Requirements
Prerequisite knowledge
Familiarity with Adobe AIR, network administration, and SMS, SCCM, or TPMX is required. For more information regarding the Adobe AIR environment, installation, and configuration, refer to the Adobe AIR Administrator's Guide (PDF, 112K). For more information on the AIR runtime, refer to the Adobe AIR products page.
User level
Beginning

Additional Requirements
Most users download and install AIR directly from the Adobe website. Enterprise administrators, however, often distribute software to their users from a central location. To use this distribution method, you must first apply for and receive permission from Adobe. In the application process, which takes about five minutes, you provide contact information and an explanation about your intent to distribute.

For more information about licensing and the license application, visit the Adobe AIR runtime distribution page.

After submitting your application and receiving approval from Adobe, you can distribute the AIR runtime on a closed intranet, through media such as CDs or DVDs, or as part of another native installation process.

This article assumes that SMS, SCCM, or TPMX has been properly installed and configured. For more information on these products, including trial downloads, visit www.microsoft.com/smserver/, www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/configurationmanager/, or www-306.ibm.com/software/tivoli/.
 
Home and business users can install Adobe AIR by downloading it directly from Adobe or as part of a seamless install process for a new AIR application. For enterprise users, however, security policies and permissions can complicate this process. This article describes techniques that enterprise administrators can use to install the AIR runtime and AIR applications with the following software solutions:
 
  • Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 (SMS)
  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (SCCM)
  • IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express for Software Distribution 4.1.1 (TPMX)
 
These techniques can also be used to update the AIR runtime if it already exists on the target workstation. However, an AIR application can only be installed using these techniques if  there are no previous versions of it on the target workstations. To update an AIR application requires uninstalling the previous version first. Additionally, the version of the AIR runtime used must match the requirements of the AIR application being installed.

 

Using Microsoft SMS 2003

This section covers the main steps in installing the AIR runtime and an AIR application using Microsoft SMS, including the creation of packages, programs, distribution points, and advertisements.
 
Creating the installation package
An SMS package is the data set containing any installation files to be installed on the workstations. Follow these steps to create a package:
 
  1. Download the bundled Adobe AIR runtime from Adobe.com. The download link is provided via e-mail after you applied for permission and are approved to redistribute the runtime.
  2. Extract the installation files from the ZIP file to a local directory. This example uses a directory named AIRInstall.
  3. If you want to install an AIR application at the same time as the runtime, download the AIR application file and save it in the AIRInstall directory. The screenshots that follow demonstrate installing the Flash Media Server (FMS) Explorer, a developer learning tool.
  4. Open the SMS Administrator console.
  5. Right-click Packages and select New > Package.
  6. On the General tab of the Package Properties dialog box you must assign a name to the package. It is recommended that you also fill in the version, language, and comment fields (see Figure 1).

 

Specifying package properties, including name, version, language, and comment in SMS
Figure 1. Specifying package properties, including name, version, language, and comment in SMS
 
  1. Click the Data Source tab and specify the source directory. This is the folder that contains the extracted AIR installation files. Set the remaining Data Source options based on your network configuration.
  2. Adjust the settings in the Data Access, Distribution, and Reporting tabs based on your network configuration and preferences.
  3. Verify the settings on the Security tab are correct for your network configuration and then click OK. SMS will create your AIR installation package.

 

Creating the program
An SMS program defines the executable and any installation parameters to be used during installation. Follow these steps to create a new program for your package:
 
  1. In the SMS Administrator console, right-click on Programs under your AIR package and select New > Program.
  2. On the General tab assign properties for the program. You can choose any name for your program. This example uses the name Adobe AIR. For the command line, browse to the install folder and select the Adobe AIR Installer.exe file. To install the AIR runtime and an AIR application, append the following options to the end of the command line:
 
Note: As indicated in the introduction, you are required to obtain a redistribution agreement to install and distribute the Adobe AIR runtime in this manner. The documentation provided after being approved to distribute the AIR runtime details additional parameters for enterprise users. For more information about licensing and the license application, visit the Adobe AIR runtime distribution page.
 
-silent -desktopShortcut -programMenu fms_explorer.air
Note: -silent is required to run without user interaction during installation; -desktopShortcut adds a desktop shortcut for the AIR application; -programMenu adds a Start Menu shortcut for the AIR application; and fms_explorer.air refers to the AIR application being installed.
 
