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Adobe To Port AIR To Linux 218

Posted by kdawson
from the breath-of-fresh dept.
unityofsaints writes "Up until now, Adobe hasn't done much in terms of porting its applications to Linux, as its only product to have recieved any kind of Linux implementation is Flash. This may be about to change because the company has announced a Linux port of AIR, its web application development software. No definite release date is mentioned in the interview with Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch, just a vague 'later this year.'"
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Adobe To Port AIR To Linux

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  • Bzzt (Score:5, Informative)

    by nacturation (646836) <nacturation@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday February 28, 2008 @01:35PM (#22590058) Journal

    ... a Linux port of AIR, its web application development software.
    AIR is the runtime, it is not web application development software. Flexbuilder build on top of Eclipse is the development software.
     
  • Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

    by krog (25663) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @01:41PM (#22590120) Homepage
    Up until now, Adobe hasn't done much in terms of porting its applications to Linux, as its only product to have recieved any kind of Linux implementation is Flash.

    Adobe FrameMaker has run on more than 10 Unixes over the years, including Linux. Consider this nit picked!
  • Re:PDF? (Score:5, Informative)

    by lexarius (560925) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @01:44PM (#22590136)
    Acrobat Reader works fine on our Linux and Solaris machines.
  • Flash for i386 Linux (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2008 @01:44PM (#22590146)
    Flash for "Linux" isn't really flash for Linux, its still built for i386 architecture so it only works on i386 architecture, not on any of the other hardware Linux runs on...
  • by milsoRgen (1016505) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @01:44PM (#22590148) Homepage
    Just from a quick perusal of The Google, I'm getting a distinct feeling AIR is something of a glorified web browser. So you can run offline and on your desktop? Hmmmm... Does anyone remember Push technology? [wikipedia.org] Or Active Channels? [microsoft.com] It seems a little like that, but heavy on the Web 2.0 sauce. But like I said, this was just from a quick perusal of Google results. If anyone would care to point out what makes AIR, more than a glorfied Browser+AJAX, I'm all ears...
  • No thanks. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Speare (84249) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @01:44PM (#22590150) Homepage Journal

    I've not given Adobe a single dime in a decade*. First it was their overpricing themselves out of all but the students-and-pirates market. Then it was about using their corporate power to influence our government against the valid rights of individuals [freesklyarov.org] who were speaking out about data security and the freedom to read.

    I'm sure some cash went from Canon or Apple to these jackasses, when I bought hardware that bundled their teaser products (which I don't use). I regret even that level of support for Adobe.

  • by KenCrandall (13860) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @01:45PM (#22590162) Homepage
    ...as Adobe has said all along that for Apollo/AIR 1.0 it would be Mac/Windows only. Once 1.0 was reached, then Linux would follow. I'm glad that Adobe's CTO came out and made the announcement, though. This continues to lead credence to Linux being a top-tier platform from desktop/productivity applications.

    I think the REAL interesting part, though, is how AIR relates to an earlier statement made by Adobe's CEO. He mentioned that in the future, all Adobe apps would be on the web. I think that statement was a bit misleading, either through a mis-understanding or mis-interpretation. I think that Adobe is banking the future on AIR as the runtime for all of it's applications (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) This gives them the design capabilities of Flash and web graphics, and a common runtime on which to deploy them. Then, platform independence becomes a reality, as whatever platform has AIR, can run Adobe applications.
  • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @01:55PM (#22590256)
    You say that, and yet there are plenty of proprietary binaries available for Linux. Many distros have huge repositories of "non-free" stuff. Plenty of proprietary vendors make Linux binaries available (e.g. nVidia binary driver, Opera [opera.com], Skype [skype.com], etc. See also this list [wikipedia.org], much of which is distributed in binary-only form).

    Yes, the vendor will probably only pre-compile binaries for the most popular architectures (32-bit x86 being the main one), and only for the most popular packaging formats (deb and rpm). But really that covers the vast majority of Linux users anyway.

