Acrobat XI: One Louder

The weather has changed, the leaves are falling, it must be that time of the year; yes, another version of Acrobat! This is an awesome version, the best version of Acrobat yet. Why? This one goes to 11. We were on 10. We asked ourselves: where can you go from there? Where?

This is truly a solid release. I got to hand to the folks in the Acrobat group. If you don’t believe me, check out this great review on PC Mag.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2370981,00.asp

With every Acrobat release I frequently get asked the same question: Acrobat __  just came out, is it going to be added to Creative Suite __? Good question, but always the same lame answer: nope. It is similar to if you bought a 2012 model car with the crusty old iPhone/iPod 30-pin adapter built-in and then you asked the dealer: “Hey Car Sales Dude, why are you killing my buzz? Get with the now! I’ve got an iPhone 5 now and need a Lightning connector stat!”

This is at least, how I talk to car salesmen. I pay full sticker price.

Anyway, the reason why we don’t add the latest version to the Creative Suite media is that, well, it is media. It would costs gobs of money to press new physical discs with the newly included Acrobat and tons of hours of Quality Engineering hours to test out the new build of the media in every single dang language for every configuration of the Suite. Yes, gobs and tons. Or to put it another way: tons and gobs.

Worth noting that if you have a multi-year license agreement with us that includes separate copies of Acrobat, it is likely that you have access to Acrobat XI. Speak with you Adobe Account Rep or take a visit to the Adobe Licensing Web Site aka LWS.

Now a big thing to get out of the way is that AAMEE 3.1 does not, I repeat, does not support Acrobat XI. Lame. Majorly. We really wanted to, seriously, but our schedules were simply not aligned. More like tragically misaligned. Per usual, right? Shrug. But on a good note, the Acrobat team has configuration tools for both platforms now. That is right, both Windows and Mac! Someone get the thermometer out. Hell may not have frozen over, but it certainly cold enough down there to start drinking cocoa and wearing mittens. Ah, such nice imagery.

With Acrobat they have given you, the IT admin: 1) native package installers 2) cumulative updates 3) SCUP catalog support & now 4) a Customization tool for both platforms. Can I get a shout out to the Acrobat crew?

Oh, wait, there’s more: the Mac version of Acrobat’s Adobe Customization Wizard gives you the ability to add a configured plist file. Awesome.

If you are supporting Acrobat XI head over to the Acrobat Toolkit For Acrobat Products page:

 http://www.adobe.com/devnet-docs/acrobatetk/index.html

My buddy Steve Cordero has also created two IT Tips & Tricks videos on Adobe TV that cover the two new Customization Wizards. Yes, that is two wizards. There is a joke somewhere. So two wizards walk into a bar…

Adobe TV: Customization Wizard XI for Windows

http://tv.adobe.com/watch/acrobat-it-tips-tricks-tutorials/customization-wizard-xi-for-windows/

Adobe TV: Customization Wizard XI for Mac OS X

http://tv.adobe.com/watch/acrobat-it-tips-tricks-tutorials/customization-wizard-xi-for-mac-os-x/

Jody Rodgers | Sr. Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | Digital Media | Adobe

 

****Updated 12/19/12****

JAMF’s “Administering Adobe Acrobat XI Pro with the Casper Suite” doc is now live!  Thanks to the JAMF crew for putting this doc together.

Guidance for IT Admins for Adobe Certificate Revocation

Adobe is currently investigating what appears to be the inappropriate use of an Adobe code signing certificate for Windows*. We plan to revoke the impacted certificate on October 4, 2012 for all software code signed after July 10, 2012. We have created a web page with guidance for IT admins and will continue to update that page as we learn more and can refine our advice as well info for the public:

Security Certificate Updates
http://helpx.stage.adobe.com/x-productkb/global/certificate-updates.html

[Note: Please review the updates that are available for applications that you manage in your environment. It is always our guidance that our updates be distributed when made available once tested in your environment. If packaging Suite-based applications, please do so with the updated AAMEE 3.1.]

