AIR Out Your Desktop with Adobe

Cross-platform never looked so Flashy.
Remember the Milk Notifier

RTM Notifier logs in to your on-line account and notifies you of upcoming tasks. I noticed a few graphic glitches running it under Linux, but the program itself is fully functional.

Figure 9. Remember the Milk Notifier is a popular on-line task manager.

RTM Notifier—works under Linux AIR 1.1 Beta: mostly.

Sam's Interactive Reader

This is a children's program that reads with young readers interactively. There also are activities and the ability to download additional content. Pricing for additional content varies from free to slightly more expensive than free.

Figure 10. I'm a sucker for childhood literacy, so I really hope this program works better by the time you read this.

The functionality of this program is not consistent. Sometimes it won't load at all, and sometimes it starts almost enough to use. I included the app, hoping it works well when AIR for Linux is no longer in beta.

Sam's Interactive Reader—works under Linux AIR 1.1 Beta: almost, but no.


MyMediaPlayer is an application that interfaces the Web site and makes it easy to navigate and display hulu videos.

Figure 11. MyMediaPlayer makes the already-simple even simpler—assuming it works by the time you read this.

Under the Linux beta of AIR, this application does everything but actually play the videos. The menu navigation is easier than using the Web site, and I expect it to be a great application once AIR gets out of beta.

MyMediaPlayer—works under Linux AIR 1.1 Beta: almost, but no.

Pandora Desktop

If you use Pandora to listen to music, you know how inconvenient it can be if you accidentally close the browser window. Several Pandora AIR applications exist in the wild, and assuming the actual playback works once AIR is out of beta, this application will be awesome. It even integrates in the Linux notification area on the taskbar.

Figure 12. Pandora is a Web application just begging to be a standalone app.

As with the other apps that play back media, Pandora apps don't quite work yet. By the time you read this, it should be an application you won't want to forget.

Pandora Desktop—works under Linux AIR 1.1 Beta: almost, but no.


FotoBooth is an application written in Flex that allows you to take photos with your Webcam. It supplies real-time effects you can apply to the photos and allows for uploading directly to Flickr.

Figure 13. FotoBooth is a clone of Apple's PhotoBooth, with Flickr integration.

FotoBooth has a complex history. It exists as a Web-only Flash application and several versions written in AIR. Some of the versions work under Linux, and some don't. Again, hopefully by the time you read this, it will be a moot point.

FotoBooth—works under Linux AIR 1.1 Beta: yes.

Almost Equal-Opportunity Development

Because countless numbers of AIR apps are available, I'm certain I missed many that you would appreciate. The best place to search for new AIR applications is the Adobe AIR Marketplace (see Resources).

There is a significant chance that you'll want to create your own custom program as well. Fear not, because Adobe also offers tools that allow developers to create their very own AIR apps. Granted, the tools available for Linux developers aren't as robust as those available for Windows and Macintosh users, but the upside is that the Linux tools are free—well, at least for now.

Folks familiar with the Eclipse IDE can download the free (currently alpha, currently free, although that might change) Flexbuilder plugin. It interfaces with the extremely well-known Eclipse program to give Linux users a method for creating AIR apps. If GUI programming environments don't impress you, AIR apps also can be created with a simple text editor.

When you add the simplistic installation method, the cross-platform homogeny and the availability of (albeit rudimentary) development tools for Linux, Adobe AIR is a platform that levels the playing field a bit for those who prefer Linux. Most encouraging of all, at least for me, is that Adobe is paying attention to Linux in a way that has never before been witnessed. And, that kind of Flash really gets my attention.


Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.


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Adobe still treating Linux like the poor stepchild

Ard Righ's picture

I think the article speaks for itself, when it notes the Linux AIR software is version 1.1 beta, and Windows and Mac have a release quality verion 1.5

This is the same issue I, and I suspect quite a few others, have with Adobe's Flash software. The plugins, especially the 64-bit ones, have been 'beta' for so long now.

If Adobe was actually serious, their linux releases would all be the same release quality and versions as Windows and Mac OS.

'future releases are planned to come out simultaneously' is PR spin for dangling a carrot and seeing how far they can get the donkeys to follow.

2 bad examples

Manzabar's picture

MyMediaPlayer was replaced by MyMediaPlayer2 but Hulu's already made changes to kill MyMediaPlayer/MyMediaPlayer2 and according to the developer, he's not going to try fixing it again anytime soon.

Google Analytics Reporting Suite does not appear to be available from the Adobe AIR Marketplace any longer. At least, I cannot find it anywhere on the site and the developer's site refers you to yet another website which doesn't have a download available.