    Yes, it's a pain for the vendor to compile/package 2-8 versions instead of just one, but it's hardly the insurmountable obstacle you make it out to be.
  • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @01:56PM (#22590272)
    the newest beta of Picasa for linux is much, much better. Importing from my camera via USB now works, uploading to web albums work now, the performance is almost as good as the "native" windows client, except for a delay in the startup. It takes a few seconds longer to start on my computer. the file management stuff is still a little weird.. Some places it opens up in its own "wine" file browser, others use Ubuntu. In fact, my only real complaint right now is the newest picasa beta for linux still doesn't work with videos. I use my camera alot to shoot short videos in AVI. The windows client has worked with them for quite some time.
  • by jocknerd (29758) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @01:57PM (#22590294)
    AIR is a desktop runtime. When you install an AIR based app, it actually installs an application on your desktop. It just gives the developer the ability to write a desktop app using web technologies (i.e. Flex, HTML & Ajax, Javascript, Flash) rather than using C, C++, etc..
  • Re:PDF? (Score:2, Informative)

    by ElizabethGreene (1185405) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:03PM (#22590358)
    Actually, this is partially incorrect. While Adobe did not initially help out in the linux world, they have since ported the Acrobat Reader, and it works fairly well. In Ubuntu it's available from the commercial-unsupported repository, the package name is acroread. I had to find it because my school DRMs the PDF Textbooks with phone-home Ecmascript, and it only works in the Adobe pdf reader. (not document viewer or evince.)

    -Ellie
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:07PM (#22590410)
  • by Samus (1382) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:09PM (#22590448) Journal
    Not so much a browser but a runtime that allows you to create desktop applications using browser technologies. You wouldn't open the runtime and browse from site to site. An individual site might provide a desktop application that interacts with their own back end but also allows you to access your desktop resources better. Yes you do have to trust the publisher a lot more than when you surf to that same publisher's web site. You are after all downloading an actual program. As for the usefulness of it? I'm not totally sold yet.
  • Bad information (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stan Vassilev (939229) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:12PM (#22590482)
    Up until now, Adobe hasn't done much in terms of porting its applications to Linux, ...only .... Flash. ... the company has announced a Linux port of AIR, its web application development software...

    Wow :)... Few corrections:

    1) Flex Builder [adobe.com] has had a public alpha for Linux for some time now.

    2) There's Adobe Acrobat for Linux/Solaris/Unix [adobe.com]

    3) Most of the servers Adobe offers, like ColdFusion [adobe.com] and Flash Media Streaming [adobe.com] servers are available for Linux/Unix.

    4) Adobe AIR isn't a web application development environment of any sort... that's completley messed up. It's the runtime component of a connected desktop app platform that supports HTML/CSS/JS/PDF/Flash content.

    5) Macromedia (now part of Adobe) has made attempts to commercialize Dreamweaver/Flash/Freehand on Linux before utilizing Wine-compatible releases, but there was no enough demand to pay the bills, so the project was canned. I have the feeling they'll be trying this with selected Adobe CS applications again within 24 months, but it'll be expensive, so the market should show enough demand, and put their money where their mouth is, this time.
  • by mhall119 (1035984) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:18PM (#22590570) Homepage Journal
    That is why they established the Linux Standard Base (LSB) [linux-foundation.org] and freedesktop.org [freedesktop.org]. You say "My software runs on LSB 3.2 IA32 and IA64" and provide a .deb and .rpm for each and be done with it. It's no more difficult that supporting Win32 and Win64 and providing a .exe and .msi for each.
  • by salimma (115327) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:28PM (#22590686) Homepage Journal
    The actual situation is most likely in-between the two extremes posited by parent and GP. Adobe has its own abstraction layer that they program against, so once they have a way to target GTK or Qt with that backend, compiling the applications should be quite straightforward.

    (This layer is likely to be rather complex -- witness how long it took them to bring Photoshop to MacIntel)
  • Re:Bzzt (Score:2, Informative)

    by LostMyPassword (1026642) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:30PM (#22590704)
    The newest release of FlexBuilder (3.0) let's you compile the same codebase down to a .swf or AIR application. This was not the case with version 2 I believe. Adobe is also working on an offering called "Thermo," that will let graphic teams develop skins and UI's in CS3 that will compile down to a Flex application that can be imported into FlexBuilder. I pray that this happens sooner rather than later, because I have had it with our creative team doing all their work in CS3, taking screenshots, and having us implement those in Flex. There are a lot of ideas that graphic designers have that simply amount to putting a square peg in a round hole when slightly different designs or approaches that are native to Flex would take way less man hours.
  • Re:Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:50PM (#22591008)

    Adobe FrameMaker has run on more than 10 Unixes over the years, including Linux. Consider this nit picked!

