Posts tagged "licensing"

32767 Days Left, But Who’s Counting?

A significant licensing bug has caused certain installs of CS6 software on Mac systems to begin prompting the Trial screen indicating that the software is no longer licensed but is now in Trial mode. Normally the trial period is for 30 days. But in this case, it states that the trial period is 32,767 days. Just a bit over 89 years. So imagine it is 2102. Your kids and grandkids have long since moved to Mars, but apparently you, the IT admin are still stuck on Earth dealing with the Adobe’s CS6 licensing issues! I joke. Why? Because this is particularly egregious and has been very disruptive for many production environments, school labs, etc. And we have been particularly slow to respond to this issue. I am not saying this as self criticism but rather as a simple fact.

Do we have a fix? Let me jump to the chase (for once) and then explain the root of the cause and explain why our response to this has been sloth-like.

How to resolve the 32767 Days Left licensing issue:

1) Apply the Mac Photoshop 13.0.4 update patch

2) Use AAMEE 3.1 to create a serialization file

3) Run serialization file on affected systems

Details on #1: Photoshop 13.0.4 is available via the Mac version of AAMEE 3.1 in the Update workflow. It can also be applied manually if updates are enabled. The Remote Update Manager (RUM) is also available to apply the updates on the system. The specific command line for this would be:

RemoteUpdateManager –channelIds=AdobePhotoshopCS6-13.0

Details on #2 & #3: Adobe Provisioning Toolkit Enterprise Edition (APTEE) is the command line serialization tool that is included in the AAMEE 3.1 install. It is covered in detail on Chapter 9 of the Enterprise Deployment Guide.

Now, why did this happen and if it hasn’t happened to you why not? The pattern we have seen appears to point at the Photoshop 13.0.2 and 13.0.3 updates as they had impacts to the licensing database. This update caused a synchronization call to the serial entry that would basically cause that entry to become unusable. Therefore the product that had been licensed would switch to becoming trial. Except of course a trial time period is 30 days and these installs would of been past 30 days so it displays that ridiculous 32,767 message.

We initially provided guidance on the Enterprise Deployment forum to use APTEE to un-serialize and then serialize and this resolved the issue for some folks. Same for the suggestion that came up to just use the serialization executable workflow in AAMEE 3.1. But, of course this wasn’t a proper fix because the same synchronization call would occur and then break things. Again. Ugh.

So, what was needed was the Photoshop 13.0.4 update that came out this week to stop breaking things. Then use APTEE to un-serialize. Bam, clean slate. Then use APTEE to serialize. Why not use the serialization executable workflow in AAMEE 3.1? Good question. The guidance from our Engineering Director I got was to stick with the APTEE step of un-serialization. Easier/cleaner to write to a file/entry that wasn’t there vs. one that is and might have been corrupt. Makes sense.

Why weren’t we able to diagnose and provide better guidance in a proper manner is two-fold. We are dealing with licensing that is time and actual product usage based. One would be unable to take the exact same AAMEE produced package with the same volume serial number and reproduce the issue after an install. Trust me, we tried. No, the licensing mechanism we have created is now like a ninja. One that we trained. Then we told it to go out in the woods at night and not be seen by us. Then we had to go out there in the woods to find him. Guess what? Totally hard. I am not sure if that metaphor works but I really like the imagery of a ninja hiding in the woods laughing (silently of course) at me.

In addition we did not want to announce a fix widespread until we had actual validation from customers that this was working. Once again, not a fix that they could validate instantly with any confidence that it had “stuck.”

We have learned a lot from this whole thing and need to do a lot internally to make sure this doesn’t happen with another product update…ever! In the meantime, you are owed an apology for the impact this had on your organizations. We understand that these types of issues are not simply things that make Adobe look back, but if you are an IT admin who manages a lab and the lab stops working the precipitation is that it is your fault. I know this first hand. Many moons ago I managed labs at a college and then when I first came to Adobe ten years ago I maintained Adobe’s training classrooms. I know what it is like to see a classroom of frustrated students and worse an angry instructor rolling their eyes at me or even yelling at me. Not pretty.

I also want to thank the members of the IT community that helped on this by reaching out to us with detailed info of the issue, providing logs, helping us test and validate, etc. Special shout out to the Enterprise Deployment forum posts. This forum has a large visibility internally and issues that get many reports here turn into data that is seen by our executives on a real-time basis. I also want to thank those who reported the scale of the impact to your Adobe Account Executive or your Channel Reseller partner. It is important that you be heard through all these outlets and that we understand the inconvenience and pain this has caused you and your organization.

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

Update 1: Please note that if you have systems that have not seen these issues then our recommendation is to simply make sure that you update the Photoshop 13.0.4. No need to unserialize and re-serialize if the PS 13.0.2 or 13.0.3 updates were not on the system. If you have an AAMEE 3.1 package with the PS 13.0.2 or 13.0.3 in it be sure to update the package to include 13.0.4.

Update 2: This entry was changed to clarify that that 13.0.4 is for Mac systems only.

Update 3: For clarity instructions to resolve have been updated. No longer require un-serialize & reserialize. AAMEE 3.1 serialization file takes care of both.

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.

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

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) :

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:

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:

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