Packaging licensed applications - Any instructions?

Bernard_Huang
Contributor III

Hi all,

This is more asking for information than having an issue that I need to solve.

Are there any knowledge source or instructions available when it comes to packaging Mac Applications that requires a license? ie: When a user installs an application via self service, the application already has the companies volume license and therefore don't need to end-user to type in anything before they can start.

I imagine there would be plenty of ways to achieve this, but some guidelines to get me started would be good. Giving me a URL to read up on would be great πŸ™‚

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yan1212
Contributor

Hi @Bernard.Huang. This is actually a fairly big topic and I don't think you'll be able to find a one-size-fits-all guide for including license information in packaged apps.

The primary reason is that not all applications are licensed in the same way. But there are other, equally important, reasons such as:

  • What packaging tools are you comfortable with (and how good are your scripting skills)?
  • What is your deployment model? (i.e. are JSS policies sufficient for you or will you be looking at AutoPKG etc)
  • What are the characteristics of your environment (i.e. predominantly mobile/ static or inside / outside a domain/LAN etc.)
  • What are the T&C's for the particular license you are trying to package? You may be restricted by compliance policies, activation processes etc.
  • What are your personal deployment preferences (i.e. do you want to include the license info in every package or separate these and have a blank installer to be followed by a package/script that applies the licensing?).

Sorry if this makes it more confusing. Obviously, the more packaging you do the more you will gain experience and things will make a lot more sense. Some advise to begin with would be to initially approach this on a per-app basis (as you have done with Tuxera NTFS) and go with the best method available for that particular software. There is a wealth of resources in JAMFNation and if you search for specific questions you, more often than not, find the answer.

In terms of resources, Rich Trouton's blog is a very good resource on using Packages for slightly more complicated titles like Office or Sophos and will give you an idea on how to add pre/post install scripts to your packages. If you want to use Composer the JAMF KB articles are obviously a good resource.

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Bernard_Huang
Contributor III

Actually, here's a real-life example.

I've been asked to package up Tuxera NTFS (the application that allows Mac to write to NTFS drive) so that its license is already there. Has anyone packaged up Tuxera before?

Jens_Mansson
New Contributor

If you use Composer and snapshot file system changes it might give a hint on how the app handles the license. Don't know if it is supported since their FAQ states:

Our current policy is: one person = one license You can install Tuxera NTFS for Mac using the same license on all your home computers, granted it will be only for private & personal use.

@ http://www.tuxera.com/products/tuxera-ntfs-for-mac/faq/

yan1212
Contributor

Hi @Bernard.Huang. This is actually a fairly big topic and I don't think you'll be able to find a one-size-fits-all guide for including license information in packaged apps.

The primary reason is that not all applications are licensed in the same way. But there are other, equally important, reasons such as:

  • What packaging tools are you comfortable with (and how good are your scripting skills)?
  • What is your deployment model? (i.e. are JSS policies sufficient for you or will you be looking at AutoPKG etc)
  • What are the characteristics of your environment (i.e. predominantly mobile/ static or inside / outside a domain/LAN etc.)
  • What are the T&C's for the particular license you are trying to package? You may be restricted by compliance policies, activation processes etc.
  • What are your personal deployment preferences (i.e. do you want to include the license info in every package or separate these and have a blank installer to be followed by a package/script that applies the licensing?).

Sorry if this makes it more confusing. Obviously, the more packaging you do the more you will gain experience and things will make a lot more sense. Some advise to begin with would be to initially approach this on a per-app basis (as you have done with Tuxera NTFS) and go with the best method available for that particular software. There is a wealth of resources in JAMFNation and if you search for specific questions you, more often than not, find the answer.

In terms of resources, Rich Trouton's blog is a very good resource on using Packages for slightly more complicated titles like Office or Sophos and will give you an idea on how to add pre/post install scripts to your packages. If you want to use Composer the JAMF KB articles are obviously a good resource.

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davidacland
Honored Contributor II
Honored Contributor II

This is definitely a huge topic. There was a good presentation at one of the London Apple Admins meetups last year that discussed approaches and tools for packaging software: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBB5Ys_Tv3g (start 6 mins in and ends at ~33 mins)

My main recommendations would be:

  • Use tools like Composer to work out what is being written where when the app is being licensed
  • Once you've worked out what and where, you can decide on the best tool. Some options would be configuration profiles, a script added to the policy as part of the deployment, or in the worst case, making a supplementary package to deploy the necessary licensing files

If you're at JNUC later this year I'll be doing a session on customising apps and packages πŸ™‚ https://www.jamfsoftware.com/events/jamf-nation-user-conference/2016/sessions/

Bernard_Huang
Contributor III

Thanks everyone. I know I've asked a very open question on a very broad topic. I would love to give you all a tick.

Thanks for the videos and reading materials. Now time to study.

JIM_PCM
New Contributor II

Just to bump this one, since I am also looking for a better means of deploying Tuxera NTFS. The worst part of it seems to be that for the latest release (2018), the "installer" is an app that JAMF Admin doesn't like, so I can't push it out through a simple policy. Also, the method in which the license is applied apparently uses a unique identifier from each machine when it writes the license file, so simply packaging it up with Composer fails when installed on another machine (probably some hardware ID, though I don't know for sure).

My work around has been to create a Composer package that puts the installer app in the /Users/Shared folder with a blank file that has the license key as the name of the file so I can easily copy/paste the license key while running the installer (they added a step in the installer where you can apply the license during the GUI install). If there was a way to run the installer from the command line and feed the serial number in as a option, that would be awesome, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

In 2016 I contacted Tuxera support about this, and the 2016 installer could be licensed with a plist file generated by the Tuxera support developers, but that does not seem to work with the new 2018 installer.