Adobe Certificate Revocation FAQ:
http://helpx.adobe.com/x-productkb/global/certificate-revocation-faq.html

Guidance for IT administrators for Adobe certificate revocation
http://helpx.adobe.com/x-productkb/global/guidance-administrators-certificate-revocation.html

*Adobe Muse and Adobe Story AIR apps as well as Acrobat.com desktop services, are affected and run on both Windows and Macintosh. If you have them in your environment you will need to update them from within the AIR application. No remote updating is available for these AIR apps.

Jody Rodgers | Sr. Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | Digital Media | Adobe

AAMEE 3.1…or why puffer fish is a delicacy

Imagine the feel of fine chopsticks between your fingers. Imagine picking up a thinly sliced fugu sashimi and bringing it to your mouth.  You can hear the koto strings being plucked off in the distance. You breathe deeply as you place the fugu in your mouth. You have faith that the chef has properly removed the liver with his special fugu hiki knife. This will not kill you. This is safe. You have to believe in the mastery of the chef; that he knows his trade. And as you swallow, you know that the puffer fish has met its match.

Four months, almost to the day I posted the blog post “AAMEE 3.0 for CS6 available now! Removes puffer fishes!” in which I strangely used the puffer fish as a metaphor for the anti-piracy licensing and serialization that Adobe introduced with CS6. These new policies were really a pain for IT admins, especially in education that use old-school methods of monolithic imaging like Ghost or Deep Freeze. Get it, old-school?  I really didn’t realize how many classroom environments did not have any infrastructure in place to remotely push out files or run our new serialization executable. So Adobe, in traditional Adobe mode, made IT admins mad and then told them to use a work-around that didn’t work. So a no-work-around. A not-going-to-work-for-us-around. An Adobe-is-giving-us-the-run-around. You get what I am saying.

And for four months, four crucial months in which schools were preparing their labs and classrooms for fall, IT admins struggled and spent extra hours at night and the weekends just to get their installs of CS6 to work in a serialized state. And many of the folks had never used AAMEE, and were forced to use AAMEE and cursed having to learn another tool. And they cursed Adobe, and they cursed AAMEE, and they cursed me. And this was personally really disheartening. I come to work to each day to make sure IT admins don’t curse Adobe. And to beat Joe Chilcote in foosball. Which makes Joe, who is in our IT, curse at me. Irony?

The puffer fish/fugu metaphor turns out to be a really good one for this release. The final version of AAMEE 3.1 removes the machine-to-license relationship that I outlined in the “Imaging CS6-Attack of the Clones” blog post in June.

This means that any serialized package created by AAMEE 3.1 that is installed in a master image will still be serialized on a cloned system. Why? Because we have removed the toxic liver of the fugu/puffer fish. If you are just tuning in, we are using the puffer fish’s liver as a metaphor instead of the puffer fish. Let me recap this: use AAMEE 3.1 to create a package and the machine-to-license relationship that was introduced in CS6 has been negated, neutralized, and ostensibly: neutered. Therefore, the imaging workflow/workaround that I outlined in that imaging post is no longer relevant. There is no longer any need to create an unserialized trial package and jump through the hoops. You can now create a serialized package like you should have been able to do in the first place.

NOTE: The AAMEE 3.1 beta did not remove the machine-to-license relationship. Only, the final version of AAMEE 3.1. So, if you were someone who downloaded the beta of AAMEE 3.1 from Adobe Labs please upgrade to AAMEE 3.1 today.

