Feature Restricted Licensing - Online | Deployment guide

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Packaging and deploying Adobe apps to Windows ARM desktop devices is not supported yet.

What is Feature Restricted Licensing - Online?

Feature Restricted Licensing - Online is a secure license activation method for users who require access to desktop software but are unable to use Named User Licensing due to the secure nature of their environments. Feature Restricted Licensing – Online requires a connection to the Internet to validate the license upon installation. However, it does not require that users log in to use the software.

How Feature Restricted Licensing - Online works

Admin workflow

As an admin, create a Feature Restricted Licensing - Online package from the Packages tab in the Admin Console, and deploy it on a user machine.

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The Feature Restricted Licensing - Online option appears in your Admin Console only when Adobe entitles your organization to use this type of licensing. The option does not appear by default.

User workflow

Launch the application on your computer. The license activates automatically. 

When the application launches, it generates a license request that includes:

  • An Adobe-generated package ID that identifies the installed licensing information.
  • An Adobe-generated device ID, which is an SHA-256 (secure hash algorithm) hash of various computer attributes.
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None of the information shared in the license request is device-identifiable.

The app sends the request, using the HTTP protocol, to an Adobe licensing server over the Internet. For extra security, your organization can control the Internet access by a firewall that intercepts and unpacks all Adobe network traffic to verify the content.

Licensing

For Feature Restricted Licensing - Online licenses to activate successfully, the client computer must be able to reach the Adobe licensing server lcs-cops.adobe.io via HTTPS. Some administrators may require to open an endpoint on their firewall, and allow the endpoint https://lcs-cops.adobe.io. The client machine will attempt to reach the designated endpoint at random intervals to validate the license. However, if the endpoint cannot be reached, it will rely on the cached license on the client machine. After the initial activation, the client machine can be moved to a secure location. The license continues to work without further contact with the Adobe server until the license expiration date.

There are two options for license activation (in Step 8 of the following procedure):

  • Via https://lcs-cops.adobe.io.
  • Via https://lcs-cops-proxy.adobe.com (fixed IP addresses).

The license expiration date is the customer's contract end date.

Admin tasks

Create packages

  1. Log in to the Admin Console, and navigate to Packages > Packages.

    The history of all packages created by all admins in your organization is displayed.

  2. Click Create a Package.

  3. Choose Feature Restricted Licensing, and then click Next.

    Choose FRL

  4. On the Activation Method screen, the Online option is selected by default. Click Next.

  5. On the Entitlements screen, choose the required entitlement and click Next.

  6. On the System screen, select the required options and then click Next.

    • Choose a Platform: Choose the operating system and the processor support.
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    • It's necessary to create separate packages for macOS (Intel) and macOS (Apple Silicon) devices.
    • It's necessary to create separate packages for Windows 64-bit, Windows 32-bit, and Windows ARM devices.

    A package made for one operating system and architecture type, cannot be deployed on another.

    • Language: Select the language in which you want to create the package.
    • Use OS Locale: Create a package that deploys in the OS language of client machine. In this case, the OS language is the default language in which the package is deployed.
  7. On the Choose Apps screen, you can choose to create one of the following types of packages:

    Type of package

    Description

    How to...

    License-only package

    Create this package if the client machines already have Creative Cloud apps installed. Later, you can simply license the installed apps. For example, apps were previously installed using another licensing method. And you want to now license those apps with a Feature Restricted Licensing - Online license.

    From Available Applications, add only the License File to Selected Applications.

    Apps-only package

    Create this package if the client machine is already licensed with a Feature Restricted Licensing - Online license. Then, install apps on the machine.

    From Available Applications, add applications to Selected Applications. Don't add the License File.

    Package containing apps and license

    Create this package to install and license Creative Cloud apps on a client machine. For example, if you have not previously installed Creative Cloud apps on a machine.

    From Available Applications, add applications and the License File to Selected Applications.

    Choose apps

    Select Show older versions to display a list of previous versions of the apps. Enterprise admins can view more versions that don't receive security or feature updates by selecting Available application versions in package preferences (Admin Console > Packages > Preferences). For more information, see Packaging apps using Admin Console.

    To know what versions are supported for your Creative Cloud plan, review the Creative Cloud Support policy

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    If you add a product that has dependent products, the dependent products are added automatically. For example, if you add Photoshop, the dependent products Camera Raw and Adobe Preview are added automatically.