The entire command line should look like this:
 
"Adobe AIR Installer.exe" -silent -desktopShortcut -programMenu fms_explorer.air
These options tell the AIR installer to run without user interaction, install the FMS Explorer AIR application, and create both desktop and Start menu shortcuts for it.
 
If the AIR runtime is being installed without an AIR application, the command line should look like this:
 
"Adobe AIR Installer.exe" -silent
Installing AIR does not require a reboot, so you can leave the rest of the settings as they are (see Figure 2).
 
Specifying the program name and command line in SMS
Figure 2. Specifying the program name and command line in SMS
 
  1. Click the Requirements tab and specify minimum requirements for target workstations. If a workstation does not meet these requirements, the application will not be installed on it. Set an estimated disk space of 100MB. The final installation size of the AIR runtime is less than 30MB. If the destination computer has at least 100MB free, you will have ample program as well as temp space for the AIR installation files.
  2. Select compatible operating systems to ensure that AIR will not be installed on an incompatible machine. AIR requires one of the following:
 
  • Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or later
  • Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise including 64-bit editions
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4
  • Windows 2003 Server
 
  1. Assign settings on the Environment tab. Because there is no need for the user to interact with the application or runtime during installation, allow the installer to run whether or not a user is logged on. Select the setting "Run with administrative rigths" or the installation will fail.
  2. Use the default settings on the Advanced tab.
  3. On the Windows Installer tab, click Import and browse to the AIR setup.msi file, which is found in the bundled install files you downloaded from Adobe (see Figure 3). This will import  the Windows Installer product code.

 

Importing the Windows Installer product code
Figure 3. Importing the Windows Installer product code
 
Note: If Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) is implemented on your network, adjust settings as necessary on the MOM tab.
 
  1. Click OK. SMS will create the program for your package.

Creating the distribution points and collections
The next step is to create a distribution point and collection for the package. The distribution point is the server location where the files will reside for distribution to the client. Clients will pull the package from this location. A collection defines the groups of workstations that are intended to receive the distribution.

 

  1. Right-click on Distribution Points under your AIR package and then choose New Distribution Point. Use the wizard to choose the server (or servers) that will be the distribution point for the AIR package (see Figure 4).

 

Specifying the distribution point in SMS
Figure 4. Specifying the distribution point in SMS
 
After the package is distributed to the selected distribution point, create your collection. Use the default collection: All Windows Workstation or Professional Systems. Advanced users may create a custom collection at this point.

Advertising the new software
An advertisement tells all workstations in the collection that there is new software available to install. This advertisement ties together the package, program, and collection. The workstations will install the software package based on a pre-configured interval defined within the site configuration. To create a new advertisement, follow these steps:
 
  1. Right-click on Advertisements and select New > Advertisement.
  2. On the General tab, choose a package from the dropdown menu. Then, choose the AIR Installer program. Finally, browse to and select the collection for the advertisement (see Figure 5). 

 

Specifying advertisement properties in SMS
Figure 5. Specifying advertisement properties in SMS
 
  1. On the Schedule tab, set an advertisement start time. Set a Mandatory Assignment of "As soon as possible." In a large network or with a larger program, you should schedule for a time that minimizes any negative effects on network performance or the users' experience.
  2. On the Advanced Client tab you can choose to run the installation directly from the distribution point or cache it locally prior to installation. The former option will result in more traffic to your distribution point during installation. You will need to adjust these settings to fit your environment.
  3. Click OK. SMS will create the new advertisement.
 
Advertisement polling varies between environments and depends on network connectivity, speed, and availability. As clients check in, they will receive the advertisement and perform the installation. A message will appear in the system tray to notify the user, if logged on, of the new program installation.
 
Upon completion of installation, the AIR runtime and the AIR application will be installed on the client. Based on the configuration choices outlined earlier, the AIR application's shortcut will appear in the Start menu and on the desktop.
 
The Advertisement Status in the SMS Admin Console will show installation results for clients.
 
Using Microsoft SCCM 2007
This section explains how to install the AIR runtime and an AIR application using Microsoft SCCM, including the creation of packages, programs, distribution points, and advertisements. The basic steps are the same as if you used Microsoft SMS with minor differences in terms of the settings.