Wait, so AAMEE 3.1 beta was not feature-complete? Nope. There are three main features of AAMEE 3.1 that were not outlined in the AAMEE 3.1 beta post which listed out ten new things in the beta. The three new ones not present in the beta:

1) Removal of the CS6 machine-to-license relationship to improve imaging

2) AAMEE 3.1 MSI now double-clickable with basic installation Windows UI

3) Running of AAMEE 3.1 uninstall package now removes Software ID tags (SWID)

That brings the number of changes from AAMEE 3.0 to AAMEE 3.1 up to 13. Thirteen significant changes that I am very proud of. I am very proud of the AAMEE crew for turning out such a major release (despite the dot release nomenclature) in just four months. I also have to thank Adobe’s Provisioning team who helped implement the removal of the machine-to-license relationship components and helped making sure the SWID tags were cleaned up properly. A lot of hard work went into this release. Dot releases are not supposed to be this hard, this epic, this important. But this one was. And at the end of the day I know this release is what we should of provided to the IT community in the first place. That wasn’t possible, and I apologize. It took Adobe four months to right some wrongs. Nobody is going to give us a medal for speedy response to the IT community. No one is going to shake our hands for building software that negates something that shouldn’t of been in place for our Enterprise customers in the first place. I know this. That doesn’t mean this fugu sashimi isn’t delicious.

Oh, and before I forget: must give a shout out to our AAMEE Quality Engineering folks who with this release certified two additional workflows: Symantec Ghost for imaging and LANDesk for deployment. Thanks to both for Symantec and LANDesk for helping out on this process. Providing more and more testing workflows is never a popular request and I am really glad to have the support of our QE team and their management to continually support so many OS configurations, language testing, deployment and now, imaging workflows. Working out the kinks and documenting known issues behind the scenes is pretty much a thankless job. Except I just thanked them.

As stated in our previous post, AAMEE 3.1 is live on our Licensing Web Site  (LWS) and in Technical resources section of Adobe CS IT site. You’ll find the 3.1 Read Me and updated Deployment Guide there as well.

http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/it.html

Jody Rodgers | Sr. Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | Digital Media | Adobe Systems

AAMEE 3.1 Live—>Snarky/Irreverent Post Delayed

Just a quick late Friday note that AAMEE 3.1 is live on our Licensing Web Site  (LWS) and in Technical resources section of Adobe CS IT site. You’ll also find the Read Me and updated Deployment Guide. Go check it out:

http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/it.html

If you were following @Adobe_ITToolkit on Twitter you’d already be in the know.

[The regularly scheduled snarky/irreverent-toned post has been delayed until Monday. It is going to be a good one!]

A Brand New, Fabulous, Animated Video Walkthrough about the Old, Boring CS6 Offline Exception Process

*** Guest Blogger Jerry Silverman, Senior Solutions Consultant for the US Public Sector at Adobe***

Remember back when CS6 came out and Adobe announced that whole new Activation policy, wherein the installer would reach out to the internet to validate your serial number, confirm its correspondence with your Adobe ID, and activate your license? That was awesome.

No, seriously, that was awesome. It helps honest, hardworking creatives ensure that their license and software is genuine, and helps them keep track of their licenses, retrieve lost serials, stay connected with Adobe support, and access a ton of Adobe Community benefits. I’m not nearly as eloquent as our Customer Advocates and Business Transformation folks, who elaborate on these benefits here and here.

End of gushing review. How many of us can’t get onto the internet sometimes? OK, that looks to be about half. Which of us can NEVER get onto the internet? OK, all of us can, or else we wouldn’t be reading this. But how many of us serve a population of disconnected desktops, or secure desktops on classified networks, or desktops behind super-strict firewalls that only access a handful of domains? I see many more hands.

The problem with the Activation policy for CS6 perpetual licensees (and see here for the difference between perpetual licensing and Creative Cloud subscription licensing) is that if you raised your hand on that last question, and your end users sometimes install their own desktop software, those end users are basically unable to use that software, because they won’t be able to activate it via the internet.

Of course, you (their IT Admin) could use AAMEE  and deploy their software to them silently via the Command Line. And plenty of environments allow for this type of thing.

However, if you can’t use AAMEE for any reason, or if the end user lacks the enterprise deployment infrastructure necessary for AAMEE… what’s a creative to do?!?

