James Gardner: Home > Blog > 2008 > Flex Builder Linux Alpha 2 on...

Flex Builder Linux Alpha 2 on Debian Etch

Posted:2008-01-25 15:34
Tags:Web, Software Releases, Desktop Software, Talks and Conferences, JavaScript

I went to the Flex User Group http://ria.meetup.com/7/calendar/6862191/?a=wm1_rsvp yesterday because AIR is one of the technologies I'm most excited about at the moment. I was slightly surprised by the demographic, I think I was expecting a crowd of open source developers, much like you'd find at a hack day or geek event but somehow they didn't seem as excited about the technologies Adobe are beginning to open up as I did. I wonder whether this is because most of the people who use Adobe products are less technical than the average person you might see at other events and therefore less interested in the new coding opportunities Flex and Air bring.

I got the slight impression that some people were just there for the free beer provided by Adobe (although maybe that's just because I was sitting near the back by the bar) and others (including myself probably) had a feeling of "why should I do Adobe the favour of switching to flex". I think Adobe's answer might be along the lines of "we're doing enoughm just look at the numbers and if you don't want to take advantage of it that's up to you" so some of the questions seemed slightly hostile, but maybe I'm reading too much into it and applying my views to my impression of everyone else's!

I was also slightly surprised by some of the attitudes of the speakers who made frequent references to a designer/developer divide saying things like "you'll only be impressed with that if you are a developer". Maybe the audience for Adobe products does feature this divide but it surprised me nonetheless and I was surprised it was something the speakers wanted to encourage.

Anyway, despite the above observations I did find the event very interesting and am pleased Adobe are moving towards being more open. One question I asked in the Q&A section was "What are the timescales for AIR on Linux". The answer I got back was "soon" and it appears James Ward is as keen to get AIR on Linux as I am as it is his primary desktop too. Still, I pointed out that if Adobe wants to attract open source developers a Linux port would be pretty essential. Let's hope it happens "soon" as James promised because developing AIR on FlexBuilder on VMWare is very painful! James also suggested I try the Flex Builder Alpha for Linux so here goes...

First install Java. To do this you'll need to edit your apt sources list to use the non-free repository:

sudo vim /etc/apt/sources.list

Mine looks like this:

deb http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/ etch main non-free
deb-src http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/ etch main non-free

deb http://security.debian.org/ etch/updates main contrib
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ etch/updates main contrib

Next install Java 5:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install sun-java5-jdk

(You can probably get away with the JRE if you prefer, in which case install sun-java5-jre instead).

You'll have to agree to the license:

Package configuration

 ┌───────────────────────┤ Configuring sun-java5-bin ├───────────────────────┐
 │                                                                           │
 │ Operating System Distributor License for Java v1.1 (DLJ)                  ↑
 │                                                                           ▮
 │ Operating System Distributor License for Java version 1.1 (DLJ)           ▒
 │                                                                           ▒
 │ TERMS OF THE AGREEMENT.                                                   ▒
 │                                                                           ▒
 │ 1.  DEFINITIONS. "Software" means the code identified above in binary     ▒
 │     form, any other machine readable materials including, but not         ▒
 │     limited to, libraries, source files, header files, and data files),   ↓
 │                                  <Ok>
 │                                                                           │

Test Java is working by typing java -version at the command line. You should see something like this:

$ java -version
java version "1.5.0_10"
Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.5.0_10-b03)
Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.5.0_10-b03, mixed mode, sharing)

Next you'll need Eclipse 3.3 or higher. Go to http://www.eclipse.org and download the Linux version (I chose Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers). Extract the files and launch the program:

tar zxfv eclipse-jee-europa-fall2-linux-gtk.tar.gz
cd eclipse

You'll be asked where you want to create a workspace. I stuck with the default of /home/james/workspace. Eventually Eclipse loads. Once you are happy it is working you should exit it and you can finally you can get around to actually installing Flex Builder.

Download the alpha 2 from the Adobe website: http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/flexbuilder_linux.html then run these commands:

chmod 755 flexbuilder_linux_install_a2_121807.bin

You'll see the following output:

Preparing to install...
Extracting the installation resources from the installer archive...
Configuring the installer for this system's environment...

Launching installer...

Then the installer launches and after a few screens you are asked to choose your eclipse folder. This will be the location of the eclipse folder you just extracted. You'll also be asked to install Flash Player 9 and you should choose to do so, even if you already have it because this version has debugging built-in.

The installation finishes with some errors which aren't displayed. Instead you are asked to view the installation log but not told where this is and I couldn't find it! The installer doesn't tell you how to launch Flex Builder either, but it turns out you just load Eclipse again and Choose Help->Flex Builder whereupon you are asked to enter a license key and told you only have 65 days remaining. After all that effort it would have been nice to know this was only a 65 day trial if it really is. After clicking OK nothing happened (didn't seem to be able to connect to flexstart.adobe.com) so I exited and tried again.

To get started you need to create a new project. Chose Project... from the File menu and choose a Flex Builder project. There is no support for AIR or BlazeDS so you can only create Flex applications targeting Flash Player 9 but this seems like a good start.

Here's a screenshot:

../2008/01/flex_builder_running.thumbnail.png ../2008/01/eclipse_workspace.thumbnail.png

So I think we can add Debian Etch to the list of platforms where Flex Builder works. Good work Adobe and keep it up!

P.S. Was that Evan Davis I spotted at the event? P.P.S Submit bugs!


Christian &raquo; Flex Builder Linux Alpha 2 on Debian Etch

Posted:2008-01-25 15:43

[...] James Ostrowski wrote an interesting post today onHere&#8217;s a quick excerptThe answer I got back was &#8220;soon&#8221; and it appears James Ward is as keen to get AIR on Linux as I am as it is his primary desktop too. Still, I pointed out that if Adobe wants to attract open source developers a Linux port would be pretty &#8230; [...] :URL: http://www.christian.luiscorreia.com/flex-builder-linux-alpha-2-on-debian-etch/

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