'AIR everywhere' declares Adobe

Adobe Systems plans to extend its AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) software to Linux later this year, as it migrates the technology to an increasing number of platforms.

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Adobe Systems plans to extend its AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) software to Linux later this year, as it migrates the technology to an increasing number of platforms.

AIR enables RIAs (rich internet applications) to run offline on the desktop. The recently launched AIR 1.0 is limited to Windows and Macintosh systems. But the company is already doing more than looking for users to help it test its alpha-format Linux version; it's also looking ahead to running AIR on mobile devices.

Mobile as a whole will grow in its emphasis, Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch said. "I believe [the emphasis] is going to shift in the next few years where we're actually going to start talking about mobile first and making it work on the big screen [afterwards]."

Adobe said it was a matter for its partner Apple whether AIR would be extended to Apple's iPhone. However, Shantanu Narayen, Adobe CEO did say Adobe wanted to see AIR ubiquitous on different devices. "Our goal is AIR everywhere," he said, adding "we're excited about seeing it on iPhones".

Adobe has also hit back at security concerns about AIR raised by Microsoft.

"There is a significant risk in letting web applications run loose outside the browser security sandbox. [Microsoft] Silverlight applications run within the browser security sandbox," Microsoft has claimed.

But AIR features modifications to enable applications to run securely, Michele Turner, Adobe vice president of platforms, retorted. "It's not that it's running wild and free on the desktop. We kind of created our own sandbox," she said. AIR applications run with the same security model as any exe executable file. Also, AIR applications are signed by the developer, she said.

Microsoft stressed its own "dramatically different" approach to development as an alternative to AIR.

"We are building a true development platform, not just a player or a browser," the company said. "This platform spans Windows to the Web and includes emerging surfaces, such as the media/living room (Xbox360, Media Center PC), as well as mobile devices. Even though each surface has differing capabilities and form factors, our platform enables easy repurposing through shared tools and project formats. Having unified tools, languages, and markup allows developers and designers to 'learn once and apply everywhere.' "

Microsoft technologies in this space include Windows Presentation Foundation and Silverlight.