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Custom Inventory to Parse Software Tagging Files

Created: 29 Mar 2010 • Updated: 02 Nov 2012 | 19 comments
dougj's picture
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Adobe is one of the first movers with the new ISO standard for software tagging. According to a 3rd party website:

"Software tagging is the process of maintaining a set of tag files (.swtag) on a client machine to determine the install and license state of various software products. This tagging process can be used to assist in Software Asset Management (SAM) tasks and there is an ISO industry standard for this which is denoted by ISO/IEC 19770. For asset management purposes an administrator can run any SAM tool that will scan the .swtag files on the client machine and parse them for analysis and reporting purposes.

Software entitlement tags (.swtag) are files that provide authoritative identifying information about software licensing rights. These entitlement tags taken together with 19770-2 software identification tags, which accurately identify installed software programs, facilitate conducting software audits, reconciliation, and license compliance management with ease."

Attached is a vbscript that selects all *.swtag files from the wmi cim_datafile class, then uses xml parsing logic to pull out pertinent elements and report those to the NS in a specific dataclass.

In the case of this vbscript, it is very general and we were only working with Adobe swtag files. Hence, there are a few limitations to the logic, especially if this were to process swtag files from multiple vendors. So, the assumption is that we will only find Adobe swtag files.

 

Update May 2012: Symantec is now shipping Software Tags with SEP, NetBackup and Enterprise Vault with more product coming out soon. The attached updated custom inventory script provides support for software tags that are in the full compliance with the ISO/IEC 19770-2 standard. Additionally, we have attached a set of reports that leverages this inventory data. These reports can be imported into the SMP console.

A new swidtag custom inventory vbscript is attached.

Also, a set of SWIDTag report xml files is attached. These reports can be imported into the SMP console.

Note that the attached scripts are custom inventory vbscripts, meaning that they only apply to Windows clients. All other custom inventory setup must be completed in order for these to function, including creating of matching data classes in the NS/SMP console.

 

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KSchroeder's picture

Very nice Doug, thanks for building and posting this!  Do you know if they have made .swtag files for older versions available, or are these only included in the very latest Adobe releases?

Edit: More info here (Adobe.com blog) and TagVault.org.

Thanks,
Kyle
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dougj's picture

Kyle, the blogs.adobe.com and tagvault.org links contain nearly everything I know about adobe swtag files.

Sample tag files I was provided include:

  • Acrobat Pro 9.0
  • Create Suite 4 Design Premium
  • Dreamweaver CS4
  • InDesign CS4
  • Photoshop CS4 Extended

I understand that Symantec is already shipping a few products with swtag files and that more will do so over the next few years.

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SandyF's picture

Good job Doug; thanks.  This is what I send people when they ask me.

What is ISO/IEC 19770-1:
2006, Information technology - Software asset management - Part 1: Processes? 

ISO 19770-1 is the first international SAM standard, and has been developed in order to provide the framework for the development of the core processes in a Software Asset Management System (including procurement, inventory tracking and license compliance practices). Through compliance with the standard, organizations can ensure compliance with existing and future software licensing agreements, reduce legal exposure, optimize on assets and ultimately reduce company operating costs.

What is ISO/IEC 19770-2?

The second part of the SAM standard has yet to be published, but is in development. This standard will focus on software tagging practices, enabling software publishers to provide consistent identification data across all versions/releases.

Software tags are files that are utilized to identify applications, determine usage rights and ultimately facilitate SAM. The introduction of tags that are uniform across multiple operating systems and platforms will bring a level of consistency that should help to simplify application identification, SAM administration and enable the enhancement of processes in SAM.

An organization call TagVault.org has been setup for anyone but especially software publishers to register their software application tags.  Symantec was one of the three founding members of TagVault.org.

What is ISO/IEC 19770-3?

ISO 19770-3 is being defined. It is going to include licensing information in the tag. For example, is the application a Standard version or a Professional version.

