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Adobe Software is putting the future of Linux AIR in the hands of OEMs, admitting its own attempts to promote the Flash-based media runtime on Linux have had very little impact. The company has said it plans no new versions of the AIR runtime or development tools for Linux. Adobe seems to believe AIR stands a better chance …
... we're going to lose a wonderful platform from a company that produces a sloppy web media platform and a bloated document viewer.
Adobe should learn from this - Air didn't take off because Linux only has a 1-3% user base, it's because their code is awful; the number of "critical" flaws that pop up in the news is worrying. A lot of us switched from Windows because of that crap, and good riddance to it.
In order to use WIMP (a music streaming service like spotify). I had to install AIR and it works fairly well. I have to go back to piracy again then. Fat chance Wimp will make a native linux player.
When flash works on linux, there cant be much work supporting AIR, it is just a runtime for flash outside the browser.
Look at the Mozilla crash stats for Firefox on Linux
Look at how often libflashplayer pops up there.
Adobe can't even write a flash plugin that works reliably on the main Linux web browser! What makes them think "Air" will be any better. And yes, while it works more reliably on Windows, how many times in the past two weeks have I had to update both my windows browsers with new flash versions? And new versions of Acroread.
If HTML5 kills Flash and delivers security and stability, as well as cross-platform operation, I'll be happy.
The only reason it seems less buggy on Windoze is Firefox sandboxing the crashy pile of shit! My PC essentially stopped crashing as soon as Mozilla locked Flash in it's own little jail. And it still manages to leak system memory that cant be recovered without rebooting.
Epic fail. No-one will miss it.
I use it for a few apps, formerly for BBC iPlayer (luckily there is get_iplayer) but what about those that have to use the BBC iPlayer Desktop? Guess they are now high and dry.
This means that Adobe can no longer claim Air is a way of having apps across platforms, and now I am stuck once again with Linux only apps.
I'm cross, but not because AIR is going, but because it is proving the trend that is making Linux a less suitable OS for ordinary users.
BBC iPlayer was one of the few platforms for content delivery with content expiry that actually worked reasonably well.
The reason why this is important revolves around the perfectly understandable attitude of the content owners wanting to protect their content, and thus their existence.
Like it or not, free content is not the way that the world is going, and the large production companies investing millions in current TV series and films will not license their content for delivery channels unless those channels at least make it difficult to capture and re-distribute it. And strictly speaking, get_iplayer accesses the content in a manner against the terms and conditions for iPlayer.
This means some form of DRM. Without a trusted DRM mechanism, you won't get _legal_ streams or downloads of new content playable on Linux. Without big-name current media, those enlightened ordinary users who try to use Linux will give up. So goodbye to Linux as a creditable Windows alternative.
One of the fears that the content owners have of Open Source platforms (and this includes Open DRM and content delivery platforms, not just the OS) is that someone can take the source and hack it to allow data capture. They will never trust it, so unless AIR remains closed-source (which is perfectly allowable under GPL/LGPL provided it is written correctly), it will become untrustworthy, at least to the content owners.
Whether a closed solution is actually any more secure is an interesting question, but that is a matter of perception and contract law (if you provide some software for a fee, and it fails to do what it is meant to, leading to a financial loss, then it does not matter what the License Agreement says, there may well be legal redress against the provider).
Open source makes no promises, has no contract, and thus has no legal redress.
Sadly, despite efforts from people like Red Hat and Canonical, I think Desktop Linux has now missed the boat. It is clear that the world will/is moving on to tablet and mobile based devices which include some form of content delivery and control system built in from the very beginning. These may be Linux/UNIX based, but they aren't what I call a general purpose Linux device, which is what I want.
Let's face it, the day of cross platform development is past. There are now the following ideological camps:
1. Windows (C#, C++ with MFC)
2. iOS and OSX (Objective C)
3. Andoid (Dalvek Java)
4. Linux (nasty macro infested open source C)
No-one who develops for the 3 that aren't Windows will want the beauty of development for 'their' platform to be compromised and no-one who develops for Windows cares about the minority platforms.
Anyone who needs things to be run on multiple things will target HTML5 and the impoverished interface that gives you.
