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Summary:

The Adobe Application Manager Enterprise Edition allows you to create a custom install package for OS X using your CS5 media. Not only that, it will allow you to bundle updates into the install or create a separate update package. I’ll walk you through both operations.

adobe-app-manager-feature

Dealing with the Adobe CS suites can be a daunting task when you have to do large-scale deployments. Trying to use Apple Remote Desktop requires the install be a package file, and Adobe doesn’t want to make it easy, so they like to use application files instead. In the past, I’ve tried many different solutions to deploy a configured CS installation to classrooms. I had the most success using Composer from JAMF Software, until now.

Adobe now has its own tool for creating deployment packages of its CS5 products for OS X computers. The Adobe Application Manager Enterprise Edition (AAM) may be a mouthful, but it’s a blessing to those of us who have been waiting for such a tool to arrive. It allows you to create a custom install package file using your CS5 media. Not only that; it will allow you to bundle updates into the install or create a separate update package. I’ll walk through both of these operations.

Creating a Custom Package Install

First thing you need to do is download AAM from Adobe’s site. Once installed, insert your CS5 media and run the AAM program. The first screen will present you with the option to create an Installation Package or an Update Package.

  1. First, we’re going to do an Installation Package, so select that option. Next, we need to give our package a name, which will become the file name in the end. We need to give it a save location, too, and also pont it to the install media.
  2. On the next screen, give it your serial number and click Next.
  3. You then can disable any products you don’t want in the package or just let it install everything.
  4. Now we get to the heart of it. We have the ability to disable all the different options that are a pain to deal with when deploying a product like CS5. The default settings are good, but I also like to check the “Disable Air…” box also. Updates are shut off so users won’t be constantly bothered by update dialogs.
  5. Now we come to the update portion. Unfortunately, the program won’t go out and grab all the available updates for you. They have to be downloaded by hand and added to this window. It’s easy enough though, head over to Adobe’s update site and grab whatever updates pertain to your install. Just click the Add Update button and point it to the DMG files you’ve downloaded.
  6. Click Build and go take a break.

When the build is finished, you’ll have a customized PKG file that you can either use to install CS5 remotely using Apple Remote Desktop, or run by hand.

Creating an Update Package

After you’ve created your install package, you should also create an Update Package that you can also run through Apple Remote Desktop to remotely update any existing CS5 installation.

  1. Re-launch AAM, and this, time click the Update Package button. Give it a name and a Save To location.
  2. Hopefully ,you still have the updates you downloaded earlier when you built the Installation package. Otherwise, head over to Adobe’s update site and grab the updates you want to include. Click the Add Update button, and select the DMG files you want to be a part of this.
  3. Click Build, and it should complete itself rather quickly.
  4. That’s all there is to it. I hope Adobe stays on this track and continue to provide tools that make it easy for us admins to deploy its products in the future. Even if you just want to create a custom installer for yourself in case you ever lose your original install media, this is a great way to do it.

  1. Hamranhansenhansen Monday, March 7, 2011

    This article seems to me to be from the 20h century. The trend now is artists using their own tools. So a Mac App Store version of Photoshop is much better than a version an I-T department has monkeyed with.

    Artists are used to taking care of their own tools anyway. If I-T departments knew anything about Creative Suite it would be Mac-only by now from lack of demand for the Windows version. Even so, only about 10% of the Windows PC’s that are sold today are the $999+ type of PC that can run Creative Suite. Even just having AppleScript alone boosts your Photoshop/Illustrator productivity by 1000%. ColorSync, Time Machine, Exposé, and Unix add another 1000%. I routinely do freelance work at companies that have given PC’s to their artists and I carry a couple of Macs in with me and do the work of 10 men and nobody there understands that I am doing the work of one man and they are all doing 1/10th of the work on their business computers.

    I feel sorry for the I-T people who will work with these Adobe installers. You won’t like it, your users won’t appreciate it, and it just makes the world a sadder, uglier place. Among all the other awful things they did, the Bush administration allowing Adobe and Macromedia to merge destroyed competition in publishing tools and the new Adobe is a sad, sad shell of its former self.

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  2. Thanks for the heads up. While the arrogant ass Hamranhansenhansen might be god’s gift to tech savvy artists, we in IT have to patch and prep for the lowest common denominators.

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  3. If only the Adobe tool worked. First, it pukes on a couple of the CS5 updates I downloaded from Adobe even though it accepts five others. When it pukes on them, it completely quits out and you have to restart the process from scratch, including the serial #. I’ve had to do so 12 times now to figure out which updates it has decided to like and which it’s going to reject.
    Next, the “package” (I use the term loosely) it creates is extremely permission-sensitive, so you must .zip it immediately before transferring to another Mac or it will immediately fail.
    But finally the package, even when carefully constructed and transferred, still fails to install. It runs for 30 minutes and then finally elicits a cryptic “The Installation Failed” error. The Console just says “Archive Utility[2181] Uncaught system exception: signal 11″. Useful.
    I think I’ll go back to using Composer.

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