Adobe AIR 1.5 for Linux Ships

Adobe today released AIR 1.5 for Linux, available for immediate download from their site. AIR is a cross platform runtime that allows web developers to create offline, desktop versions of their web applications. AIR 1.5 is coming to Linux about a month after the Windows and Mac versions shipped. Probably the most exciting thing for developers about AIR 1.5 for Linux is that because of the way AIR works, any applications that were created for the Windows and Mac versions will run on Linux without any necessary changes or recompiling.

I talked to Adrian Ludwig, the group product marketing manager for AIR at Adobe, about today’s release. Ludwig told me that though Linux is a small community, it is extremely vocal, and has been pushing for broader support from Adobe. For future releases, Adobe hopes to ship Windows, Mac, and Linux versions of AIR in unison.

Speaking to Ludwig, I got the impression that Adobe’s ultimate goal is to create a web application platform that makes the operating system irrelevant. Whether you have Windows, Mac, or Linux, applications built on Adobe’s web development stack using Flash, AIR, and other cross-platform web technologies will function the same.

Essentially, that’s the same future that Google is working toward with their web OS strategy that includes Chrome, Gears, and Native Client. Adobe wants the same future, in which apps run in the cloud (Flash/Flex), can have access to local resources/offline data storage (AIR), and the operating system that runs underneath it all is irrelevant.

That’s a future that should worry Microsoft and Apple. If the underlying operating system doesn’t matter in terms of user experience, then for many consumers, the cheapest choice will likely win — and that’s Linux.

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