Adobe Installation and Licensing

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May 15, 2012

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

Deployment Partners


  • By Kurt Tappe - 6:08 PM on May 15, 2012   Reply

    Let’s be fair here. The best way to package CS has for a long time been to use AAMEE and then repackage with Composer. The first step lets you serialize & disable autoupdate, but the second step lets you truly customize your deployment. I’ll continue using both tools in tandem.

    • By Jody Rodgers - 6:16 PM on May 15, 2012   Reply

      Interesting, what customization are you doing when repackaging through Composer?

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

      • By Daniel Lyons - 8:50 AM on May 27, 2012   Reply

        I suspect the use of Composer here is to create a package that can be used with InstaDMG and other deployment tools.

  • By Don Montalvo - 6:18 PM on May 15, 2012   Reply

    Nearly had a heart attack…remind me to spike Jody’s beverage at the next meeting…LOL

  • By Michael Crispin - 7:53 PM on May 15, 2012   Reply

    Jody! – you CAD… anyway… something weird in RUM, the logs are stored in the ~/Library/Logs of the logged in user. What happens to the logs if your run RUM with no user logged in? — oh.. and… already got my Casper policy set up (!) I repackaged RUM with a post install script that installs the man page and runs the update and am using it as a self-service option. Fun times.

    • By Jody Rodgers - 8:29 PM on May 15, 2012   Reply

      re: What happens to the logs if your run RUM with no user logged in?
      Good question! I’m going to punt this question over to my engineers and get back to you.

      re: Self Service
      How are you handling informing the users they need to quit the open CS apps?

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

  • By Michael Crispin - 10:06 PM on May 15, 2012   Reply

    There is an option in Casper Self Service to provide a forced acknowledgement window where we advise the user to quit all open Adobe apps. Not foolproof, but I’m not going to hunt down PIDs as our typical installation is Master Collection.

  • By Julie McCoy - 5:25 AM on May 16, 2012   Reply

    Hey Jody, I can’t speak for others but in our environment we used AAMEE and Casper to deploy a custom installer that would skip AIR and other installer components that were not proxy-aware. I haven’t packaged CS since about version 5.5., and with an older version of AAMEE, but at the time excluding some of those components was the only way to get installs to run without choking on our proxy. I think you helped me figure that out 🙂

    In any case I never used Composer to do anything more than package a disk image of the installer and the custom AAMEE installer app. We used one policy to deposit those in /Users/Shared, and another triggered on logout to simply run the installer.

  • By Anthony Reimer - 8:13 AM on May 16, 2012   Reply

    Clearly, Composer is not dead. It’s just that CS6 will be the only product I can’t include in an InstaDMG workflow because you don’t support it and Composer can’t package it anymore. This is the main reason I am sticking with CS 5.5 for now.

    And Jody, you’ll be happy to know that I’ve finally been able to make what appears to be a functional CS5.5 installer with AAMEE 2.1 that I can use in the way Kurt Tappe described. Still struggling with AIR, since Vectorworks also wants it installed for its help files, but that should be solvable since I don’t have to deal with proxies.

    • By Tim Sutton - 6:29 PM on May 16, 2012   Reply

      Anthony, feeling bad I missed you at PSU this year as one of the few Canadian representatives, and given that I seem to support a lot of the same Mac audio/video software you do.

      We use Munki, and while I used to skip AIR, I also ran into the dilemma with VW 2012. I don’t know if you use Munki, but I was able to get AIR to install using the silent parameter in conjunction with launchctl and the bsexec option at the loginwindow. I haven’t looked into the possibility of the XDA with CS6, but my method integrates with our existing app deployment system so naturally I favour that. I also don’t know exactly how CS6 would behave with AIR components installed manually rather than part of an AAMEE or XDA install, but given it’s still using the AIR installer I’d hope it isn’t an issue. If you’d like to find me for more info, just look at the Adobe IT toolkit Twitter feed.