Installing Adobe AIR on Ubuntu/Debian 64-Bit

Adobe AIR gives us some awesome looking cross-platform desktop apps. Everything looks and works the same, be it on a MAC, Linux Desktop or Windows machine. There is a slight problem though, 64-Bit editions of Ubuntu/Debian is not ‘officially’ supported. As such, there is no 64-bit .deb package to download and your average home user will just give up on trying to install AIR.

There is a workaround though. Just follow these steps (courtesy of this blog, but with a personal touch here and there) and you’ll have it working in no time.

Step 1:
Download the Adobe AIR .deb file. Make sure to click ‘save’ and not ‘open with’/’run’ when the dialog appears to start the download

Step 2:
In a terminal window go to the directory containing the adobeair.deb file you just downloaded (in my case ~/downloads/) and move it somewhere else (it makes it simpler, believe me). For this example, I’ll use ~/air/ as my working directory. You can work anywhere you like, but be sure you can change the permissions on the folders/files if you need to.

#copy the .deb file to your working directory from your download directory
cd ~/downloads
cp ~/downloads/adobeair.deb ~/air/adobeair.deb
 
#go to your working directory
cd ~/air

Step 3: Then, do the following to get a 64-bit compatible .deb file

#create a tmp directory in your working directory
mkdir tmp
 
#extract the .deb file's contents to 'tmp'
dpkg-deb -x adobeair.deb tmp
 
#extract the control files to 'tmp/DEBIAN'
dpkg-deb --control adobeair.deb tmp/DEBIAN
 
#replace 'i386' with 'all'. This is the part that makes it compatible.
sed -i "s/i386/all/" tmp/DEBIAN/control
 
#re-package the files into a new .deb file
dpkg -b tmp adobeair_64.deb

Step 4: You should now be able to install the package with the normal syntax as follows

#Install ADOBE AIR
dpkg -i adobeair_64.deb

By the way, this was tested only on Ubuntu 10.04 and 10.10. Let me know if you run into trouble on other versions of Ubuntu
Oh, in case you’re interested – my favourite AIR app has to be TweetDeck.

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