Creating the installation package
An SCCM package is the data set containing any installation files to be installed on the workstations. Follow these steps to create a package:
 
  1. Download the bundled Adobe AIR runtime from Adobe.com. The download link is provided via e-mail after you applied for permission and are approved to redistribute the runtime.
  2. Extract the installation files from the ZIP file to a local directory. This example uses the directory name AIRInstall.
  3. If you want to install an AIR application at the same time as the runtime, download the AIR file and save it in the AIRInstall directory. The screenshots that follow demonstrate installing the FMS (Flash Media Server) Explorer, a developer learning tool.
  4. Open the Configuration Manager console and navigate to Site Database > Computer Management > Software Distribution > Packages.
  5. Right-click Packages and choose New > Package.
  6. On the General page of the New Package Wizard you must assign a name to the package. It is recommended that you also fill in the version, manufacturer, language, and comment fields.
 
Specifying package properties, including name, version, manufacturer, language, and comment in Configuration Manager
Figure 6. Specifying package properties, including name, version, manufacturer, language, and comment in Configuration Manager
 
  1. Click Next. On the Data Source page, set your source directory. This is the folder that contains the extracted AIR installation files. Adjust the rest of the settings on the Data Source page based on your network configuration.
  2. Adjust the settings in the Data Access, Distribution, and Reporting pages based on your network configuration and preferences.
  3. Ensure the settings on the Security page are correct for your network configuration.
  4. Verify that your settings look correct on the Summary panel, and then click Next. SCCM will create your AIR installation package and display the results.
 
Creating the program
An SCCM program defines the executable and any installation parameters to be used during installation. Follow these steps to create a new program in SCCM:
 
  1. In the SCCM console, right-click on Programs under your AIR package and choose New > Program.
  2. Click General and choose any name for your program. This example uses the name Adobe AIR. For the command line, browse to the install folder and select the Adobe AIR Installer.exe file. To install the AIR runtime and an AIR application, append the following options to the end of the command line:
 
Note: As indicated in the introduction, you are required to obtain a redistribution agreement to install and distribute the Adobe AIR runtime in this manner. The documentation provided after being approved to distribute the AIR runtime details additional parameters for enterprise users. For more information about licensing and the license application, visit the Adobe AIR runtime distribution page.
 
-silent -desktopShortcut -programMenu fms_explorer.air
Note: -silent is required to run without user interaction during installation; -desktopShortcut adds a desktop shortcut for the AIR application; -programMenu adds a Start Menu shortcut for the AIR application; and fms_explorer.air refers to the AIR application being installed.
 
The entire command line should look like this:
 
"Adobe AIR Installer.exe" -silent -desktopShortcut -programMenu fms_explorer.air
These options tell the AIR installer to run without user interaction, install the FMS Explorer AIR application, and create both desktop and Start menu shortcuts for it.
 
If AIR is being installed without an AIR application, the command line should look like this:
 
"Adobe AIR Installer.exe" -silent
Specifying the program name and command line options in Configuration Manager
Figure 7. Specifying the program name and command line options in Configuration Manager
 
  1. Click Next. On the Requirements page, specify minimum requirements for the target workstations. If a workstation does not meet these requirements, the application will not be installed on it. Set an estimated disk space of 100MB. The final installation size of the AIR runtime is less than 30MB. If the destination computer has at least 100MB free, you will have ample program space as well as temp space for the AIR installation files.
  2. Select compatible operating systems to ensure that AIR will not be installed on an incompatible machine. AIR requires one of the following:
 
  • Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or later
  • Windows XP Tablet PC EditionWindows Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise including 64-bit editions
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4
  • Windows 2003 Server
 
  1. Assign settings on the Environment page. Because there is no need for the user to interact with the application or runtime during installation, choose to allow the installer to run whether or not a useris logged on. Select the setting "Run with administrative rights" or the installation will fail.
  2. Use the default settings on the Advanced tab.
  3. On the Windows Installer page, click Import and browse to the AIR setup.msi file, which is found in the bundled install files you downloaded from Adobe. This will import the Windows Installer product code.

 

Importing the Windows Installer product code in Configuration Manager
Figure 8. Importing the Windows Installer product code in Configuration Manager
 
Note: If MOM (Microsoft Operations Manager) is implemented on your network, adjust settings as necessary on the MOM Maintenance panel.
 
