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© 2015 Adobe Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

Updated Jul 12, 2016.

Document Cloud Product Tracks

New name–new paradigm

The latest version of the Acrobat product family are now part of the Document Cloud” (DC) product offering. DC products can span all aspects of your document workflow, including the desktop, the cloud, and mobile devices. Product offerings include two new tracks with unique update strategies.

Two tracks

The Acrobat DC product family introduces two tracks for both Acrobat and Reader which are essentially different products:

  • The Continuous track provides service-based tools as well as new features, security and platform enhancements, and bug fixes as part of frequent (and most often) silent updates. Over time, the Continuous track’s update cadence will be more frequent than the Classic track. Classic license program customers do not have access to this track for Acrobat.
  • The Classic track is similar to the 10.x-11.x model and does not provide new features in updates. Free services are available, but optional. Like previous releases, a quarterly update cadence delivers security and platform enhancements as well as bug fixes.

Example release schedules:

_images/continuous.jpg

Which track should I use?

Continuous track

Choose this track if you:

  • Use named-user deployments; that is, you want to manage entitlements through enterprise IDs (it is possible to use traditional, serialized licensing). In services-centric environments, it’s beneficial to have a single identity of the user across the desktop, mobile & cloud. DC products support federated and enterprise IDs for identity-based licensing. This track also supports serialized deployments.
  • Want new features delivered in updates as soon as they become available.
  • Use DC services.
  • Would like to take advantage of frequent updates (you can leverage a new silent and automatic update mode but it is not required).
  • Can automatically update or push controlled updates on a 60 day schedule. Since web and desktop updates are released in tandem, keeping the desktop updated ensures features and functionality remain synchronized with Document Cloud services. For more detail, see Desktop-Cloud compatibility.
  • For the Continuous track, only the latest base release and last update will be available for download.

Classic track

Choose this track if you:

  • Use serialized deployments; that is, you don’t need identity-based licensing and deployment and the ability to manage users via the Enterprise Dashboard.
  • Want to limit the feature set to those included in major releases.
  • Have not purchased services.
  • Want to manage updates like previous 10-11.x releases.
  • Manage a locked environment and need to control the frequency and nature of updates. All updates remain available for download.

License types

Licenses are associated with a particular track. A Continuous track license cannot be used with a Classic installer and vice versa.

License programs

License programs and bundle/track associations
License program Plan names Tracks
ETLA Adobe Document Cloud for enterprise: Premium 1, Premium 2, Pro w/ services, Std w/ services Continuous (recommended), Classic (free services only)
ETLA Adobe Document Cloud for enterprise: Pro or Std Continuous (recommended), Classic (free services only)
ELA, CLP, TLP Adobe Acrobat Pro Document Cloud and Standard Document Cloud Classic
VIP Adobe Acrobat Pro Document Cloud and Standard Document Cloud Continuous

Can I switch tracks?

With the right license, yes. Installing a different track requires uninstalling the existing product first.

Granting usage rights

DC products support named users deployments in addition to traditional, serialized deployments. Named user deployments provide the following advantages:

  • Management of usage rights for users and groups via the Enterprise Dashboard.
  • Streamlined license management and compliance.
  • Provisioning mobile devices for Document Cloud services.
  • Leveraging existing systems so that users can fully participate in more efficient e-sign workflows.
A comparison of named user and serialized deployments
Item Named user deployment Serialized deployment
License access Enterprise Dashboard Licensing website (LWS)
License association Assigned users and groups Specific machines
Entitlement granted to each user each machine
Entitlement management Enterprise Dashboard Pre-deployment configuration
Internet connection Required: Users must log in and signing out deactivates product. * Only required pre-deployment for activation
Activation Occurs on user log-in Admin pre-activates for all users
Services ID Federated ID, Enterprise ID, Adobe ID Adobe ID
Integrated mobile provisioning Yes No
Services access Yes (optional) Yes (optional)
Virtualization support App-V Citrix, WTS, App-V
SCCM, AIP/GPO, ARD Yes Yes

* For the VIP program, the product performs an online activation check every 24 hours. Users can be offline for 30 days on the monthly plan and 99 days on an annual plan.