Yeah you can just hear all that chatter from Redmond not caring about the tiny minority of developers working on iOS/Android for smartphones and tablets and the tiny minority of developers working on Linux for the cloud and the web. And anyway all this stuff about mobile devices and the cloud will never catch on.
And then you woke up.
@John Styles, "Let's face it, the day of cross platform development is past"?
John Styles, everything you said seeks to mis-portray cross platform development. For a start, ok Microsoft and Apple are trying to create lock in by making developers spend so long in their API's that its hard to port to another platform, but thats not the end of cross platform development. Cross platform developers seek to avoid platform specific code and they always have. Also there is no lock in on Android & Linux.
Your post comes across as extremely duplicitous about cross platform development, given the way you mis-portray it, it sounds like you don't really want there to be cross platform development. So which "ideology" do you want?. As you say "no-one who develops for Windows cares about the minority platforms" its easy to see where your real loyalties lay. But even that is wrong, Linux is on more embedded devices than any other OS in the world so its Windows that is the minority not Linux. Also Android is growing extremely rapidly (and don't forget thats also based on a Linux kernel). Also Apple are still doing good business and earning a lot of money, so they are also forging ahead.
So if anything its Windows that is looking tired and in danger of becoming sidelined, by the growth of the other platforms, but don't worry, John Styles, true cross platform developers with a genuine interest in cross platform development will still support it. ;)
@Asgard, using my name in your comment 3 times reads a bit weirdly to me :-)
The thing you have to remember, Asgard, is that no-one really knows how much software is written for which platforms and what people use to develop it in. Things like the Tiobe survey represent how much noise people make about what they're doing rather than what they're actually doing. Crappy intranet applications written in ASP classic, and vertical applications written for the Windows desktop in VB Classic, C++ with MFC and Delphi (with the inevitable mathematical models written in FORTRAN) are the dark matter of the software world.
Yes, Asgard, I was kind of happy that workstations running Unix fell out of fashion in the early to mid 90s - it saved us the effort of using 3rd party cross platform libraries like XVT (which I won't go on about as they are still going and have to make a crust like the rest of us) so we could sell 3 copies for Sun, 2 for HP-UX and 1 for AIX (and all, Asgard, because someone asked our salesman 'does it run on Unix?' - this didn't, Asgard, mean that the person had any intention of buying our software (or anyone else's), just that the salesman had come along and demoed it and asked for questions so they asked one to be polite - the salesman, poor dear, not being the brightest bulb in the pack, came away convinced that if it had run on Unix he would have got a sale). [Actually, there is another reason, the question could also mean 'we bought this Sun workstation for another bit of software that turned out to be useless, I don't suppose we can run your software on it, then at least it won't have been a complete waste of money]
And actually, Asgard (is that 6?), I quite like Android. Wouldn't try to have the same UI running on it and a PC / 'in the cloud' though.
The good news is that it's the end of the that nasty, buggy crap that Adobe call software.
The bad news is that lots of idiots use it and there often isn't an alternative.
While I don't hold out for HTML5 fixing everything real soon now, it is possible that it may help in the medium term - but only if the number of viable platforms continues to grow. Platform diversity is good for you if you aren't running the dominant system.
I'm not a fan of AIR but I do like what Adobe have done here.
Some companies would have scrapped it and that would have been the end of it. At least Adobe are trying to pass it off to others in the open source community who might do a better job of it.
I know that they're just trying to get their product on as much hardware as possible, but still, good idea :)
Imagine, an opensource version of air would lead to an fixed version of adobe flash, so that could become a very good thing. So, maybe we ought to wait until the dust settles and we find out just how opensourced they make it and what the Linux community can do with it., There is potential for a win on both sides, if Adobe plays this right.
Although Linux works very well on older hardware if that's all there is available, I'd guess that an awful lot of Linux users are, like myself, using it on newer, higher end hardware out of choice. Let's not forget that Linux had mature 64-bit support of both OS and applications long before Windows. So why is it that Adobe only ever released a 32-bit binary of AIR? Have you ever looked at the list of extra software necessary to install AIR-32 on a perfectly happy 64-bit Linux system? My guess is that most Linux users who might otherwise have considered AIR just for things like iPlayer would have said 'sod it, not worth the hassle' and moved on. Like I did. Adobe's attempt to push AIR on Linux was half-hearted at best, but then half-baked, buggy software is exactly what we expect from them.
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