Adobe® AIR on Gentoo Linux

Adobe® AIR 1.1 for Linux is currently in beta and is almost feature complete. For anyone not in the know, the Adobe AIR runtime lets users run rich Internet applications from their desktop without a web browser across multiple operating systems.

There are some slick-looking AIR applications out there and I love eye candy, so when I heard there was a Linux version of Adobe AIR, I couldn’t wait to give it a whirl. Once I went to install it however, I was disappointed before I made it out of the gate. The installer for the Adobe AIR runtime for Linux requires that you are running a Linux distro with an RPM or Debian package management system. My distro of choice is Gentoo, so this wasn’t going to work.

Having run Gentoo Linux for a number of years, I am used to this sort of thing. Many software vendors shy away from supporting source based distros like Gentoo as they are “moving targets.” The element of choice introduced with such a source based distribution means that any two Gentoo Linux boxes could have dramatically different configurations.

The other part of being a Gentoo user however, means that I wasn’t going to give up in a hurry. I did some searching and some reading and managed to get Adobe AIR running on my x86 Gentoo laptop.

Here’s how I did it…

Part of the Adobe AIR SDK called ADL can be used to run Adobe AIR applications on non-RPM/Deb distributions like Gentoo.

Download the Adobe AIR SDK

  1. Browse on over to
    (thanks to thrstn for the updated link)
  2. By clicking on the download link for the SDK, you are accepting the terms of the License Agreement.

Unpack the Downloaded Software

  1. Create a directory for the runtime. I used /opt/AIR-SDK
  2. Extract the AIR-SDK’s .tbz2 file in the directory you just created
  3. cd /opt/AIR-SDK
    tar jxvf /path/to/adobeair_linux_sdk_b1_091508.tbz2

  4. Create another directory for Adobe AIR applications. I used /opt/AIR-apps

Download and Unpack an Adobe AIR Application

  1. Download an Adobe AIR application. It will end in the extension .air
  2. Create a subdirectory with the name of the application in the applications folder you created above. Example /opt/AIR-apps/application-name
  3. Use unzip to extract the contents of the AIR application you downloaded
  4. cd /opt/AIR-apps/application-name
    unzip /path/to/application-name.air

Use ADL to launch your application…(the following is all on one line)

/opt/AIR-SDK/bin/adl -nodebug /opt/AIR-apps/application-name/META-INF/AIR/application.xml /opt/application-name

Enjoy your Adobe AIR applications!

Here are a couple of screenshots of AIR applications that I have installed…



  1. Thanks for the post! I was anxiously waiting for someone to figure this out! To remove some of the annoyance out of the command-line there, I created a (very) simple bash script:


    # this is all one line
    ${AIR_PATH} -nodebug “${APPS_PATH}/$1/META-INF/AIR/application.xml” “${APPS_PATH}/$1″

  2. Thanks for the bash script Dan. That’s definitely a lot nicer to deal with.


  3. Nice post u have here :D Added to my RSS reader

  4. Thanks a lot! That’s what i was looking for! :D

  5. I really appreciate this article. AIR is now running smoothly on my Sabayon box.

  6. Great, this helped me a lot =)

    Shouldn’t the last part of the command to run an app be: /opt/AIR-apps/application-name? (Think you forgot the AIR-apps part)

  7. I get “Illegal instruction” when I run the SDK, the AIR installer. I can’t find the 1.1 version anywhere… anyone got a copy?

  8. This is great. I was bummed when I couldn’t get the Pandora AIR app to run initially on my Gentoo boxes. The instructions here worked, and I don’t need to have a browser open to use Pandora any more. Yay!

  9. Awesome guide. Worked perfectly for me except rather than install everything to /opt, I installed everything to ~/local and adjusted the Bash script accordingly. I figure that unless you run a multi-user system where the users use the desktop, run this all from within your /home directory.

  10. Hi
    Just wanted to point out that AIR-Linux, has been out of beta for a long time now, its at par with AIR on windows. Download the latest version from:

  11. “The other part of being a Gentoo user however, means that I wasn’t going to give up in a hurry.”

    This! This is me right now. It’s five in the morning. My Pandora free ran out so I upgraded to Pandora premium and want to run the payer… which runs on adobe Air.

    Thank you for posting this. Bookmarked for tommorrow. :)

  12. I used your instructions to get the download manager for Shockhound (a music download site) to work in Gentoo ~amd64. I had to first install it in a Windows 7 VM to get the .air files (they were in C:\Program Files (x86)\Shockhound Download Manager. Many thanks.

  13. Excellent post!

    I had an extra issue because I’m an Awesome user, but there’s documentation on the Adobe website which got me past that final speedbump and lets me run AIR apps as well ( –> check the bottom of the page)

  14. Hey! Thanks a bunch for the instructions! They worked PERFECTLY. It’s really slick having Pandora on my Linux desktop now.

    Just to give back, here’s a nice little scriptlet I wrote in Perl to launch an AIR app without all the BS. Just copy it into a file called in your /opt/AIR-apps directory, hardlink /usr/bin/airlaunch to /opt/AIR-apps/airlaunch and you won’t even hardly notice a challenge.

    #!/usr/bin/perl -w

    # AIR Launch!
    # Used to start an Adobe AIR application in nodebug mode.
    # DO NOT USE WITH A TEXT ONLY CONSOLE! You could break something.

    $adl_binspec = “/opt/AIR-SDK/bin/adl”;
    $sys_airspace = “/opt/AIR-apps”;
    $usr_airspace = “$ENV{‘HOME’}/AIR-apps”;

    die “AIR not installed! Expected adl at $adl_binspec.\n” unless -e $adl_binspec;
    die “Usage: $0 [air_app]\nAIR is meant for graphical terminals ONLY.\n” if @ARGV != 1;
    die “Do NOT use this with .air files! Extract them to $sys_airspace or $usr_airspace first!\n” if $ARGV[0] =~ /\Q.air\E/;

    $app_name = $ARGV[0];

    if ( -e $app_name )
    $app_path = $app_name;
    ##Perhaps the user gave us a fully qualified path! :) ##
    elsif ( -e “$sys_airspace/$app_name” )
    $app_path = “$sys_airspace/$app_name”;
    #Check what apps the system has installed!
    elsif ( -e “$usr_airspace/$app_name” )
    $app_path = “$sys_airspace/$app_name”;
    ##Maybe the user has the app installed in their AIR directory?##
    die “Could not locate application \’$app_name\’.\n”;
    ##Nevermind, the user is a complete cock.##

    ##Now check to make sure the xml file is there. This file spec could change at Adobe’s whim!##
    if ( -e “$app_path/META-INF/AIR/application.xml” )
    $command = “$adl_binspec -nodebug $app_path/META-INF/AIR/application.xml $app_path”;

    (system $command) == 0 || die “Failed to execute $app_name!\n”;
    ##END SCRIPT##

  15. For any of you that have the famous (as it seems)

    I/O warning : failed to load external entity “/etc/opt/Adobe/certificates/AIR/crypt//config.xml”
    Unable to parse Document: /etc/opt/Adobe/certificates/AIR/crypt//config.xml.

    Just edit the application.xml in META-INF/Air and comment out the publisherID tag. Bit ugly but it works

  16. Pantelis, thanks a zillion! Works!

  17. Hi,

    Now that Adobe has dropped Air for Linux, and while some apps still work with the last Linux version of Air. does anyone have a mirror of the last Linux version?




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