Mac Admin

Adobe Remote Update Manager

So I started the testing for this post a few years ago, and after a recently written post about patching Adobe titles for dataJAR I thought it’d be a good chance to revisit and actually get something out! Today’s post is about the Adobe Remote Update Manager, another command line tool that can check for and install Adobe updates. Read on to learn more!

Introduction

Full Disclosure: I’ve played around a fair bit with the Remote Update Manager tool, but I don’t have a need or the opportunity to use it in anger or full-on in the real world. Your mileage may vary and please test before rolling anything into your own environment.

The Adobe Remote Update Manager (or RUM) has been around for a good few years now, and offers a command line tool to run Adobe title updates. It runs on both macOS and Windows, and can work with a local Adobe Auto Update server.

There are some limitations in what it can do:

  • RUM will only work with updates to installed Adobe Apps. It can’t install upgrades (e.g. Photoshop 2020 to Photoshop 2021) and it cannot install applications that are not present already on the system
  • It can’t patch some native Adobe items such as Adobe Flash (now end of life), Gaming SDK and Adobe Air application updates
  • It can’t patch Adobe Acrobat or Reader unless their own updaters are version 1.0.14 or newer (see “Applying updates for Acrobat and Reader” here)
  • It can’t patch the Creative Cloud Desktop App (CCDA) or RUM itself
  • You can’t use the download action with the binary for Adobe Acrobat or Reader (see more below)
  • Unlike the ALD, the RUM command needs to be run with local admin privileges

How do I get RUM?

So as this is a binary, you’ll need to make sure this is installed on all the devices you wish to use it with. There’s three ways you can get RUM onto your Macs:

Option 1: Direct download

You can download the binary from the Adobe Admin console under “Packages” -> “Tools” -> “Remote Update Manager”. Once downloaded, this should be installed into /usr/local/bin/RemoteUpdateManager

Option 2: Include in your Application Packages

The second option is to add RUM to your Application and / or licensing packages. This is probably the easiest method and will supply an Adobe-made (and therefore Adobe supported!) RUM install using a macOS installer package. This option is found under the packaging options when building the package

Option 3: Use an AutoPKG recipe

The folks over at Moof IT have an AutoPKG recipe in their repo here, that can download and package RUM into an installer package.


How do I use RUM?

So a typical RUM command would look something like this:

/usr/local/bin/RemoteUpdateManager --proxyUserName=XXX --proxyPassword=XXX --channelIds=XXX --productVersions=XXX --action=XXX

This can be broken down as follows:

  • --proxyUserName=XXX --proxyPassword=XXX
    • Optional. You can pre-supply proxy details for the updates, but this will require service account details and isn’t a great idea. I’d really suggest consulting Adobe’s networking requirements KB and opening the required connections
  • --channelIds=XXX
    • Optional. Replace XXX with the channel ID/s of the specific products you wish to update. You can specify multiple channel IDs with a comma (but no space!) between the values. If you do not specify any channel IDs, all updates are considered.
    • You can find a list of channel IDs in Adobe’s Admin Guide here. These will only go up to Adobe CC 2015. If you have titles newer than this, use the --productVersions option instead.
    • If any specified updates have linked recommended updates (such as Camera RAW), these will automatically be considered and run too.
  • --productVersions=XXX
    • Optional. Replace XXX with the SAP code and version of the specific product/s you wish to update. You can specify multiple product versions with a comma (but no space!) between the values. If you do not specify any product versions, all updates are considered.
    • You can find a list of SAP codes and versions at the link here. Note that the current major versions of titles are at the top, with the previous versions under the “Previous Versions” disclosure triangle
    • Again, if any specified updates have linked recommended updates (such as Camera RAW), these will automatically be considered and run too.
  • --action=XXX
    • Optional. Replace XXX with the action you wish to perform. If no action is provided, the tool will automatically try and check, download and install any updates that should be considered.
    • Options are:
      • --action=list – This will check and display a list of updates that are available. The output is a little tricky, but there might be room to turn that into a Jamf Pro Extension Attribute if you’re feeling bold.
      • --action=download – This will check and download the specified updates that are available. It will not carry out any installations
      • --action=install – This will check, download and install the specified updates that are available. If an update has already been download, RUM will use the local copy.

Usage Examples

For these examples, I’ve used a macOS 10.15.7 VM, with Adobe Photoshop 2021 (v22.2.0 – latest at the time of writing), Photoshop 2020 (v21.2.0 – not current), and Premiere Pro 2020 (v14.3 – not current).

Running RUM without any options and with all Apps closed

Command: sudo /usr/local/bin/RemoteUpdateManager

Output:

RemoteUpdateManager version is : 2.5.0.3
Starting the RemoteUpdateManager...
**************************************************
No new updates are available for Acrobat/Reader
**************************************************
Following Updates are applicable on the system :
(PPRO/14.9.0.52/osx10-64)
(PHSP/21.2.5.441/osx10-64)
**************************************************
Following Updates are to be downloaded :
(PPRO/14.9.0.52/osx10-64)
(PHSP/21.2.5.441/osx10-64)
**************************************************
*** Downloading (PPRO/14.9.0.52/osx10-64) ...
*** Successfully downloaded (PPRO/14.9.0.52/osx10-64) ...
*** Downloading (PHSP/21.2.5.441/osx10-64) ...
*** Successfully downloaded (PHSP/21.2.5.441/osx10-64) ...
All Updates downloaded successfully ...
**************************************************
*** Installing (PPRO/14.9.0.52/osx10-64) ...
*** Successfully installed (PPRO/14.9.0.52/osx10-64) ...
*** Installing (PHSP/21.2.5.441/osx10-64) ...
*** Successfully installed (PHSP/21.2.5.441/osx10-64) ...
All Updates installed successfully ...
**************************************************
Following Updates were successfully installed :
(PHSP/21.0/21.2.5/osx10-64)
(PPRO/14.0/14.9/osx10-64)
**************************************************
RemoteUpdateManager exiting with Return Code (0)

Notes: This command was run without any of the Adobe titles open or running (besides CCDA).

