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

Announcing the Enterprise Deployment Forum

*** Guest Blogger Karl Gibson, CS Enterprise Systems Engineer ***

In the past people have used this blog and the comments section to ask questions about Enterprise Deployment and the different Enterprise IT Tools. While that’s perfectly fine, it’s not terribly collaborative and it can be difficult for people to track. So I am very happy to announce we have set up the Enterprise Deployment Forum. A great place to ask questions and see what other people have been asking (let’s face it we are all a little nosey) So pop on over, see what’s already been asked and post that question that has always bugged you, (preferably related to Enterprise Deployment)

http://forums.adobe.com/community/download_install_setup/creative_suite_enterprise_deployment

Karl Gibson | CS Enterprise Systems Engineer

 

The Many Uses Of RUM

*** Guest Blogger Karl Gibson, CS Enterprise Systems Engineer ***

A few weeks ago, Jody was kind enough to ask me to write a guest blog about RUM. Misunderstanding him and keen to impress so as to secure a permanent spot on this blog, I threw myself into the research I felt was required. I visited all 1,000 pubs in Dublin to sample there finest RUM, what I came to realize in pub 999 is that Ireland actually only imports 3 brands of rum, lesson learned!  Needless to say when I presented my findings to Jody he was not impressed and clarified he would actually like me to speak about the newest Enterprise IT Tool codenamed RUM (Remote Update Manager) So let’s get on with it.

Through my experience in speaking with IT Admins in the Enterprise and Education sectors, I have noticed the default behavior in most cases when building packages with AAMEE is that most people seem to select to have clients suppress updates. This I think is for 4 main reasons:

  1. Users are not Admins on there own machine, which means updates will fail.
  2. Bandwidth
  3. Control and validation of updates
  4. They use AAMEE to create update packages

I think everyone agrees that keeping software up to date is important for a number of reasons, chief among them security and bug fixes.

The RUM tool allows you to remotely initiate the Adobe Updater on client machines. It works as follows:

1. Admin creates package using AAMEE and selects update options, for example admin chooses to suppress updates.

2. Package is deployed and installed on clients

3. RUM file is copied to clients

4. Using a 3rd party deployment tool, admin sends a command to all clients telling them to invoke the Adobe Updater. Updater launches as admin and pulls down and installs all updates for CS products installed on the client from either Adobe.com or if you have set up your own internal Adobe Update Server using AUSST then updates (Mac or Win) will come from your internal server (saving bandwidth)

RUM will run when executed regardless of the update selection you have chosen in AAMEE and works with Creative Suite version 5 onwards.

We have already seen this tool being used to great effect and with people implementing it into there update schedule and having it execute automatically with designated frequency.

But don’t take my word for it, test it out today. If you have installed AAMEE 3.0 then you already have RUM, which is located in the “Adobe Application Manager/Enterprise/Utilities” folder.

If you just want the RUM tool, here is the direct link

http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/aameetools/

Now I am off to get Vitamin A for my liver.

Karl Gibson | CS Enterprise Systems Engineer

New Creative Suite CS6 Install – Why we did it

*** Guest Blogger Annick Baudot Mohageg, Product Marketing for Adobe***

Since we shipped Creative Suite CS6 I’ve seen a few comments on our blogs or forums from users complaining that the new installation requirements were hurting the “good guys” (= honest Adobe customers) instead of the “bad guys” (= pirate folks). This made me realize that we probably didn’t do a good job explaining the background of why these changes came about. Hard to believe (aren’t we supposed to be the big bad wolf?), but the required activation and login were actually put in place to help the “good guys”!

Most people associate software piracy with back alley sales of cheap Photoshop, serial number keygens, or free illegal downloads. A simple google search shows that there is a whole group of people who will never pay for software and don’t mind the risks associated with installing pirated versions on their machines. If you ask me, that’s not cool. Most of us would love to get a new <insert your dream product name here> but wouldn’t think about going out of the store without paying for it. Plus I’m pretty biased since my job depends on people wanting to use and pay for my company’s software! But that’s how it goes, some people think it’s OK and ultimately those are not the people I want to spend my energy on.