Installer bit locations

The requisite installers are available from the following locations:

Acrobat download locations
Location Continuous Classic
What’s available? Base installer and last update Base installer and all updates
Enterprise Dashboard Base installer None
Licensing Website Base installer Base installer
Download pages Last update only All updates
FTP site DC dir: Last update only 2015 dir: All updates
Reader download locations
Location Continuous Classic
What’s available? Base installer and last update Base installer and all updates
Enterprise Dashboard None None
Download pages Base installer and last update Base installer and all updates
FTP site DC dir: Base installer and last update 2015 dir: Base installer and all updates
get.adobe.com Latest full installer None

Continuous vs. Classic comparison

Acrobat DC tracks

Continuous vs. Classic track comparison
Feature Continuous Classic
Updates Frequent Planned quarterlies
Update order Base + last update Base + last update
Update UI Auto or off Auto or off
Update registry controls Auto or off Win: Same as 11.x; Mac: Auto or off
Services integration All tools enabled * Free tools only *
Upsell enabled? Standard only N/A
Languages MUI only: licenses are language specific MUI only: licenses are language specific
File and preference paths Versionless: always under DC Versioned: Under major version, 2015, etc.
Windows installer Acrobat_DC_Web_WWMUI.exe Acrobat_2015_Web_WWMUI.exe
Windows install paths C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat DC\ C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 2015\
Registry paths HKCU\Software\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\DC\ HKCU\Software\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\2015\
Application data path %Appdata%\Roaming\Adobe\Acrobat\DC\ %Appdata%\Roaming\Adobe\Acrobat\2015\
Mac installer Acrobat_DC_Web_WWMUI.dmg Acrobat2015_MUI.dmg
Mac install paths /Applications/Adobe Acrobat DC/Adobe Acrobat.app /Applications/Adobe Acrobat 2015/Adobe Acrobat.app
Mac plist paths ~/Library/Preferences/com.adobe.Acrobat.Pro.plist (DC hive) ~/Library/Preferences/com.adobe.Acrobat.Pro.plist (2015 hive)
Mac application data path ~Library/Application Support/Adobe/Acrobat/DC ~Library/Application Support/Adobe/Acrobat/2015
FTP download locations ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/acrobat/win/DC/ ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/acrobat/win/2015/

* What services are visible in the user interface varies by the purchased track and license type. Use the Customization Wizard or registry/plist configuration to remove unwanted items from the user interface.

  • For the Continuous track, all services are visible and functional. Note that some features, such as Create PDF and Export PDF, are part of the desktop offering and don’t use a DC service.
  • For the Classic track, paid for service-based tools are unavailable. Features such as Export PDF are part of the desktop product and don’t require a service to function. Free services which don’t duplicate existing functionality are on by default (Mobile Link for example).

Reader DC tracks

Continuous vs. Classic track comparison
Feature Continuous Classic
Updates frequent; often silent Planned quarterlies
Update order Base + last update Base + last update
Update UI None (no UI but registry settings can still be used) Auto or off
Update registry controls Auto or off Auto or off
Services integration All tools visible * Free tools visible *
Upsell enabled? On by default On by default
Spelling pack Add on Bundled
Font pack Add on Bundled
Languages Win: single language or MUI, Mac: MUI only MUI only
File and preference paths Versionless: always under DC Versioned: Under major version, 2015, etc.
Windows installer AcroRdrDC<version>_<lang ID>.exe AcroRdr2015<version>_MUI.exe
Windows install paths C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat Reader DC\ C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat Reader 2015\
Registry/plist paths HKCU\Software\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\DC\ HKCU\Software\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\2015\
Application data path %Appdata%\Roaming\Adobe\Acrobat\DC\ %Appdata%\Roaming\Adobe\Acrobat\2015\
Mac installer AcroRdrDC_<version>_MUI.dmg AcroRdr2015_<version>_MUI.dmg
Mac install paths /Applications/Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.app /Applications/Adobe Acrobat Reader 2015.app
Mac plist paths ~/Library/Preferences/com.adobe.Reader.plist (DC hive) ~/Library/Preferences/com.adobe.Reader.plist (2015 hive)
Mac application data path ~Library/Application Support/Adobe/Acrobat/DC ~Library/Application Support/Adobe/Acrobat/2015

* What services are visible in the user interface varies by the purchased track and license type. Use the Customization Wizard or registry/plist configuration to remove unwanted items from the user interface.