Your end users can complete the Offline Exception process, detailed in this dated, flat, unmoving slide deck, or in this brand new, fabulous, animated video walkthrough on Adobe TV:

http://tv.adobe.com/watch/creative-suite-in-the-enterprise/activating-adobe-creative-suite-6-via-offline-exception/

Who you gonna call? -Imaging CS6 with Ghost

Update for Sep 13, 2012: The workflow outlined in the Ghost video is no longer relevant when using the final AAMEE 3.1 release which removes the machine-to-licensing which was introduced with CS6. See the blog post AAMEE 3.1…or why puffer fish is a delicacy for more info.

____________________

That’s right, I’ve summoned up the ghost of Ray Parker Jr. for a quick post on imaging CS6 with Ghost. What? Wikipedia tells you he is not dead? Fair enough. No offense meant Mr. Parker. Or is that Mr. Parker Jr.? Truth is he had a recording career before and after the Ghostbusters soundtrack but that was his big breakout hit. You can’t undue a hit. And maybe this Adobe TV video will be a breakout that our Systems Engineer, Karl Gibson has been looking for. Yes, the “Client Imaging With Symantec’s Ghost Suite” video is that good. That is, if you have the need to image CS6 and you are using Ghost. If not, probably about into the fifth minute you will ask yourself: “Why the heck am I watching this?”

This is the third video Karl has made for us around CS6. It’s a trilogy. Let us know if you would like us to cover other topics or want Karl to make a prequel. Speaking of prequels, if you need additional guidance on imaging/cloning systems with a CS6 install on them then please check out the previous blog entry “Imaging CS6-Attack of the Clones.”

Jody Rodgers | Sr. Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | Digital Media | Adobe Systems

AAMEE 3.1 Beta Live (Yes, Updates Have Returned!)

Update for Sep 13, 2012:  The release of AAMEE 3.1 is live and features 3 significant features not in the beta. See the blog post AAMEE 3.1…or why puffer fish is a delicacy for more info.

____________________

I was working on another draft of my acceptance speech for Software Industry’s Worst Product Manager of the Year 2012 award when I got the call: AAMEE 3.1 could be released as a beta. And this series of mudslinging and thinly veiled (and some not so veiled) insults will no hopefully come to a close. With the return of the Updates workflow we can now can dodge rotten tomatoes thrown our way for worthy reasons (like breaking imaging workflows) instead of taking out features everyone liked.

The beta of AAMEE 3.1 is now on Adobe Labs in the Enterprise IT Tools for Adobe Creative Suite section. We decided to go the route of releasing the beta on Adobe Labs instead of our traditional Prerelease program because we wanted to get this in the hands of as many people as possible, as soon as possible. This release is not 100% “feature complete” and I am hoping to get one more significant component into this release. In the meantime, here is the Top Ten of what is new with AAMEE 3.1 beta:

1)   Updates added to Installation Package workflow

2)   Updates added to Trial Package workflow

3)   Update Package workflow added

4)   Modify Existing Package workflow added

5)   Support for eLearning Suite 6

6)   Support for Technical Communication Suite 4

7)    New Welcome screen

8)   Display of build time now in % (and more accurate)

9)   Ability to specify specific updates with Remote Update Manager

10) Adobe Exceptions Deployer now in Exceptions folder

Okay, so I ran out of things for the Top Ten and had to include changes for RUM and xDA. But you get the point; the AAMEE crew has been b-u-s-y these last two months! And now get thee to the Internets. Oh wait, you are on the internet already. Okay, then, please follow these easy steps:

1) Go here: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/aameetools/

2) Read the 3.1 Read Me and updated Deployment Guide

3) Read and accept the terms and download the AAMEE 3.1 beta

4) Use the AAMEE 3.1 beta and happily make update packages in the comfort of air conditioned rooms while drinking lemonade.

5) Provide your feedback about this release in the Labs forum:

http://forums.adobe.com/community/labs/aameetools/

6) Follow the @Adobe_ITToolkit and/or set your RSS reader to this blog so you can be informed of when AAMEE 3.1 ships

Thanks to the AAMEE crew for getting this out so quickly and thanks in advance to everyone for helping us out testing this beta.

