Open source the AIR runtime!

As we all know Flash Player is dead. But Adobe AIR still lives on!

Its time to get an open source version of AIR runtime so we can continue to use this amazing platform to build awesome applications and games!

Please, support my petition to Open source the AIR runtime:


This is a total waste of time.
For those who work with AIR, unless you live on a rock, you will know that AIR is now in the possession of another company, so NEVER, AIR will be open source by Adobe hands.

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Very unlikely to happen

3 reasons

What I can see from the ActionScript community at large is “consumers of stuff”,
dev will build their app, reuse some AS3 frameworks and libraries, reuse some ANE, maybe buy some ANE, and basically contribute nothing back to the community

So if dev can not even contribute to AS3 projects, how on earth they gonna contribute to hardcore C++ cross-platform source code?

In fact, I would argue that even if Adobe AIR was open sourced, a small team could update the sources and sell the compiled updated runtime and get away with it because nobody else would/could compete with them, so you would have the same situation than with Harman, only difference you could browse the C++ open sources of AIR

Look at who contributing or updating avmplus, crossbridge, Webkit4AIR


so yeah it’s great it is all open source but not actively maintained


What I can see from the ActionScript community at large is “consumers of stuff”… and basically contribute nothing back to the community.

While these are good points, one could also say that no one contributes to these repos because they are not part of anything useful. Many open source apps like blender are highly technical but also maintained by the community because they are useful. So people keep contributing features to it.

One could say that 100% of AS3 libraries that are open sourced are essentially the community sharing, and not just “consuming” as you have said. Away3D is a good example of a community contributed library that would have been nothing without the community. FlashDevelop, again a Flash IDE completely built by the community. So I think its wrong to say the Flash community is just consumers and no contributors. After Adobe gave off Flex to Apache Flex, they have rebranded it to Apache Royale and are trying to do something with it, also port it to JS, etc.

So if dev can not even contribute to AS3 projects, how on earth they gonna contribute to hardcore C++ cross-platform source code?

I think a community will form around a complete product but obviously with a fragment such as avmplus, what should anyone contribute to it, no one knows, so no one contributes. As simple as that.

I think if AIR is open sourced, it could integrate as part of Haxe platform nicely, or perhaps be a part of OpenFL and it would definitely be a great alternative to Unity to build 2D/3D games and content for mobile phones. AIR is also great for building visual desktop apps which work nicely with Windows & Mac. So much work has gone into AIR so it seems a pity Adobe is just letting it die with Harman.

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For those who work with AIR, unless you live on a rock, you will know that AIR is now in the possession of another company, so NEVER, AIR will be open source by Adobe hands.

No. As per the Harman’s statement on their website, they have only taken over the development aspect. Ownership rights still remain with Adobe.

HARMAN have taken on the platform support and feature development of the AIR software

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you might not see avmplus as something useful but it is THE core engine of everything else: Flash, Adobe AIR

and my point is that it is open sourced for years and nobody contributed

simply put: you can not have your cake and eat it

You can not at the same time have a regularly updated and maintained Adobe AIR, and ignore avmplus which is a core component, if avmplus fail then Adobe AIR can not work.

yeah off course but I’m talking about the community contribution at large

people do not even do the basic stuff, they just want to ask for more stuff
but spending 5 minutes to reports bugs, nah they can not do that

In fact, the barrier to entry is pretty low, you can provide an OSS project, an automated build, and people will complain to not have the latest SWC because they can’t or don’t want to bother to compile the SWC themselves

You mention projects like Away3D, Apache Royale, etc.
look at who is contributing to those projects

you have the original maintainers of the code who keep working on it,
but the external community barely contribute to the projects

at best you will get some rando coming to the project asking if it is dead because they don’t see any recent updates

then who would contribute to Adobe AIR then?

if no one knows how to contribute to avmplus, this is the “easy” part
Adobe AIR sources are much much much more complex


lol nope

you are confusing stuff, Haxe is not a runtime, it cross-compile Haxe code to different targets, among those SWF (ActionScript bytecode)

in fact Haxe completely ignored avmplus and produced its own runtime: neko

and OpenFL is a supporting library to Haxe that then can support different targets emulating the Flash API

none of those are related to avmplus or Adobe AIR
in avmplus/AIR you implement the native features in C++, not Haxe

that’s where you are wrong

what you want are active maintainers that can write C++ sources and test it in the different platform, this is real hard work

that is exactly what Harman is doing

it is much better to have that
than having the project open sourced without any maintainers that can actually write C++


With Adobe Flex (not Apache Flex) the project was hosted at sourceforge using SVN (so no git). It was half documented but Flex went from version 3.0 to 4.0 and had a major architecture shift. Every Flex dev for 2 years was adjusting to the new framework. Also, it was supposedly challenging to get bugs approved. IIRC at one time only 2 bug fixes were approved or submitted for Flex 3.0.

OTOH with the Adobe Flex bug base, there were many internal features and bugs submitted. On the AIR and Flash side same thing. Many companies wanted to fix AIR / Flash bugs but were not able to. The Flex bugs were fixed by Adobe’s dev team almost exclusively so no need for external devs.

So yes, Flex was open sourced but architecture was new and high learning curve, source control was troublesome compared to now, had little maintainers for accepting patches and my other excuses.

Also, with Flash, many devs started out as designers and then became coders. Think about that. No way they can go to C++.

But it’s also about Adobe positioning of Flash Platform at the time and their protection of their platform. Many problems about fragmentation in browsers was a benefit of going to Flash. Instead of writing for 4 browsers write once for Flash. Everyone loves that but that means tight control on the platform so no fragmentation.

All those added up to not as easy to jump in to contribute. If today AIR was open sourced it may be simpler to contribute. Open github, clone, branch, add pull request, view and approve. Not saying it’s a good idea or not.

Looking at Apache Flex though you see a lot of developers contributing but many have different goals but contributing might be easier now with advances and github.

Either way if someone wants to contribute to open source, that’s not often so as the software owner it would be better to appreciate that somehow. Maybe an easy path would be to allow external devs to jump in to the project to add features or fixing bugs. This is different than flat no. If that goes well then maybe open source. Again, not saying it’s a good idea or not but in my opinion some of the context around Flex and Flash platform has been complicated or unique compared to many other projects.


Though I’d rather work with a commercial product I pay for, maintained and updated. I keep far from Java Script to avoid the hell of unmaintained libraries.
Harman is doing a great job and I am very happy to support them financially. Finally.