App-V 4.6 SP1 Sequencer and Long Package Names

After running into an issue when testing the App-V 4.6 SP1 Hotfix 3 sequencer to provide two Mozilla-programs; Thunderbird and Firefox – an minor investigation came into play to locate the part of everything involved that broke a key feature of App-V 4.6 SP1.

Lets start at the beginning;
One key feature of App-V 4.6 SP1 is to allow the administrator to avoid thinking about setting up the sequencer with all minor tweaks and details that allows for a smooth sequencer experience as well as minimizing effort during sequencing. Part of this change is;

1. Support for using long-names for package names and root-directories
2. Creation of prerequisites such as the mount point (Q: ) and dummy ODBC-connections
3. Reports on potential issues before and after sequencing

During the initial release of 4.6 SP1 of the brand new sequencer – there was a minor bug relating to bullet # 2 and how the new sequencer setup the Q: – drive and  handling registrations of resources resulting in  failure when using packages on the client.
To remedy the problem a new hotfix was released that resolved this.

Bullet # 1 is the topic of interest for this next peculiar issue – how this feature works is quite elegant in some ways, however it does remove some of the control from the administrator if using long-names for package root and package names.

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As you can see – package name and root directory (named Primary Virtual Application Directory in the above screenshot) are linked  together – you can check the Edit (Advanced) checkbox to type in your own root directory. Previously a strict enforcement was used to ensure that no short name was created for the root directory – simply by only allowing a 8.3-compliant name to be used as root directory. App-V 4.6 SP1 introduced the possibility to used long names. The requirement of a unique 8.3-root directory is still there, but instead the sequencer will generate a randomized short name for you.

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As the sequencer generates this for you – the need and worry about having conflicting root directories disappears. As you can see in the above screenshot – a completely random short name is generated by the sequencer.

After completing an installation of Mozilla Firefox 9 or Mozilla Thunderbird 9 to the recommended root directory (not the default installation path) – the following occurs;

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As you can see – once the installation is completed for Firefox 9 – the randomized short name is gone and instead replaced by a system generated short name.

The previously very delicate and important topic of ensuring unique and short name-compliant root directories just became very important – again. Why this happens (so far only seen with Mozilla installers) is unknown.

Trying to import two packages will generate a failure. Saving the package and opening it in the Package Editor reveals the following details as part of the package under the Files-tab;

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Repeating the procedure, but instead performing an installation to the suggested default installation directory maintains the randomly generated short name.

2 thoughts on “App-V 4.6 SP1 Sequencer and Long Package Names

  1. Danny

    Interesting! Forcing ‘randomised’ short names on us is a terrible idea anyway – it presents a lovely challenge in locating PKG files for example. I would much prefer a choice!

    Reply

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