Adobe AIR on Linux: Pre-Beta Testers Needed

Adobe AIR is a cross-operating system runtime for deliverying rich Internet applications on the desktop. Developers using Flex, Flash, HTML, JavaScript, and Ajax can easily build applications for the desktop using Adobe AIR. As of today there have only been releases of Adobe AIR for Windows and Mac but Adobe is committed to also delivering a version for Linux. This is great news for developers like me who use Linux as their primary desktop operating system. The Adobe AIR team is now in the phase of development where they need a handful of additional testers to begin testing initial builds of AIR on Linux. If you are interested please answer the questions below in an email to helptesterairlinux at adobe dot com.

1. Are you comfortable working with prerelease software that is not yet feature complete?

2. Will you be able to submit bug reports on issues that you find back to our development team?

3. How many hours a week can you spend testing on Linux?

4. What is the primary distribution of Linux that you’re using? If you are using more than one distribution, please list.

5. Will you be developing applications on your Linux machine (as opposed to writing on Windows and testing the applications on Linux)?

6. What other operating system are you using, if any (Mac, Windows)? Can you compare the behavior of AIR for Linux with AIR for Windows and AIR for Mac OS?

7. Are you working on an AIR application today? If so, please describe.

8. Are you primarily a Flash, Flex or JavaScript developer?

9. What is your name, company name and email address?

Unfortunately at this point not everyone will be accepted into this pre-beta program however there will be public betas when the pre-beta has been sufficiently tested. And at that point maybe we will finally know whether penguins can fly when given AIR.

  • John

    smtp server is returning
    550 No such user – psmtp

    Probably not a a valid email address

  • Hi John,

    Well that is one way to weed out people. ;) I’ve fixed the email address (which apparently changed last night). It is now: helptesterairlinux at adobe dot com

    Let me know if that works. Sorry for the hassle.


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  • I plan to run and test on the Ubuntu desktop. I don’t plan to develop on Ubuntu really, since I love my Mac. Our company has some AIR apps (internal) already developed, in development, and on the drawing board – as always. :)

    We’re primarily a Flex and Flash house. We use Mac OS X, Windows, and two of us use Ubuntu a little.

  • Hi,

    I am not an AIR developer but a full time Linux user desperately waiting for AIR on Linux. I use Ubuntu both on my desktop and Laptop. I don’t boot on any other OS unless I need to use AIR apps (in which case, I use Windows inside Virtualbox). If you want, I can do the beta testing for you.

  • Hi Krish,

    Please email helptesterairlinux at adobe dot com with the answers to the questions above. Thanks!


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  • John

    Yes, it’s working now.

    Thanks James.

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  • Stephen Gentle

    When will we see a 64bit version?

  • Hi Stephen,

    I’m not sure when there will be a 64bit version. You should join the pre-beta so that you can communicate directly with engineering and product management about that.


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  • Slack5

    Funny, I just looked at their website yesterday to see if they had a linux version.
    Glad to hear it’s in the works (finally).

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  • i’am an flexer developer .using flex in ubuntu and windows.want be pre-beta tester for AIR

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  • Jorge Antonio Díaz Gutiérrez

    I’ve been waiting for it since a while. It’s a great new!!!!!

  • Hey James,

    I am a full-time Linux user and our company does need to start working with AIR integration. Please let me know if you need an additional tester.


  • Hi Ric,

    Follow the instructions above if you are interested. Thanks!


  • I want test the prerelease of adobe air on linux, i use linux regulary.
    I’ve create my distrib from a grml distribution (debian).

    I love all adobe products.

  • is there any chance that air will ever be open sourced??

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  • Hi asdf,

    Adobe is constantly evaluating how to be more open. Currently AIR includes some open source pieces – Tamarin, SQLite, and Webkit. How do you feel consumers and developers would benefit from AIR being open sourced?


  • Uri

    Hi James,

    asdf seems to have lost his train of thought so I’ll answer for him.

    I think the easiest way to see the benefits of source availability is look where it was already done. Firefox is conceptually similar to AIR in that it is a runtime environment that should be able to run and display content everywhere. There’s no doubt that Firefox benefited tremendously from being open-source:

    – ported to many platforms
    – well-integrated with native technologies on each platform
    – extension development and optimization is aided by availability of source code
    – wider and more effective security audits and faster fixes

    I think AIR can equally enjoy each of these benefits. Users also benefit from being able to run a local patched version, for example to make it work better with their hardware (video / webcam / game controller / etc.)

    Of course you can never predict what smart applications people will come up with once they can tinker with the code. Integration with composited desktops? Performance improvements in para-virtualized machines? Or some other cool idea we can’t even imagine now.

    Any piece of code that you do not intend to sell and does not contain trade secrets becomes more useful and valuable when released as open source.


  • Hi Uri,

    Thanks for your thoughts. I agree with those benefits but that also needs to somehow be balanced with cross-platform consistency – which has always been critical to Adobe. I think that is where the rub is.


  • Uri


    You’re right of course. But I’m sure cross-platform consistency is just as important to Sun, and it still released the code to Java. That’s also the situation with Mozilla: even though the source code is available, the overwhelming majority still use the official Mozilla builds, and only a very small minority actually change the code and build their own version. Those that do probably do it for things like debugging HTML or extensions, profiling, and fixing bugs – changes that can be merged back upstream. You simply don’t see anyone offering their own modified Firefox version, because consistency is important to the users as well.

    Likewise with AIR, I’m sure that almost everyone will choose to use Adobe’s official builds on all the supported platforms. The very few that don’t will probably do so for a good reason and will know they’re responsible if their client doesn’t work. The much bigger change is that AIR might be available on platforms Adobe did not intend to support, and while the port may not be perfect I think it’s still better overall than not having it available on those platforms at all.

    I’m not saying open-sourcing AIR is essential, AIR is useful with or without the source code, it’s just a little more useful with it.


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  • guest

    i expect air to be just a sucking linux port as is flash. go on releasing your closed source work. its just disgusting from a users point of view. then why should i care about your other products?

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  • @Guest: You really help Linux community members look like serious technologists; right on leva.

    @Everyone Who Cares: When I mentioned Linux is coming to AIR at a PHP-based conference recently people got pretty excited. I know this is a great step and a right step.

  • noirbizarre

    James, I agree with you that most users directly use the official Firefox binary.
    But I think the real benefit of open-sourcing is not customizing but portage.
    Open-sourced projects give the user the ability to recompile it for special architectures.
    As a common use case: 64bits architectures. Most of the binary only softwares aren’t usables for 64bits architecture.

    Another benefit, is inclusion into the Linux distribution. If you want AIR work out of the box on Linux, open-source is the only way. Binary only will only be available as unofficial installation and not very well integrated into the distribution (for most of them). And that, I think it must be a major argument for Adobe.

  • All good points. Thanks noirbizarre.

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