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15 June 2011, 11:11

Adobe stops porting AIR to desktop Linux

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Adobe has announced that it will no longer be releasing its own Desktop Linux port of the Adobe AIR runtime or SDK. AIR is Adobe's platform for rich internet applications. AIR 2.6 will be the last version directly supplied by Adobe for desktop Linux; Adobe has just released AIR 2.7.

The company will instead focus on supplying a "Linux Porting kit for AIR" to partners in its "Open Screen Project" (OSP) programme – those partners will be able to customise and integrate AIR more directly with their Linux-based platforms.

David McAllister, Director of Open Source and Standards (OSS) at Adobe, said in the announcement that he had, in 1999, predicted a 10-15% market share for desktop Linux in 2005 but this had not come to pass. The company had, for example, seen only 0.5% of Adobe AIR downloads for desktop Linux and generally saw a flat growth curve of around 1%.

With Android growing rapidly in the mobile OS market, Adobe has decided to reallocate resources and will focus on supporting the implementations from OSP partners. "This move will allow us to focus our platforms on the future of Linux clients – on mobile devices" wrote McAllister, who went on to prioritise improving performance and enhancing capabilities, compatibility and stability for those mobile Linux devices.

Another blog posting, this time from Adobe's AIR and Flash Player team, gave more details on future compatibility. AIR 2.6 is the last Adobe supported release for desktop Linux. Existing AIR applications that target AIR 2.6 will continue to work on Linux systems, but updates, including security updates, that require a later version of AIR will not be installable unless an OSP partner releases an appropriate port of AIR for a particular Linux platform. The AIR team hopes that by supporting partners, they will actually "broaden the support" of AIR on Linux-based PCs and devices. The company provides further details in an FAQPDF.


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