The Adobe AIR runtime is a technology developed by Adobe that allow users to use Web applications on the desktop. Simply said, it is the Adobe version of Yahoo Widget and Google Desktop Gadget. While Adobe claimed that this technology can be run across various operating systems, in actual fact, it is only tested to work in Mac OSX and Windows. Linux, as in most cases, is left out of the picture, at least for the time being.
For Linux – particularly Redhat, SUSE and Ubuntu users who are keen to install the Adobe AIR on your systems, Adobe has released an alpha version of the Adobe AIR For Linux for you to try out. However, note that this is only the alpha version and it is not feature complete. AIR applications that run on the Mac and Windows version may not run on the Linux alpha depending on the features used by that application.
Install Adobe AIR for Linux on Ubuntu Gutsy
(This installation guide will also work for Redhat and SUSE, and maybe in some Debian based distribution)
Download the installer file from http://download.macromedia.com/pub/labs/air/linux/adobeair_linux_a1_033108.bin to your desktop (or your home folder).
Right click on the installer file and select Properties. Under the Permission tab, check the box “Allow executing file as program“. Click OK.
Double click on the file to start the installation. (If it does not run, right click on the file and select ‘copy‘, then paste it in the terminal and press Enter)
Once the installation finished, you can start to install AIR application. All AIR application has a .air extension. Here is a list of sample applications that work in AIR For Linux. If you are adventurous enough, you can try installing the AIR applications in the Adobe Exchange and see which one works.
To uninstall the AIR application, click on the .air installer file again. This time, a window will pop up to ask if you want to uninstall the app.
To uninstall the Adobe AIR For Linux, you can either type
dpkg -r adobeair-enu
in the terminal, or remove it via the Synaptic Package Manager (search for adobeair-enu).
For Redhat users,
rpm -e AdobeAIR_enu
Some third party AIR applications that I have tested (and worked):
1) Xdrive Desktop Lite – A desktop client to access Xdrive online storage (Xdrive services is no longer available)
2) Spaz – A twitter client
Follow me at http://www.twitter.com/MakeTechEasier
3) Google Analytics Reporting Suite – check your Google Analytics from your desktop
Do let me know if you have tried out other third party applications that worked.
Some issues that I faced:
1) Whenever I install a new AIR app or run an AIR app, my window border and title bar will go missing. I have to press Alt+F2 and enter the command “gtk-window-decorator –replace &” (with two dashes in front of the replace) to restore the border and title bar. I don’t know the cause yet, but the easy way out is to create a launcher on your desktop to restore the gtk window decorator
2) The Adobe AIR for Linux is mixing up the .air file extension with .zip. Whenever I open a zip file, the default program will be AIR Installer and when I clicked on an AIR app installer, the archive manager pops up. I have not found a solution to this yet. The only thing that I can do now is to right click, select “Open with” and choose the correct application.
3) The application does not save the password, even though I checked the “save password” box. I have to enter the password every time I load up the application.
Adobe AIR for Linux alpha will expire on March 1st 2009. Hopefully by then, a stable Linux version of the AIR will be available.