Friday, April 11, 2008

Distributing the AIR Runtime

Today I read a great post from Mike Chambers on how third party development shops can distribute the Adobe AIR runtime. Mike's full article can be read here. Here is an excerpt:

In order to re-distribute the Adobe AIR installer, you must first apply for, and receive permission from Adobe to redistribute it (this requires accepting a license, and submitting a form). Once you do this, you can get all of the documentation for how to distribute the runtime and integrate it with your custom installer.

We have a ton of information on this on the website (including a FAQ).

In general, the license allows you to:

* distribute the runtime installer on a closed intranet
* distribute the runtime installer on fixed media, such as CD or DVD Roms.
* distribute and launch the runtime installer as part of another native installer

In general, the license does not allow you to:

* modify the installer, or files to allow AIR application to run without having the runtime installed on the user’s system.
* distribute DLL’s or other files from the runtime directly within an application

So why is this such an important issue? Simple - it is about the entire community ensuring the end users have a good experience. While there are strong technical reasons (read the FAQ) for getting Adobe permission, consider what would happen if we had rogue companies randomly distributing modified versions of the AIR runtime without some form of central methodology and management. It could be somewhat chaotic but more importantly, for the good of the overall community, we need to all work together to cater to the end users to deliver a positive experience. This latter point cannot be emphasized enough.

While most development shops will likely just use the "get AIR" badge and rely on Adobe to incur the bandwidth costs for distribution (similar to how Sun distributes the Java Runtime Environment), you may apply for the Adobe AIR Runtime Distribution License Agreement if you have a good reason to want to distribute it yourself. Both are valid options and each company must chose the option that works best for them. Anyone can apply for that license here.

Note: Installing the Adobe AIR Runtime silently, deploying via SMS or Group Policy Objects is currently not a supported option. If you require installing the runtime silently please send an email to so that we can notify you when that feature becomes available.

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