Running RUM without any options and with Photoshop 2020 open

Command: sudo /usr/local/bin/RemoteUpdateManager

Output:

RemoteUpdateManager version is : 2.5.0.3
Starting the RemoteUpdateManager...

**************************************************
No new updates are available for Acrobat/Reader
**************************************************
Following Updates are applicable on the system :
(PPRO/14.9.0.52/osx10-64)
(PHSP/21.2.5.441/osx10-64)
**************************************************
Following Updates are to be downloaded :
(PPRO/14.9.0.52/osx10-64)
(PHSP/21.2.5.441/osx10-64)
**************************************************
*** Downloading (PPRO/14.9.0.52/osx10-64) ...
*** Successfully downloaded (PPRO/14.9.0.52/osx10-64) ...
*** Downloading (PHSP/21.2.5.441/osx10-64) ...
*** Successfully downloaded (PHSP/21.2.5.441/osx10-64) ...
All Updates downloaded successfully ...
**************************************************
*** Installing (PPRO/14.9.0.52/osx10-64) ...
*** Successfully installed (PPRO/14.9.0.52/osx10-64) ...
*** Installing (PHSP/21.2.5.441/osx10-64) ...
*** Failed to install (PHSP/21.2.5.441/osx10-64) ...
Some Updates failed to install ...
**************************************************
Following Updates failed to Install :
(PHSP/21.0/21.2.5/osx10-64)
**************************************************
Following Updates were successfully installed :
(PPRO/14.0/14.9/osx10-64)
**************************************************
RemoteUpdateManager exiting with Return Code (2)

Notes: This command was run with Adobe Photoshop 2020 open and running. You can see the update for Premiere Pro went through whilst the Photoshop update failed. You’ll also note the different exit / return code. More on this below.

Running RUM with the list action and with Photoshop 2020 open

Command: sudo /usr/local/bin/RemoteUpdateManager --action=list

Output:

RemoteUpdateManager version is : 2.5.0.3
Starting the RemoteUpdateManager...

**************************************************
No new updates are available for Acrobat/Reader
**************************************************
Following Updates are applicable on the system :
(PHSP/21.2.5.441/osx10-64)
(PPRO/14.9.0.52/osx10-64)
**************************************************
RemoteUpdateManager exiting with Return Code (0)

Notes: This command will just list the updates available. As mentioned above, without any arguments, it’ll show all available updates for all locally installed titles.

Jamf Pro Policy?

How does the output look when run through a Jamf Policy? Turns out, pretty nice!

Command: /usr/local/bin/RemoteUpdateManager --action=list (via a Jamf Pro Policy ‘Files and Processes’ task)

Output:


Troubleshooting

As with all things, you might hit some issues and not be sure where to look. I’ve chucked a few suggestions below to help you out with troubleshooting.

Running updates with Adobe Apps open

Strangely, Adobe call this out explicitly in their KB article (here) without much explanation:

Adobe Applications for which updates are to be installed should not be running when Remote Update Manager is invoked.

I read this as “here be dragons, we’re just not sure what kind” and advise that you do what you can to make sure you’re running RUM with the Adobe apps not running on your users’ devices.

In my testing, this seems to fail to update any running Adobe titles, but I haven’t seen it cause major issues. Maybe I was lucky? Maybe I didn’t test all areas that doing this may have broken?

Exit / Return codes

When running RUM, it’ll always return an exit code within it’s output text. This will be one of three possible options, which I’ve detailed below:

RemoteUpdateManager exiting with Return Code (0)

Everything worked fine. Either all updates / actions performed fine, or there are no updates found

RemoteUpdateManager exiting with Return Code (1)

Something didn’t work. Could be that the Application was open, the network isn’t live or some installer error

RemoteUpdateManager exiting with Return Code (2)

Some tasks worked, but some didn’t. Could be there was two updates to apply and one failed.

Log Files!

Adobe seem to have very strange rules on where logs are stored, and RUM is no exception.

If a user is logged in, the logs will be stored at /Users/[logged in user]/Library/Logs/RemoteUpdateManager.log

This is the same if the user is an admin user or not, if they’re the user that ran the command, or even if it was pushed out via a Jamf Pro policy.

If no users are logged in, the logs will go to /var/root/Library/Logs/RemoteUpdateManager.log

Again, it doesn’t matted how the command was ran. only who is logged in (or not).


What about updating RUM?

RUM, being an item of software, will have updates time to time. As mentioned above, RUM cannot update itself, so I guess that maybe we need some sort of RUM Remote Update Manager (a RUM RUM? A Rum Double?).

Credit to accidentalmacadmin on Slack

Ok, yes this was a silly excuse to get that (I feel funny) meme into this post. On a serious note, this will depend on how you’re deploying RUM initially, with the simplest method being to keep including it in packages you create. Alternatively, you can use the AutoPKG recipe mentioned above, or manually deploy updated versions as needed.


Outro

So that was significantly longer that I thought it’d be and possibly why I didn’t write things up until now. RUM can be a pretty powerful and handy tool, but does have limitations and some oddities. If you’re looking for more information on RUM, you can find it here – Adobe | Use Adobe Remote Update Manager. I hope this post has at least given you an idea of what you’re getting into!

As always, if you have any questions, queries or comments, let me know below (or @daz_wallace in #adobe on Mac Admins Slack) and I’ll try to respond to and delve into as many as I can.

Standard