Sandy Fletcher
IT Asset Management Consultant
http://www.velocegroup.com

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JeffDG's picture

Sandy,

That information is out of date.  ISO-19770-2 has been adopted and is being actively implemented, yet there is no support from Symantec for reading these tags.

I know I've asked you about this years ago and got that stock answer.  I would think that you would have wanted to get out ahead of the curve and support reading the -2 tags by now, but I guess that's been relegated to "community developed"

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dougj's picture

JeffDG, Symantec is actively implementing this standard. We already have several products that deploy with tag files. And, we are working on updates for CMS/SMS that will process and inventory swtag files found on managed endpoints. Details to come.

For now, we are trying to educate our customers and provide an interim method for getting this data, where ever it's available. That's why we created this Connect article and provided a sample vbscript. Hang in there! We are working on it. Appreciate your patience.

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Carlis's picture

Outside of a custom inventory, are there any other options to date.

I was looking at a Tagvault.org (realizing that Symantec is one of the owners) presentation and learned about key features of such capability:
 

  • XML Conversion  (CA)
  • Filter out inventory “noise” (Entitlement = Force)
  • Identify the source of information (CA)
  • SWID importer (CA)
  • Self-made SWID Tags for rule implementation  (like Sassafras)

 
How can I get my hands on the list or import the script of tags. I do realize Adobe is one of the companies following this standard. 

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Rene Kolga's picture

Carlis,

Currently our tagging suport is only through Custom Inventory. However, we are working on adding a more extensive software tagging support next year in both Inventory Solution and Asset Management Solution.

Regards,
Rene

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sean.li's picture

hi Rene,

   it's glad to hear we will support software ID tag and I also visited the tagvault.org, so how about in V7.1 then?

 

regards,

sean

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Rene Kolga's picture

Sean,

We are currently working on enhancing our custom inventory script for software ID tagging outside of the release scope. We should be posting that sometime this year.

Rene

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JeffDG's picture

Unless someone decides to develop another new GUI.

Seriously, this standard was published in 2009, and a working draft was available for a good year before that.  I know I discussed it with Altiris/Symantec people while the draft was being done, and was assured that Altiris was involved and on top of it.

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simoniddings's picture

Adobe has implemented this tagging mechanism for their own products along time back, which I reckon has worked pretty well in tackling those piracy and copyright issues.  Some major software companies are also using those background online sniffing mechanisms to check if your software is up-to-date and at the same time sniff out those copyright infringers.

Simon Iddings - ID Card Printers

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rickyr288's picture

Asset management software can be roughly divided into two areas. It can be a simple application that discovers assets attached to your network and creates an inventory of all these assets.Then there are applications that are part of a complete IT lifecycle management suite that address client, asset, and server management needs.

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AriJ's picture

I agree with Simon, but if the owners will not update, they still can get away infringing the software.  The tagging feature makes it easier for programmers to locate a specific feature/site.

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seabrig29's picture

So the question is will the 7.5 release incorporate ISO tags into account for software inventory and compliance reporting or not?

 

and secondly, I've look and looked, I cant find the download link for the vbscript. Where is it?

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fadedglory's picture

Same here! I cant find the links! Am i missing something here

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dougj's picture

I have attached what I believe to be the correct scripts and reports. It's been awhile and there was quite a number of files involved. If you still have questions, please post them here and I'll look into them. 

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dougj's picture

Note that the files will appear when the article is approved again. Thanks for your patience. 

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seabrig29's picture

Is anyone else having issues runing the VB scripts and importing the XML?  I get "the  file you are trying to import does not contain valid XML code"

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Falquian's picture

Hi, dougj and others:

I'm interested in this topic. As for the reading of the comments, it seems that SMP 7.1 SP2 is not compliance with ISO 19770.

Hopefully they get compliance with a fix, or in the 7.5 version.

Kind regards:

     Falquian

If this post is useful to you, remember to mark it as a solution ;)

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