    After you're done with your selections, click Next.

  8. On the Options screen, select the required options and then click Next.

    License activation options

    Choose how clients will send information to Adobe’s licensing servers

    Authorize Adobe License server by DNS name(default): Allow traffic to pass through your firewall to https://lcs-cops.adobe.io.

    Authorize Adobe License server by fixed IP address: Allow traffic to pass through your firewall to https://lcs-cops-proxy.adobe.com and the fixed IPs listed in the License activation options screen.

    The default domain has a non-static IP behind it, while the new domain will point to one among the list of static IPs in the License activation options screen. The second option provides more control to the customer in managing outgoing network traffic. 

    License activation options

    Management options

    • Contact Adobe through a reverse proxy: This option enables license activation via a reverse proxy. The client machines will look to the entered endpoint to activate their licenses. You must ensure that you have pointed your reverse proxy to the correct endpoint for license activation to complete successfully.
      • If you've chosen to Authorize Adobe License server by DNS name, point your reverse proxy to lcs-cops.adobe.io.
      • However, if you've chosen to Authorize Adobe License server by fixed IP address, point your reverse proxy to lcs-cops-proxy.adobe.com.
    For detailed instructions on how to set up and configure a reverse proxy, see the Feature Restricted Online reverse proxy user guide
    • Enable Remote Update Manager: Run the updater remotely on the client machine as an administrator. For more information, see Remote Update Manager.
    • Redirect to internal Adobe update server: Redirect all updates for this package to an internal update server. The details of the internal server are specified in an override XML under Packages > Preferences in the Admin Console. For more information, see Preferences.
    • (Not currently available for Windows ARM devices) Create a folder for extensions and include the Adobe Extension Manager command-line tool: Create a subfolder in your package folder. In this folder, include extensions that you want to install with the package. For more information, see Manage Extensions in packages.
    • Install package to custom install directory: Install the apps in this package to a custom installation directory. The directory is defined under Packages > Preferences in the Admin Console. For more information, see the Preferences.

    Management options

  9. On the Finalize screen, in the Name box, enter the name of the package.

    You can also review the included applications and configuration for this package before building the package.

    Build package

  10. Click Build Package.

    The build status of the package is displayed in the Status column on the Packages page.

    If the package is built successfully, it displays the Download link in the Availability column.

    A package is available in the Admin Console for up to three days. To check the time remaining to download the package, click the row item for the package to display the package details.

  11. To download and distribute the package, click Download.

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    If you are creating macOS packages, the Adobe Package Downloader is downloaded to your computer. Open and run to complete the download process. For further details, see Adobe Package Downloader.

Packageinfo.txt

The package that you download, contains a Packageinfo.txt file. This file has the information such as the following about that package:

  • Package Name
  • Package Type - FRL Online Package
  • Platform
  • Locale
  • Creative Cloud Desktop application version
  • Package Configurations
    • Remote update manager - Enabled or Disabled 
    • App Panel - Enabled or Disabled
    • Beta App Download - Enabled or Disabled
    • Browser Based Auth - Enabled or Disabled
    • Files Panel - Enabled or Disabled
    • Market Panel - Enabled or Disabled
    • Use OS Locale - Enabled or Disabled

The PackageInfo.txt file is for informational purposes only.

Deploy packages

After you create the Feature Restricted Licensing - Online package, set up the end-user machines with the license:

  • Load the package on a hard drive and image to new hard drives.
  • Double-click the package file to install the license. For details, see this document.
  • Use third-party tools.
  • Deploy using command line on Windows computers. For details, see this document.

For details on troubleshooting installation issues and uninstallation errors associated with Creative Cloud apps, see this document.

Update licenses

If your organization has renewed their contract, you need not deploy a new package or license-only package to relicense your users. The user computer just requires to reach the Adobe Licensing Server through the Internet to get the updated license.

To update the apps on a user machine at any stage, create a package containing the latest apps, and deploy to the user machine. You can either create a package, or update a previous package, by performing the following steps:

  1. Log in to the Admin Console, and navigate to Packages > Packages.

    The history of all packages created by all admins in your organization is displayed.