The type of customer we had in mind when we put the new installation requirements in place were the thousands of customers who contact Adobe each year to troubleshoot problems with what they believe to be a genuine Adobe application (as in, they paid big bucks for it)…. but find out that they were in fact using counterfeit. They didn’t go in a dark alley to buy their software, they didn’t use a keygen. No, these customers actually purchased Adobe software from what looked like a legitimate online store and paid full/close to full retail price of their hard earned money for it. Plus the box they received wasn’t a cheesy home made DVD, it was a “real” looking box; and the software installed and seemed to work just fine ….. until it bombed or they couldn’t install an upgrade 18 months later and called Adobe customer service to find out why.

That’s the customer we care about- the honest Adobe customer who thinks they are doing the right thing and yet finds themselves loosing hundreds if not thousands of dollars to high quality counterfeit without having any recourse whatsoever. By the time they realize they were duped, the online store they purchased the app from is gone, the credit card has already been charged, and they don’t qualify for upgrade pricing. Plus who knows what other malicious code was installed with the counterfeit- which is scary- especially for those working with client files, etc. I’ve been a freelancer and know all too well that this type of unplanned business expense or worry about possibly corrupting client files hurts- big time.

With the new CS6 installation, honest customers will now get confirmation that the software they install is genuine Adobe software. The reason we set the 7 day grace (vs longer) to activate and login was so that customers who were duped into purchasing high quality counterfeit can immediately realize the problem and quickly act upon it- by either blocking payment on their credit card or taking advantage of 30-day money-back guarantees some marketplaces (like Amazon Marketplace for ex) offers.

There are 2 levels of confirmation:

  • The first one is during installation: the serial number and software installed gets checked by Adobe’s servers and the customer gets a confirmation at the end of install that the software is genuine (or if we detect it’s not genuine Adobe, they are notified and install will stop).
  • The second line of defense is that since serial numbers are now associated with Adobe IDs during installation, customers can login to MyAdobe to ensure that their serial numbers is listed under their ID, and if it’s not, they can contact Adobe customer support to help out with next steps.

So that’s the scoop. Although I understand that activating and logging in during installation or within 7 days of first launching the new Creative Suite adds a few steps to the process, it hopefully will help many of our customers confirm that they purchased genuine Adobe software and if not, gives them recourse to do something about it. And that’s why we did it.

 

For more info on the benefits of Adobe IDs, check out Jeff Tranberry’s blog here.

Having troubles with your Adobe ID? Check out our support page.

Need tips on getting started with Photoshop CS6? Jeff provided lots of information here.

“Protect Yourself from Counterfeit” blog here.

For more information on activation, visit this page.


JAMF Composer 2007-2012 R.I.P.

Okay, JAMF’s Composer has not died. I don’t even think 2007 was its release date either. That was just a cheap gripping, tabloid style sensationalist headline to get you to read this post. Truth of the matter Composer, JAMF’s packaging tool has a long life ahead of it. And it has been a valuable asset to Mac IT admins who support Adobe products since the CS3 days. In fact back in the CS3 and CS4 days it was Composer that made packaging CS a possibility on the Mac platform. JAMF stepped up and really did a great service to the community by offering this as an option and it was a good introduction for a lot of people to the great people at JAMF who do more than just create tools for packaging.

With the CS6 release Composer’s functionality as a tool for packaging the Creative Suite has though indeed come to an untimely demise. Adobe has introduced two new requirements with CS6 that impact Composer’s ability to package CS6: the validation/creation of the Adobe ID and the validation of the volume serial number. Neither one of these can be done by Composer and therefore Adobe’s own CS packaging solution Adobe Application Manager Enterprise Edition (AAMEE) 3.0 needs to be used. Of course there is other value in using AAMEE 3.0 including the ability to customize the package for your environment and disable the pesky new activation.

