Adobe AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) is a runtime for building Internet-connected desktop applications with offine storage. It’s been available for Mac and Windows for a while, and now an alpha (non-feature complete) Linux version has been released. I tested it out in Ubuntu 8.04.

AIR requires a fairly recent Linux distribution, GNOME or KDE, and a RPM or Debian package management system. To get transparency effects, you need a compositing window manager such as Compiz or Metacity with compositing.

To install AIR you need to run Adobe’s installer. Download the installer:

Open a terminal and change to the directory where you downloaded AIR, in my case, the desktop:
cd Desktop

Set the installer file as executable:
chmod +x adobeair_linux_a1_033108.bin

And run it:

AIR installer

After the install, you’ll find the Adobe AIR Application Installer under the Applications->Other menu. This simply opens a GNOME file dialog for you to browse to a AIR application to install. AIR installer files (.air) are associated with the installer, so you can just double click them to install.

Adobe provides some sample applications, I installed the ScreenBoard sample (lets you annotate anywhere on the screen), which worked well. It’s launcher was added to a new Application menu category called AIR Examples.

AIR annotation app

Two unoffical AIR applications, DiggTop and WebSnapshot, failed to install because the files were reported to be corrupt.

Next I attempted to install Pownce’s AIR application, just because I think it’s one of the best known. I don’t have an account, but from what I could test it’s working.

Adobe has come though after promising AIR for Linux for since the Windows and Mac versions were released. It’s not yet compatible with all AIR applications, and there aren’t that many to begin with. AIR is definitely alpha-quality, if you don’t need it for a specific application then you shouldn’t bother to install it yet.

Now, I have a question. The AIR installer requires root privileges to install to /opt. I ran it as my normal user, and was not prompted for my sudo password. The install still completed. Anyone else notice this or know what’s going on?

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