    Actually Frame Technology Corp. wrote Framemaker and ported it to many Linux/UNIX based OS's, Windows, and Mac OS. Once Adobe acquired Frame Technology Corp. they slowly dropped all the other versions until 2004 when they finally dropped Mac OS (who at the time comprised about half of their user base), making this product a Windows only. They basically put the whole program in the deep freeze with minimal updates to keep things working and no new features while they tried to migrate users to their home grown InDesign which was written originally for making magazines and was very unsuited to technical books (which was Framemaker's main target). In fact, they only recently started up development again (outsourced to India) when MadCap Software announced a new program called Blaze, which was billed as having every feature of Framemaker, but implemented from scratch with many new features and an order of magnitude better performance. As of 2007, they claimed to have no plans to support anything but Windows going forward.

  • by j_sp_r (656354) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:52PM (#22591032) Homepage
    Why GTK? Adobe already uses QT for some of it's applications so the expertise to use that is there
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2008 @04:58PM (#22592810)
    Except that you're wrong. Adobe is actively trying to eliminate the vast majority of their GUI-library dependent code with the EVE2 and Adam libraries. I know these things because I am one of the researchers developing the data-limiting constraint language to be used. It is part of their core internal road-map to move all Adobe projects off of specific GUI dependence. Before any of you start talking "cross-platform", what Adobe wants out of cross-platform is not wxWidgets or the Mozilla-stuff; what they want is very similar to the AbiWord notion of cross-platform.
  • by thechao (466986) <jaroslov@NOSpAm.gmail.com> on Thursday February 28, 2008 @08:47PM (#22595432)
    Most cross-platform libraries attempt to have a single API for all the GUI toolkits, and then write adaption layers from each toolkit to that uniform API. The AbiWord toolkit instead abstracts and isolates cross-platform capabilities with fairly rigorous interfaces, and then writes per-toolkit code for each platform. I know it sounds like semantic quibbling, but the architectures are very different when you look into code. Adobe prefers the second method because they don't have to deal with a lowest-common-denominator like wxWidgets, etc., but also get to leverage as much code as possible. Combining that with the Adam/Eve libraries allows them to offload GUI logic into a declarative language which is easily checked for structural conformance. The layout-engine which actually renders the window (by "render" they mean to convert the declaration into the underlying GUI-toolkit) is written per toolkit.

    In case you're wondering why they took this direction, Adobe has a fairly strong research group called "STLabs"; if you can find their online presence, check out Alexander Stepanov (inventor of the STL to boot!), Mat Marcus, and Sean Parent (Sean is an important driver for all of this).
  • by md17 (68506) * <james@NOspam.jamesward.org> on Thursday February 28, 2008 @11:28PM (#22596712) Homepage
    You can find details on how to sign-up for the beta program on my blog:
    http://www.jamesward.org/wordpress/2008/02/20/adobe-air-on-linux-pre-beta-testers-needed/ [jamesward.org]

    -James
  • by Almahtar (991773) on Friday February 29, 2008 @04:14AM (#22597970) Journal
    Short term that makes sense

    Right about now it'd cost much more than it'd be worth in new sales. However, the market is getting increasingly OS agnostic, and it's not in Adobe's interest long term to stay tied to any OS. The more cross-platform they get, the more versatile they will be to OS changes.

    Just look at Silverlight - it's directly targeted at Flash, and the only reason it'd succeed is because .NET is still king, and the only reason .NET would stay king is because Windows is still king. Silverlight will hurt Flash if it's allowed to grow, and Flash is a big cash cow for Adobe.

    Now that Microsoft is targeting a big Adobe product, Adobe needs to take steps to revoke their support of Microsoft's big cash cows (Windows and Office).

    Since Office is being challenged by web apps and Open Office, Adobe would be wise to help weaken reliance on Windows, and that means showing the world that they can get what they want on whatever OS they choose. Linux is a good next step.

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