AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) is a desktop application that runs the
FlashPlayer virtual machine outside of a browser.   You know that Flash is
usually thought of as a plug-in to run Flash content inside of a web page
being displayed on a browser.   To maintain web security, the Flash plug-in
enforces restrictions on the Flash programs.   For example, a Flash program
running within a browser is not allowed to access files on the user's
computer, only files that come from the same domain as the Flash program
came from off of the web.  With AIR, the Flash Player runs as a stand-alone
application outside of and independent of any browser.   This allows rich
Flash interfaces to run just like any application installed on the user's
computer.  The AIR application is given more freedom -- for example, it can
access local files.   When a program is being compiled by the IDE, one of
the settings the developer chooses is whether to compile it for AIR or for
the FlashPlayer plugin.    But for the most part, the program will run the
same on either platform.    This lets developers use the rich Internet
application tools to create desktop applications.  AIR handles things like
the installation, checking for updates, installing updates, automatically
without the programmer having to build those services.  Go to for examples of AIR applications you can
download and run.

On Mon, Apr 12, 2010 at 1:13 PM, Mikus Grinbergs <> wrote:

> There's been all this discussion of AIR.  I am unfamiliar with AIR.
> My question :  "Why would I (as an user) __need__ AIR ?"
> I do not mind using a "browser", nor do I mind installing a
> special-purpose "plugin" into my browser in order to access particular
> material.  But what does AIR provide that for instance the combination
> of "latest Firefox plus latest Adobe Flash plugin" would not provide ?
> Thanks,  mikus
> p.s.  People keep showing various Linux platforms (e.g., Ubuntu, Debian,
> etc) running on the XO.  As far as I am concerned, if these people
> *want* to run Ubuntu, Debian, etc., then buying a modern netbook for
> that purpose will give them better performance than using the XO.
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