  2. Click the expired package you want to update.

  3. In the package details pane, click Update Package.

  4. Download the updated package, and deploy to user machines.

Remove licenses

Remove single license from a computer

You can remove a license from a computer in the following scenarios:

  • The package is a license-only package.
  • The package includes the license and apps, and the apps are uninstalled using the OS-specific procedures (for example, Add-Remove Programs on Windows).

Use Adobe's Licensing Toolkit to remove a license. Adobe Licensing Toolkit is a command-line utility that is used to activate, deactivate, or uninstall licenses. It is available in the licensing package that you download from the Admin Console. Alternatively, you can download it directly from the Admin Console under Packages > Tools.

To remove a license, run the following commands with admin privileges:

For Windows:

adobe-licensing-toolkit.exe --precondition --uninstall --filePath <absolute path of the .json file>

For macOS:

sudo ./adobe-licensing-toolkit --precondition --uninstall --filePath <absolute path of the .json file>

The uninstall command removes the license from the computer. It may not update the license count in the Admin Console. You must use the deactivate command to reliably remove licenses from the computer as well as decrement the count. For more information, see these steps.

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The .json file can be found within the Feature Restricted Licensing - Offline package that was downloaded from the Admin Console and deployed to the user machine. The file contains the licensing information.

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To enable connection with the Adobe licensing server, allow the end-point https://lcs-cops.adobe.io.

Remove all licenses from a computer

In the scenario where multiple licenses have been installed on a single machine, run the following commands with admin privileges to remove the licenses:

For Windows:

adobe-licensing-toolkit.exe --precondition --uninstall --all

For macOS:

sudo ./adobe-licensing-toolkit --precondition --uninstall --all

The uninstall command removes the licenses from the computer. It may not update the license count in the Admin Console. You must use the deactivate command to reliably remove licenses from the computer as well as decrement the count. For more information, see these steps.

Uninstall products and licenses

Besides removing licenses from a user's computer, you can uninstall the license and the products. By using the Feature Restricted Licensing packages, themselves.

Read the details on how to uninstall packages from a user's computer.

Frequently asked questions

Every package is bundled with a license file. To create a license-only package, simply click Next, without adding any applications to the package.

Create license-only packages to deploy on user computers where applications are already deployed but without licenses or with trial licenses.

Only the following information is shared with Adobe through the license request from the user computer:

  • Machine ID (Sha-256 hash)
  • First and last user check-in
  • NPDID of products
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1. The NPDID (NGL Preconditioning Data ID) is the unique entitlement identifier. 

2. The machine ID is not the same as the machine name. It is an irreversible SHA-256 hash of various computer attributes, such as a motherboard serial number and boot disk serial number.

Here is a sample licensing request, including the information transmitted:

“npdId”: “ID of NGL Preconditioning Data”,
“npdPrecedence”: “Precedence of NGL preconditioning data”,
“asnpTemplateId”: “ASNP Template ID”,
“deviceDetails”: {
“deviceId”: “Device ID”,
“osName”: “OS Name”,
“osVersion”: “OS Version”,
“currentDate”: 1510649774873
},
“appDetails”: {
“nglAppId”: “NGL App ID”,
“nglAppVersion”: “NGL App version”,
“nglLibVersion”: “NGL Lib version”,
“currentAsnpId”: “Current ASNP Id”,
“locale”: “en_US”
}

In response, the Adobe licensing server transmits the signed license specific to device ID.

For Feature Restricted Licensing - Online licenses to activate, the client computer must be able to reach the Adobe licensing server over the Internet. Some administrators may require to open an endpoint on their firewall and allow the endpoint https://lcs-cops.adobe.io or https://lcs-cops-proxy.adobe.com.

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The services included in various Adobe apps may attempt to connect to Adobe servers. However, if a connection is not possible, the calls will fail in the background. For licensing, either of the two endpoints, https://lcs-cops.adobe.io or https://lcs-cops-proxy.adobe.com are required.

The computer attempts to reach the designated endpoint at random intervals to validate the license. However, if the endpoint cannot be reached, it will rely on the cached license. In other words, after the initial activation, if the computer is moved to a remote or secure location, the license continues to work until the license expiration date.

