Adobe has launched a new software package that will create online programs that web surfers can use when they are not connected to the internet.

Adobe Air offers the technology for companies to create Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) that can be used on and offline. Both Windows and Mac users make use of a free download of the software, which is available now, although Linux users will have to wait some time before a compatible version is released.

"We continue to advance the future of digital experiences by enabling our customers to create highly interactive, expressive applications," explained Kevin Lynch, chief technology officer at Adobe.

AOL, eBay and Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids are among the first companies to employ the software to release RIAs.

According to BBC News, eBay has used to software to create a program that allows users to start setting up an auction while they are still offline. The listing will then be posted the next time the user connects to the internet. It also allows users to keep up to date with auctions and bids without having a browser open at the eBay page.

Andrew Shorten, platform evangelist at Adobe told BBC News: "Air is going to allow applications that run on the web today - that run in the browser - to be brought down to the desktop".