Jody Rodgers | Senior Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | Digital Media | Adobe Systems

Mountain Lion and AAMEE

The AAMEE crew has been working with the developer builds of Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) since Day One and Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) 3.6 on Day Two. Why did it take us a whole extra day to start testing ARD 3.6? We like to pace ourselves. A wise many named Howard Jones once said: Don’t try and live your life in one day. That’s right, all my deep personal philosophy is culled from New Wave songs. Don’t get me started about the deepness of the Thompson Twins. Maybe you are trying to live your life in one day. Maybe you are an IT admin and you downloaded and tested out the release build of 10.8, the new VMware Fusion Technology Preview and Capser Suite 8.6 all before lunch today. Did you even eat lunch today? Have you moved, at all, from your chair?

Our list of AAMEE issues with OS X 10.8 is super short. In fact, it is just one item at present:

Issue: Package deployment on Mac OS Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) fails for ARD packages (containing Adobe AIR payload) on client machines that have the user logged out.

Solution: While packaging, select Disable All Adobe AIR Installers, Including Adobe Help Manager on the AAMEE Configuration screen. When you select this option, the AIR payload is moved to the Exceptions folder.

Note: For ssh-based installations, regardless of the Mac OS version select the Disable All Adobe AIR Installers, Including Adobe Help Manager on the AAMEE Configuration screen.

Now AIR installers have been causing all kinds of havoc for Mac IT admins since AAMEE was just a little prerelease guy. As such, we finally decided that in the upcoming AAMEE 3.1 that by default we will have the AIR installers disabled. We probably should have done this earlier.

Speaking of AAMEE 3.1…where the heck is it? This time next week, if all the stars align you’ll be happily using the beta of 3.1. More to come soon!

And one last note regarding OS X 10.8, this KB “Digital Signature verification method for pre-Gatekeeper Adobe Installers” may be of an interest for those doing installs of pre-CS6 on 10.8 systems:

 http://helpx.adobe.com/x-productkb/global/verification-method-pre-gatekeeper-installers-mac.html

Jody Rodgers | Senior Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | Digital Media | Adobe Systems

Two New IT Tools on Adobe Labs

In case you aren’t following @Adobe_ITToolkit on Twitter then you probably missed last week’s announcement about the two new tools we posted up on Adobe Labs. Well with the luxury of not having 144 character limits we expand on these two tools briefly.

The first one is a command line tool that efficiently removes AAMEE 3.0 from your system. It is called, cleverly enough, Remove AAMEE 3.x Utility. Why would you need to remove AAMEE 3.0? Well due to the lack of backwards compatibility, AAMEE 3.0 can not build packages for CS 5.x media nor create update packages for CS 5.x. And sadly AAMEE 2.1 and AAMEE 3.0 can not exist on the same system. So you can either use another system to reinstall AAMEE 2.1, use a VM, or uninstall AAMEE 3.0 with the help of this tool and then reinstall AAMEE 2.1. Complex? You betcha. Lame? You betcha. Better than a stick in the eye? Depends on your tolerance for sticks in the eye.

The second command line tool is called 64-bit Serialization File Generator allows you to generate serialization files for media with 64-bit driver payload. This tool is for Windows systems and is for apps with a 64-bit driver payload—for example, After Effects CS6. If that isn’t applicable to the packages you are building forget you ever read this and go have a glass of lemonade.

These tools join the helpful Exceptions Deployer Application and Remote Update Manager tools up on the Labs site. If you have feedback on these tools or their documentation please use the Community tab on the Labs site to visit the Enterprise IT Tools for Creative Suite discussion forum.

Enterprise IT Tools for Adobe Creative Suite

Jody Rodgers | Sr. Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | Digital Media | Adobe

Imaging CS6-Attack of the Clones

Update for Sep 13, 2012: The steps outlined in this post for imaging are no longer relevant when using the final AAMEE 3.1 release which removes the machine-to-licensing which was introduced with CS6. See the blog post AAMEE 3.1…or why puffer fish is a delicacy for more info.

