Differentiating between Adobe Suite and standalone licenses

New Contributor

I'm working on our software inventory. I have to say I was disappointed to see that Recon does not actually pull software licenses from the machines but only scans for installed apps. This is causing quite a conflict for me as we have a number of individual licenses for Adobe Design Premium, Production Premium and standalone Photoshop and InDesign. Because of this I'm getting incorrect reports for licenses used because the Design or Production Premium software records supersede the standalone licenses and it throws off the count. Is there a way to turn off the supersede function or possibly a way to look for the licenses instead of just what applications are installed? Is there a better method to track these individual licenses that I'm missing?


Contributor II

oh I so wish there was mate!!!

Legendary Contributor III

This is an Adobe issue, not a JAMF problem, because Adobe intentionally obfuscates their serial numbers for installed products into something only they can presumably read. Some apps store their serial keys in a plain readable .plist file, but not the case with Adobe software. This is to prevent piracy I presume.
As such, the JSS has no way of capturing the serial numbers in its inventory.

If this is an issue for you, you may want to look into a 3rd party key server product to actually track and manage those license keys. Casper Suite can only do so much in this regard.

New Contributor

If a piece of shareware like MacProductKeyFinder (http://mac-product-key-finder.com/) can decode Adobe licenses, surely the software we paid $27 per computer for should be able to as well.


Hey Rick!

Great question. Without knowing exactly the circumstances, and reading what I can from the message posted, there are a few ideas I had that might help.

Specifically, under Settings->Licensed Software Management we have the ability to define specific pieces of software and report on that. With respect to the Adobe products, we have templates built in for the different versions, as well as Adobe packages (Design Premium, Master Collection, etc).

This allows us to create a record for the individual titles we have, etc, and is a great way to see the reports for those "Packages" of Adobe products.

When we're looking to create reports of individual titles, we can utilize Saved Inventory searches, or Smart Groups to say "Has this title, but not these ones" to separate from the others.

For example, we can create a licensed software object from the template for Adobe CS 5.5 Design Premium. This shows us that a Design Premium license is a device that has:

Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5 version like 11. Adobe Fireworks CS5.1 version like 11. Adobe Flash CS5.5 version like 11. Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5.5 version like like 1. Adobe Illustrator Adobe InDesign CS5.5 version like 7. Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 version like 12.

Then, we can track those licenses. When we want to see what license we have for specifically Photoshop 5.5, we can make a Smart Group (Management->Smart Computer Groups) or a saved inventory report (Inventory -> Applications tab -> Advanced Search) for devices that:

Have Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 version like 12
Does not have Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5 version like 11. Does not have Adobe Fireworks CS5.1 version like 11. Does not have Adobe Flash CS5.5 version like 11. Does not have Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5.5 version like like 1. Does not have Adobe Illustrator Does not have Adobe InDesign CS5.5 version like 7.

Which would separate it out. We understand the need to hide the serial numbers from plain text .plist files, and this may create a bit more work up front for us in creating the different groups/qualifiers, but it does help us do some reporting.

If we're only installing these packages using the Casper Suite, we can also look at the Policy logs for the policy installing Photoshop and track from there.

I hope this helps!

New Contributor

Hi John, Thanks for the suggestion.

The issue is not with identifying what computers have what individual programs installed, but rather with how the JSS looks for licensed software. For instance, let's say my company has 10 CS5.5 Design Premium licenses and 5 CS5.5 Photoshop standalone licenses. I use the template to setup my licenses for Design Premium with no trouble. There is not a template for just Photoshop CS5.5 though. I have to create that one myself. When I setup the Software Definition it looks like this:

Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 version like 12.

This is where the trouble starts. At this point the JSS now has two Licensed Software Records that indicate "Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 version like 12." The full Design Suite now says "This license supersedes: Adobe Photoshop CS5.5" The JSS now recognizes my standalone Photoshop licenses as full Design Premium suite licenses, giving me an incorrect representation of my licenses. JSS will report I have 15 out of 10 CS5.5 Design Premium in use and 0 out of 5 Photoshop.

If I remove the software definition "Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 version like 12." from the CS5.5 Design Premium software record, it now recognizes all of the Photoshop installs from Design Premium as standalone installs, again giving me an incorrect representation of my licenses. JSS will report I have 10 out of 10 CS5.5 Design Premium in use and 15 out of 5 Photoshop.

If you have a solution to this I'm all ears.


See my earlier post about SWID Tags. These include a reference to your unique serial number (not the serial number itself) as well as a reference to whether an installed product is standalone or part of a suite.

SWID Tags are all about licensing.

New Contributor

You might be able to drop a .txt file in a hidden location along with a given install or configuration that identifies what type of installation was used, whether it was a piece or entire suite. You could then set an extension att. to search this out and so report on it.

In theory this should work but it's up to you to define what makes up each install and add that to the files dropped along with the software. Lots of details on specifically how to do this have been intentionally left out. ;)

Legendary Contributor III

While the hidden text file method may help, it would only apply to installs done AFTER getting Casper Suite and beginning to manage them that way. If the OP is trying to use Casper to gather license information from Macs deployed prior to ever using the suite, it will be no help.
I think William's method of reading the SWID tags is best. I had completely forgotten about those tags. I used an EA once a while back to read that info into Casper. Seems like the best method that will work regardless if someone manually installed the Adobe products or if it was pushed via Casper. it'll just take some upfront work and testing.

New Contributor II
New Contributor II

Hey All,

In this situation we recreated the Licensed Software Records, but instead of manually creating the software definition for the stand alone Photoshop, we used the template for Design Premium and deleted all the definitions but Photoshop. After doing this the license usage began to report properly.

Tim Hartzel