  • For the Continuous track, all services are visible. Free services are functional by default, and paid-for services require an upgrade or purchase to access.
  • For the Classic track, most service-based tools are hidden. Basic, paid-for services such as Create PDF and Export PDF are visible but must be enabled with a purchase.

DC Versioning

Track release schedules and their respective versions will be different, but both the Continuous and Classic tracks share an identical methodology. The new strategy is designed to provide better granularity, support more frequent releases, and aid in troubleshooting by providing build information. In it’s generic form, the version number will appear as major.minor.minor_minor.

_images/version.png
Versioning
Version Range Notes
major 1-255 The last two digits of the release year.*
minor 1-255 An internal number indicating when code moves from Trunk to Beta.
minor_minor 1-65535 The first two digits indicate the track. 20 = Continuous. 30 = Classic.
Hidden 4th field Changelist number Only visible if user clicks on the version number in the About box.

* The year-based version number is not the same as the Classic track name. While the Classic track version begins with 15 and the current track version is 2015, the track name only changes at each major release–not every year. The version number increments every year.

Managing updates

DC products introduce several major updater enhancements:

  • All updates are cumulative to the base release, including out of cycle security patches (unlike previous products). This means that for all tracks only one update ever be applied to install the latest version.
  • A fully automatic update mode. This mode is enabled by default for both Acrobat and Reader on both tracks.
  • A more “silent” experience. To avoid reboots and requests to close certain applications, the updater can now better detect which files are in use and is smarter about waiting until certain files are released. While there are less dependencies, note that because Acrobat integrates with other 3rd party products, some updates do require the user to close certain applications and files.
  • A Continuous track which provides new features in updates. Note that this track does not provide an Updater preference UI. The default setting is to automatically update.

Desktop-Cloud compatibility

Because organizations have processes that require them to certify & test updates prior to deployment, it is possible to disable updates and control when and how they get deployed. However, desktop-integrated services need to interact with cloud-based components. Because those cloud components are regularly updated to work with the latest version of the desktop product, both tracks should also be regularly updated. To ensure that desktop-online service workflows perform flawlessly, Adobe recommends that you roll out the latest update within 60 days of its public release.

Configuration

Enterprises can continue to:

  • Manage product updates as usual.
  • Manage the update of web plugin components via a separate updater preference.
  • Disable all services together or by individual feature.
  • Configure updates with the Customization Wizard.
  • Configure the registry/plist manually.
  • Set updates via the UI (provides fewer options than than the registry method).

Note

It is not possible to enable services and prevent web plugins from updating.

While the updater preferences in the product’s user interface provide limited options, the product continues to support tuning via the Wizard, registry and plist, and command line properties:

Updater configuration
Acrobat Reader
Windows: Continues to support the same configuration options as 11.x via the registry. Windows: Updates are fully automatic (default) or disabled.
Mac: Updates are fully automatic (default) or disabled. Mac: Updates are fully automatic (default) or disabled.

Preference and file paths

Continuous track: Application preferences and data for the Continuous track are versionless; that is, over time and irrespective of the number and nature of updates, their location will not change. A version number is not used as an identifier in any path. Instead, registry and plist settings as well as application data always reside under <product name> DC. The following locations are versionless:

  • Product preferences in the registry/plist for both HKCU and HKLM entries. For example: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\Acrobat Reader DC\
  • Product Appdata area. For example: <Appdata>\Roaming\Adobe\Acrobat\Acrobat Reader DC>
  • PDFMakers and Distiller Appdata & preferences
  • Preferences and other installation paths created by the installer. For example: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat Reader DC\

Classic track: Paths for the product install, registry, folders, and program data reside under <product name> <major version>. The version, such as 2015, will increment only with the release of a new, major version. Despite the user of the year identifier, major versions have a lifespan which is likely much longer than a year.