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Will Jaguar finally operate my printer?

It is no longer a mystery that many users (including certified and non-certified developers) have already installed the new release of OS X 10.2 Jaguar. And it is not even a secret that, up to now, a certain percentage of users have suffered from the lack of adequate drivers to take advantage of the printers in their possession.

The implementation of CUPS the universal printing system, Unix-branded, should cancel the inconveniences encountered so far, or the activation of the Classic environment in some, more fortunate cases, or verbally fend against the innocent peripheral, in the most unfortunate ones .

Robert Dotson, on MacFixit, instead presents a more worrying situation, in which some printer drivers, previously working, have stopped being under Mac OS X 10.2.The explanation would lie in how they were programmed and which compilers were used to their realization: C ++ programs, libraries and drivers compiled under Mac OS X 10.1 with gcc 2.5, have a different "Application Binary Interface" (ABI) than those compiled under 10.2 with the more recent gcc 3.1.

This apparent anomaly is true for all Operating Systems, including the various Windows and Unix systems, and has been perpetuated for a long time (requiring continuous rewriting for any substantial modification of the OS) being linked to the characteristics of the C ++ language. Add to this the fact that even the low-level printing architecture of OS X written in C ++, meaning that many drivers, non-postscript elements and applications that call those routines will have to be recompiled under 10.2 with the new gcc 3.1 compiler.

In reality, the developers weren't unprepared for this, as Apple had released a special Developer Tools update in April, including a pre-release of that gcc 3 compiler, which would later become the standard used for in Jaguar.

Indirect confirmations to Mr. Dotson's hypotheses also come from Cupertino's descriptions, literally quoting: "in many cases gcc3 will offer a faster compilation time (now the C ++ code can take advantage of the precompiled headers), a better quality of the code generation and improved support for C ++. Note that the new gcc 3 ABIs require recompiling all C ++ libraries and frameworks. "

We therefore expect a barrage of driver updates from printer manufacturers immediately after the release of Jaguar and we hope for the goodness of CUPS to be able to access peripherals so far difficult to manage with Mac OS X. To provide MacityNet with feedback on this topic you can write feedback on Jaguar and printers.