  1. Verify your settings on the Summary page and then click Next. SCCM will create the program for your package and display the results.
 
Creating the distribution points and collections
The next step is to create a distribution point and collection for the package. The distribution point is the server location where the files will reside for distribution to clients, which will pull the package from this location. A collection defines the groups of workstations that are intended to receive the distribution.
 
  1. Right-click on Distribution Points under your AIR package and then choose New Distribution Point. Use the wizard to choose the server (or servers) that will be the distribution point for the AIR package (see Figure 9).

 

Specifying the distribution point in Configuration Manager
Figure 9. Specifying the distribution point in Configuration Manager
 
SCCM will add the distribution point to your package and display the results.
 
  1. Use the default collection: All Windows Workstation or Professional Systems. Advanced users may create a custom collection at this point.

Advertising the new software
An advertisement tells all workstations in the collection that there is new software available to install. An advertisement ties together the package, program, and collection. The workstations will install the software package based on a pre-configured interval defined within the site configuration. To create a new advertisement, follow these steps:
 
  1. Right-click on Advertisements and choose New > Advertisement.
  2. On the General page, choose a package from the dropdown menu. Then choose the AIR Installer program. Finally, browse to select the collection to be used for the advertisement (see Figure 10).

 

Specifying advertisement properties in Configuration Manager
Figure 10. Specifying advertisement properties in Configuration Manager
 
  1. On the Schedule page, set an advertisement start time. Set a Mandatory Assignment of "As soon as possible." In a large network or with a larger program, you should schedule for a time that minimizes any negative impact on network performance or the users' experience.
  2. On the Distribution Points page you can choose to run the program directly from the distribution point or have each client download it first. The former option will result in more traffic to your distribution point during the installation. You will need to adjust these settings to fit your environment.
  3. Configure the settings on the Interaction and Security pages as needed for your network.
  4. Verify your settings on the Summary steps and then click Next. SCCM will create the new Advertisement and display the results.
 
Advertisement polling varies between environments and depends on network connectivity, speed, and availability. As clients check in, they will receive the advertisement and perform the installation. When the client checks in with SCCM, a message will appear in the user's system tray to notify them of the new program installation. Upon completion of the installation, AIR and the AIR application will be installed on the client. Based on the configuration choices outlined earlier, the AIR application's shortcut will appear in the Start menu and on the desktop.
 

Using IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express

This section covers the main steps in installing the AIR runtime and an AIR application using Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express for Software Distribution (TPMX), including the creation of packages, distribution lists, and schedules.
 
Creating the installation package
A TPMX package is a data set containing any installation files to be installed on the workstations. To create a package follow these steps:
 
  1. Download the bundled Adobe AIR runtime from Adobe.com. The download link is provided via e-mail after you applied for permission and are approved to redistribute the runtime.
  2. Extract the installation files from the ZIP file to a subdirectory of the TPMX package directory. You can choose the name of the subdirectory; for this article, we use a subdirectory named AIRInstall. In a default installation this directory is located at C:\Program Files\IBM\Tivoli\TPMX\Server\TPMXAPP.ear\tpmx.war\packages\win32\AIRInstall (see Figure 11).

 

The Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express package directory
Figure 11. The Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express package directory
 
  1. If you want to install an AIR application at the same time as the runtime, download the AIR application file and save it in the AIRInstall directory. The screenshots that follow demonstrate installing the FMS (Flash Media Server) Explorer, a developer learning tool.
  2. Create a simple batch file named install.bat that contains the AIR Installer command line. To install the AIR runtime and an AIR application, append the following options to the end of the command line:
 
Note: As indicated in the introduction, you are required to obtain a redistribution agreement to install and distribute the Adobe AIR runtime in this manner. The documentation provided after being approved to distribute the AIR runtime details additional parameters for enterprise users. For more information about licensing and the license application, visit the Adobe AIR runtime distribution page.
 
-silent -desktopShortcut -programMenu fms_explorer.air
Note: -silent is required to run without user interaction during installation;-desktopShortcut adds a desktop shortcut for the AIR application; -programMenu adds a Start Menu shortcut for the AIR application; and fms_explorer.air names the AIR application being installed.
 
The entire command line should look like this:
 
"Adobe AIR Installer.exe" -silent -desktopShortcut -programMenu fms_explorer.air
These options tell the AIR installer to run without user interaction, install the FMS Explorer AIR application, and create both desktop and Start menu shortcuts for it.
 
