Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe Installation and Licensing

Blog to post all Installer and Licensing related info to users of Adobe products

May 15, 2012

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



  • By Don Montalvo - 9:28 PM on May 15, 2012   Reply

    I’ve been wanting to present Sassafras as a solution for one of our multimedia clients. This blog post is just the ticket. Kudos!

  • By Steve Major - 8:35 AM on May 16, 2012   Reply

    You folks did it better with CS 5.5 and “the honor system”. We use KeyServer to manage our concurrent use license for faculty/computer labs. Now, with CS 6, we have yet another hurdle thrown in our way for mass deployments. “No problem, use our AAMEE tool! No big deal!” Well, when seemingly every vendor has their own “no problem!” tool, you end up with a fairly gigantic ball of yarn to keep track of for your mass deployments. In my opinion, you’re all so scared of piracy, you’ve taken the tact that all of your customers are thieves. We actively look for open source replacements now just so we don’t have to deal with these activation schemes.

  • By Torsten - 11:32 AM on May 16, 2012   Reply

    First it was crappy updaters, then it was crappy code database files, now it’s crappy activation process. What’s next? You want only Adobe installed on a computer that uses Adobe products? This is INSANE! If you buy concurrent licensing, you shouldn’t be forced to go activate every copy. You’re using concurrent licensing in an enterprise to make life easier. With this new process Adobe is announcing, you’re losing a lot of that ease-of-use and moving into pain-in-the-rear.

  • By kirank - 1:52 PM on May 16, 2012   Reply

    Hello Torsten and Steve –

    We are simplifying the activation process for our volume customers by providing the free deployment/package creation tool – AAMEE 3.0. By using AAMEE 3.0, individual users are not required to activate once the AAMEE generated package is deployed w/in the org. AAMEE 3.0 is a very easy to use, self-serve tool designed to help customers deploying in volume environments.

    Link to AAMEE 3.0 deployment guide:

    Kiran Kumar | Adobe Product Management, Licensing |

  • By Steve Major - 11:16 AM on May 17, 2012   Reply

    Hi kirank, thanks for replying! You are and you are not simplifying things. As an example, for our Mac deployments, the pkg created cannot be installed from a network volume. So, using a tool like Deploy Studio, and can run the pkg, but it needs to push that multigigabyte installer across the network to every workstation, then wait for the system to install it. Yikes. We have close to 200 machines.

    Previously, we built in CS as our base image along with the OS and other “core” apps like Office. But, that image is cloned to the drives with DeployStudio which will trigger your activation scheme if we do that.

    Why don’t you just work with the Sassafras folks to use their KeyServer solution to it’s fullest? We also deploy Finale. It “just works” with their provided keyfile for KeyServer. It’s effortless. (Yes, we LOVE those guys, thanks for guest blogging with them!)

  • By Rich - 2:34 PM on May 21, 2012   Reply

    If AAMEE 3.0 is installed on Windows 7 x64 can we create either CS6 Install Package for Mac or a CS6 Serialization File for Mac? I’ve read most of the install guide but it is vague about how to create a Mac Install Folder as a source if you are running AAMEE 3.0 from Windows. I have tried using the DVD media and the DMG file and also trying to copy the contents of the DMG from a MAC to a shared folder but it doesn’t work. It seems you have to have two computers to run AAMEE 3.0 – one Mac and One Windows. Is that correct?

  • By John Tomeny - 8:13 AM on May 25, 2012   Reply

    Oops! (bad link). I noticed that one of the embedded links above redirects to the wrong page.

    For more about AAMEE 3.0 and deployment of CS6 see:

  • By Brady Gallese - 8:50 AM on May 25, 2012   Reply

    Adobe, what have you done? I was looking forward to CS6 this summer, now I have another headache to deal with. It’s already in our lab image, and to much surprise – this new licensing/activation scheme, completely different than CS5. So your great options:

    1.) Use the AAMEE to make a licensed multi-GB package for deployment post imaging? Remember, you have enterprise, university, K-12 – different sizes and environments, different deployment tools and practices, and different expertise levels. Many institutions just do imaging with a basic product like Ghost and may not have advanced deployment tools like KACE, Microsoft deployment tools, or Symantec Deployment Suite for such post imaging deployment steps.
    2.) Use the AAMEE to make a serialization file. Great, we can touch each machine and run this installer, or yes, just burden your customer with utilizing a deployment solution to push this out to each machine (assuming that they have a deployment solution).
    3.) Go to each imaged computer, launch CS 6, enter my adobe credentials, enter serial #. Just a few hundred computers, no biggie.

    I’m sure our students are downloading cracked torrents of CS6 over the summer with more ease than we’re having after spending thousands to legally purchase the products for the institution. I can’t tell you how much I’d like to insert a few spiteful comments in here about Adobe at this moment. Thank you from all of the over-worked, under staffed system admins and IT departments who are feeling the pain of adjusting to your paranoid, counter-productive piracy prevention attempts.

    • By kagibson - 2:22 AM on May 28, 2012   Reply

      I hope you can continue to look forward to CS6 for the summer, it is pretty awesome. We did not introduce the Adobe ID requirement to punish the customers who go out and spend there hard earned cash, quite the opposite we done it for them as the blog mentions. AAMEE allows you negate the requirement for the Adobe ID to be entered on the client after deployment and also gives you other advanced options.

      Where a 3rd party deployment tool is not available , then we are aware there is sometimes extra work or steps involved. Depending on the imaging tool you are using then it is possible to set the serialization as a post flight script, or login script. We are seeing enterprise and education come up with great solutions that work for their environment. We will continue to try and improve the process and take all feedback on board.


      • By Romeyn Prescott - 12:28 PM on June 14, 2012   Reply

        You could improve the process by NEGATING the need for this at all! CS5 didn’t require this for enterprise/concurrent licenses. Why now? You asked Sassafras to author this blog post. Why not follow-up and partner with them so those of us who have K2 can use IT to meter our licenses without having to “come up with great solutions”.

        Does Adobe have any idea how much ill will they breed when they do stuff like this? The previous poster is right…I’m sure I could head over to demonoid or the pirate bay and pick up a cracked, easier-to-deploy copy right now. (No, I’m not going to.) So what does Adobe think it’s accomplishing?

  • By Greg Goldstein - 2:13 PM on July 2, 2012   Reply

    Quark was really into licensing management. I think that is why everybody switched to Adobe.