____________________

Invoking any of the Star Wars Prequels is surely starting this blog entry off on the wrong foot. I can practically hear the booing. Come on, Star Wars II- Attack of the Clones had some good parts in it. The whole part on Coruscant with the assassin, Zam Wessell, trying to kill Padmé? And I love the whole part of the film when they are on Kamino where the Kaminoans are making the clones. Admittedly, the movie falls apart once they go to Geonosis.

But back to the clones! Not the clones based off of Jango Fett, but rather the process of cloning a computer for a lab, classroom, event, new system, etc. Also known as imaging and for better or worse ghosting. I honestly don’t know if Ghost (presently a Symantec  product) was named after the process or people have made the application’s name a verb. Whereas “I ghosted that Mac with Disk Utility” is a wrong as “I Shopped that dog’s head onto my cousin’s body.” Little known fact, Ghost is an acronym for General Hardware-Oriented System Transfer. Time to tally up your Nerd Points™ and declare victory if you already knew that acronym AND you knew that Zam Wessell was a Clawdite from Zolan.

In CS6 we introduced a licene-to-machine relationship that breaks many traditional imagining methods whereas a master image is serialized and then cloned. Now the booing is a little more warranted. In fact, imagine the first line of this paragraph read by Jar-Jar Binks to really make your blood boil. Obviously you will want to add “Meesa thinks” at the front. And expect this decision to create this licene-to-machine relationship will be as popular as Jar-Jar. It was actually more of a bi-product of our activation changes and not really a planned assault on IT admins who have to imagine systems. But whatever Adobe Man, the damage is done! Well true, but we do have a workaround of sorts. Is this workaround lame? On a scale from 1-10 with 10 being the worst workaround ever, I’d give it a 6. Maybe a 5 if you are not familiar with AAMEE. Maybe a 4 if you ran into trouble with imaging CS6 on your own and Googled “Adobe broke imaging in CS6″ (but with some curse words sprinkled in the search words) and then you had to read through 3 paragraphs before I got onto the workaround steps.

Actually, before I give you workaround steps, for those who want a walkthrough of the process our Systems Engineer, Karl Gibson, has created a video on Adobe TV called “Client Imaging for CS6” which is quite helpful.

Steps for Client Imaging for CS6

1) Use AAMEE 3.0 to create an unserialized CS6 Trial Package

2) Use AAMEE 3.0 to create a Serialization file [Yes, you'll need to be online and use an Adobe ID for your organization]

3) Install/deploy the AAMEE produced CS6 Trial Package to the master image

4) The installed CS6 software will be in Trial Mode but you could make any changes you wanted including defining preferences [Don't serialize]

5) Take the master image and clone the image to the systems using your normal method

6) Copy the AAMEE 3.0 produced Serialization files (the executable and the prov.xml file) to the newly cloned systems [Manually, through a deployment method, first run script, etc.]

7) Execute the following command:

AdobeSerialization – -tool=VolumeSerialize – -provfile=Absolute_Path_of_prov.xml

Obviously you would want to verify that the CS6 software is serialized and opens fine without giving notice of the software being in trial mode. So that is theoretically Step 8 except depending on the scale of your imaging you may not want to do that on all the systems once you are comfortable the process is working. And you might also, depending on where you placed the files, remove them. So that could be theoretically Step 9, but obviously I was keen on having just 7 steps.

If you have issues with any of these steps, please use the Enterprise Deployment Forum to let us know. I realize that having to go through these extra steps are a pain but hopefully the Force will be with you. Seemed appropriate, right?

Jody Rodgers | Sr. Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | Digital Media | Adobe

Note: The bulk of this post makes reference to Star Wars which is clearly TM & © 2012 Lucasfilm Ltd. and if Lucasfilm, LucasArts, or Skywalker Sound have ANY issues with imaging CS6 I will personally volunteer to head over there and help you out. After I get my photo taken with Yoda.

 

UPDATE: We have a new Adobe TV video that will walk you through the imaging steps if you are using Ghost: Client Imaging With Symantec’s Ghost Suite