When the admin deactivates a feature restricted license for online activation package, the license count displayed on the Admin Console is decremented. However, the client computer must be able to connect with the Adobe licensing service at https://lcs-cops.adobe.io or https://lcs-cops-proxy.adobe.com.

Following a contract renewal, the user machine simply requires to be online to receive the updated license. There is no requirement to deploy a license-only package or update package.

Adobe does not support the use of Creative Cloud applications in virtualized environments.

Acrobat DC versions that support activation via Feature Restricted Licensing - Online will work in supported virtualized environments (Citrix XenApp, WTS, App-V, VMWare Horizon) across both persistent and non-persistent environments.

If a machine is out of service and the Adobe Licensing Toolkit cannot run to remove the license, the Admin Console license count will not update. Notify your account manager or declare this fact to Adobe at the time of their contract renewal.

Currently, TechComm products support three methods of licensing - NUD (Named User Deployment); FRL - Online; and in exceptional scenarios, an offline deployment for which you should reach out to your Adobe Account Manager.

Captivate and Presenter are using older licensing technology, so for the time being, you would need to deploy them using the serial number approach. Contact your Adobe Account Manager for deploying Captivate and Presenter. In the near future, these products would also be available along with other three products and then a separate serial number deployment for Captivate and Presenter would not be required.

For the two server products – FrameMaker Publishing Server and RoboHelp Server, we highly recommend using Admin Console only to create the licensing package for FRL. You should not select the option of using both – deployment and licensing package. 

For both these server products, there are many pre-requisites that need to be fulfilled alongside the scaling requirements, which makes it hard to deploy them out-of-the-box. In such as case, do review the system requirements for these server products:

Additionally, you can also watch this YouTube video demonstrating the FrameMaker Publishing Server installation process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2deelyM5VA8   

To download the server products, use the following links (instead of downloading from Admin Console):

In the Create packages procedure described above, choose Contact Adobe through a reverse proxy.

This option enables license activation via a reverse proxy. The client machines will look to the entered endpoint to activate their licenses. You must ensure that you have pointed your reverse proxy to the correct endpoint for license activation to complete successfully.

For detailed instructions on how to set up and configure a reverse proxy, see the Feature Restricted Online reverse proxy user guide.

Management options

The Adobe License Decoder is a command-line tool that tells you about all the feature restricted licenses on a computer. This tool examines globally-installed license files and provides the following information:

  • The apps associated with each license file
  • The packages the apps have been installed from
  • When the apps were installed and their corresponding license expiry dates.

Use the Github repository to download the tool and for detailed documentation.

To identify the activated packages on a client computer, follow these steps.

1. Use the Adobe Licensing Toolkit and run following command on the client computer.

  • For macOSadobe-licensing-toolkit --licenseInformation
    Short form: adobe-licensing-toolkit -l
  • For Windowsadobe-licensing-toolkit.exe --licenseInformation
    Short form: adobe-licensing-toolkit.exe -l

This command displays the licensing information for all the apps installed on a computer.
SAMPLE OUTPUT:

Adobe Licensing Toolkit (0.1.5.57)
License Details
 
NpdId          : MWVjZGNlMzMtZGU2Yi00ZmNlLTkzZTktY2MxMjBhZmFiZjg1
AppId          : Photoshop1
DeploymentMode : FRL_ISOLATED
CacheExpiry    : 03/06/19 20:01:56 India Standard Time
LicenseId      : 511F26523959D15EBD9B
LicenseExpiry  : 03/06/21 20:01:56 India Standard Time
 
NpdId          : YjZiOGU0ZTItYTkxNy00NTFlLWFkOTItZTljNTc2M2U2OTgx
AppId          : Animate1
DeploymentMode : FRL_CONNECTED
Operation Successfully Completed

2. Find the package on the Admin console

  1. Sign into the Admin Console and go to the Packages tab.

  2. In the Search box, enter the NpdId of the package that you got from running the Licensing Toolkit command, above.

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    The search is case-insensitve. Also, you can make a partial search. Which means that you don't need to enter the entire NpdId when searching.

  3.  

    In the filtered list of packages, click the package. The details of that package are displayed on the right.

    The Package License ID on the Admin Console corresponds to the NpdId on the Licensing Toolkit command, above.

    Use this to identity the packages installed on a client computer.

    Package details

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    The Package License ID is only available for packages created on or after 7/24/2021.

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