I would like to say that on hearing this change, the folks at JAMF were completely supportive about this shift and made sure to help us get the word out. They allowed us to speak at their National User Conference last year and a couple of West Coast Regional Conference events where we previewed these changes and there were no riots. I do not believe that anyone at JAMF shed a tear on hearing this news. Except maybe one JAMF instructor who I will not name, but hint: his first name is the same as a famous jazz trumpeter. I think he’ll miss teaching the packaging of CS with Composer. Time will heal.

We want to thank JAMF for publishing the tech note on how to use AAMEE 3.0 with the Casper Suite entitled “Administering Adobe Creative Suite 6 with the Casper Suite”  which they released in conjunction with AAMEE 3.0’s official release yesterday. This documentation is a great resource for anyone who is starting out using these solutions or seasoned pro.

There is great potential in using JAMF’s full set of tools to better manage your Adobe software. One example of this is the possibility of using our new Remote Update Manager tool in conjunction with their Self Service application. How cool would it be to have a button in Self Service that said Update All My CS Apps?

Thanks again to our partners at JAMF! Long live Composer!

Jody Rodgers | Sr. Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | CS + CCM | Adobe

Guest Blogger-John Tomeny from Sassafras Software

[Note: After a few comments & questions on this blog about Sassafras Software KeyServer support with CS6, we have asked John Tomeny, VP of Business Development at Sassafras Software to make a guest appearance.]

Following are some notes to address the many questions here around the use of K2-KeyServer to manage either concurrent use, ELA, or per-device licensing.

Adobe continues to offer concurrent use licensing for CS6 products. As with previous product versions, a concurrent license specifies various terms and conditions, including the requirement of an effective method to ensure license limits are not exceeded. Here are a some relevant links on the Adobe site (revised April 20, 2012) :

http://www.adobe.com/volume-licensing/policies.html#concurrency-policy

http://www.adobe.com/volume-licensing/calculator.html

http://wwwimages.adobe.com/www.adobe.com/content/dam/Adobe/en/volume-licensing/pdfs/CLP5_Program_Guide_v3_EN.pdf

The new activation requirement for CS6 ensures that every installation will only run in trial mode until explicitly activated for each installed instance. Copying or cloning components from an activated installation to another computer will cause the copy to revert to trial mode – an activation process must be run on each new computer installation. This activation requirement simply converts the software from trial (expiring) to fully operable without performing any checks on licensing restrictions.

Adobe provides three methods for executing the activation process. Standard retail purchases include an install code much like previous product versions. But with CS6, the AAMEE deployment tool provides two additional methods for creating fully activated installations. Login to the AAMEE tool using your Adobe account credentials, then, based on your purchase records, you can create a custom installer that will silently install and activate a specific CS6 product configuration. Alternately, AAMEE can create an activation tool, again using your Adobe account credentials and purchase records. The activation tool is then used on each computer where an unactivated installation has been deployed by some other method (trial installation, copied, or cloned installation, etc.) in order to activate full functionality.

For more about AAMEE 3.0 and deployment of CS6 see:

http://www.adobe.com/devnet/creativesuite/enterprisedeployment.html

License compliance for activated installations must still be managed according to the terms and conditions specified in your purchase. For example, if you have purchased a concurrent license, in addition to the activation step on various computers that may “potentially” use the product, the concurrent limit must be enforced on computers while “actually” using the product. If you have purchased a per-device license, careful management of which computers are activated may accomplish license compliance but it may be more feasible to audit and enforce a node-locked license policy using a license management tool that is able to disable the product on unlicensed computers.

K2-KeyServer can be used to enforce whichever CS6 license model you have acquired: either Concurrent use licensing, ELA Enterprise Licensing, or TLP/CLP per-device (“node Locked”) licensing rights. For more information about Adobe Volume Licensing see:

http://www.adobe.com/volume-licensing/policies.html

As always, the responsibility rests with the license administrator to understand both the licensing restrictions, and the licensing rights that have been purchased (e.g. suite vs. point product, concurrent vs. node locked metric, perpetual vs. expiring).

John Tomeny | VP, Business Development | Sassafras Software Inc

http://www.sassafras.com/