Reminder: as usual, I'm not speaking on behalf of Mozilla here, just expressing my own views.
So it looks like Adobe will no longer be releasing (...) versions of Adobe AIR and the AIR SDK for desktop Linux..
A few questions and remarks come to my mind, which I'd like to share:
- Is this going to hurt Linux?
- Is this a good thing for Adobe?
- Is there a lesson here?
So Is this going to hurt Linux? Well, maybe, but not much. The application ecosystem on Linux is pretty strong, and as Adobe says, "since the release of AIR, we’ve seen only a 0.5% download share for desktop Linux", which tends to show that Linux users are not much interested in AIR at all.
Is this a good thing for Adobe? On one hand, it will enable them to invest more in the Android version of AIR, which is an important market, with enormous potential, Android being a platform that needs more love from Adobe if they want to be able to compete. But on the other hand, this is pretty bad for their cross-platform story. People who have chosen AIR because it enabled them to "write once run anywhere" - recycling the old Java promise - rightfully feel betrayed. AIR is a decent platform, but what made it stand out was the promise of running on all three desktop platforms. And this is now gone.
Is there a lesson here? I guess so. In short: never trust of a proprietary vendor when it comes to running cross-platform, especially when you have a truly open alternative. In this case, the Web. What makes the Web beautiful is the fact that no one owns it. You don't have to make a deal with the VP of Business Development of the Web in order to deploy a large application. You can pick a (modern) browser and switch away from it later on if the vendor you've chosen is taking a path that you don't like. Just make sure it's following Web standards and is Open Source and open to external contributions, so that you can offer patches if needed. Make sure it's extensible, so you can customize it for your needs. You'll see, the Open Web as a platform is making progress daily. It's amazing, really.
You'll have no fees to pay, no contracts to negotiate, just freedom to use and innovate. I know it's a little unsettling at first, but over time it's liberating. So liberating that - once accustomed to freedom - you won't want to go back.