s connected to the Web,” Adrian Ludwig, group product manager for Adobe’s Platform Business Unit, told LinuxInsider.

Up In the AIR

AIR 1.0 was released in February 2008. Currently, the Adobe AIR Marketplace offers 340 applications, according to Ludwig.

“We realized three or four years ago that no matter how hard we were to push on the browser by extending its capabilities using FlashPlayer we’d always hit hard limits in specific areas. Some of those hard limits included the security model of the browser, which prevent you from having access to local data,” Ludwig explained.

No matter how wonderful an application is, if it was being delivered inside a browser, users would never have access to local files. In order to give developers the ability to go beyond the browser security model and create applications that could access local files, Adobe moved to take the applications outside of the browser.

“That’s what AIR does. It takes the development model of the browser and of the Web and makes it available outside of the browser,” Ludwig said.

Taking in the AIR

This version offers Linux developers full support of Flash 10 with functionality such as native 3-D transformation and animation, custom filters and effects and extensible rich text layout. In addition, it also offers new features and performance improvements that give designers the ability to create more expressive AIR applications by incorporating the open source WebKit HTML engine and accelerated application performance using SquirrelFish, the new WebKit JavaScript interpreter, Adobe said.

There is also a new encrypted database that offers developers the level of security necessary to meet most enterprise security compliance requirements while storing data more securely on customers’ computers.

“Today is probably the largest influx of applications we have seen for Linux because every app that has been built for AIR works immediately,” Ludwig said.

Adobe AIR 1.5 for Linux is available immediately as a free download. The Linux version of Adobe AIR 1.5 includes support for Fedora 8, Ubuntu 7.10, and OpenSuse 10.3. The Adobe AIR 1.5 for Linux software development kit is also available for free.

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