If AIR is being installed without an AIR application, the command line should look like this:
 
"Adobe AIR Installer.exe" -silent
When TPMX pushes a package to a client computer, it places the installer files in the target directory specified during creation of the software package. This is why the executable path begins with C:\AIRinstall\ (see Figure 12).
 
The install.bat file contains a single command line for Adobe AIR Installer.
Figure 12. The install.bat file contains a single command line for Adobe AIR Installer.
 
  1. Save the batch file to the AIRInstall package directory.
  2. Log in to TPMX and click Manage Assets.
  3. Click Software, select Packages, and then choose New > Package.
  4. In the Package Management Wizard, assign (at least) a name and a version on the General tab. Then set Max Install Time to 15 minutes and set the Silent and Mandatory options. Installing AIR does not require a reboot, so you can leave the rest of the settings as they are (see Figure 13). When finished, click Next.
 
Setting package properties
Figure 13. Setting package properties
 
  1. On the Install tab, set your package type. Choose Directory Download and set the Installation Directory to the folder that contains the extracted AIR installation files.

 

TPMX requires the path to be relative to the DocRoot of the application server, so the path in this case is:
 
/tpmx/packages/win32/AIRInstall
  1. Set the Installation Command to call the batch file:

 

/AIRInstall/install.bat
  1. Select the option to have TPMX remove the directory after install.
  2. Set Stamp File to C:\Program Files\IBM\Tivoli\TPMX\ Agent\Stampfiles\fms_explorer.txt and Stamp Mode to Auto.
 
TPMX will check for the existence of the stamp file to verify that the package installed successfully. AIR applications may not add a registry entry upon install, so use the stamp file to verify successful installation. When finished, click Next.
 
Setting package install options
Figure 14. Setting package install options
 
  1. On the Target tab, set the Temp Space and Target Space requirements to 50MB each. Next, set the Target Directory to C:. Because the batch file is hard-coded to run from the C: drive, this is required. Leave the rest of the settings unchanged and click Next.
  2. On the Platform tab, select Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows 2003 to ensure that AIR will not be installed on an incompatible machine, then click Next.
  3. You do not need to configure anything on the Upload tab. When finished, click Add. TPMX will upload the files from your install directory and create the software package. It will now appear in the package list.
 
Creating distribution lists
Distribution lists define groups of workstations that need to install packages. Follow these steps to create a simple distribution list:
 
  1. Click Dists and then select Distribution Lists > New Distribution List.
  2. In the Distribution Management Wizard, assign a name on the General tab. In this case, set the name to Windows Systems and type All Windows Systems for the description. When finished, click Next.
  3. On the Selectable Targets tab, select any network workstations that should be part of this distribution list. When finished, click Update (see Figure 15).

 

Specifying the targets for a new distribution list
Figure 15. Specifying the targets for a new distribution list
 
  1. TPMX creates your distribution list and adds it to the list of any existing distribution lists.

Scheduling
Scheduling determines when the machines on a given distribution list will receive a package. To create a schedule:

 

  1. Click Dists and select Schedules > New Schedule.
  2. In the Schedule Management Wizard, assign a name to the schedule, for example, FMS Explorer Installation. Select the Enable check box, and choose a Distribution Name from the dropdown list. Specify the Daily Start Time, Daily End Time, Start Date, and End Date for the schedule. When finished, click Next.
  3. On the Package Tab, select Query Packages, and then click Search. TPMX will populate the Package/Bundle Name dropdown list with all the packages that match your search. Choose your package from the list. When finished, click Update (see Figure 16).

 

Note: If you have a large number of packages already defined, you can enter a search term to narrow the search results first.
 
Adding a package to the new schedule
Figure 16. Adding a package to the new schedule
 
TPMX will create the Schedule and begin pushing the AIR runtime and the AIR application to the clients based on the schedule's dates and times. When the schedule takes effect, the client systems will download and execute the package. You can verify success by checking the TPMX Package Report or Schedule Report. Select Reports > Distribution Reports > Package Report. Select your package from the list. The Summary Report shows the total distributions, as well as successfull and failed installations.
 
Where to Go from Here
Review the documentation for SMS, SCCM, or TPMX to learn more about the additional installation options available in these configurable environments.