Scramble over Mac OS 9 conflicts

Summary:Who's to blame? Third-party developers struggle to fix compatibility problems with Apple's new OS.

On the eve of Mac OS 9's debut, several third-party developers are still finding compatibility problems between the new operating system and their products.

Most say that fixes will be available soon after, if not coincident with, Mac OS 9's release date, which MacWEEK sources confirm will be Tuesday morning -- at an event sponsored by Apple and to be Webcast live via QuickTime 4.

Reports of incompatibilities between Mac OS 9 and Adobe Systems Inc.'s popular Adobe Type Manager (ATM) and Adobe Type Reunion (ATR) have alarmed print and design professionals, who rely on the utilities' font management capabilities.

Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE), however, is deferring comment until Mac OS 9's official release.

Harold Grey, Adobe's group product manager for type products, and Bur Davis, ATM product manager, told MacWEEK they "could not comment on unreleased products" such as Mac OS 9. Grey added that "Adobe is working to make sure that ATM and ATR stay compatible" with the Mac OS.

Concern over ATM and ATR's compatibility was first addressed in an Adobe-sponsored user-to-user Web forum. In a forum message that was republished on MacNN, an Adobe employee stated that Mac OS 9 "will deinstall any version of ATM Light or ATM Deluxe that it detects because all versions of ATM are incompatible with this new OS" and will cause a crash on booting. As a result, the employee wrote, Mac OS 9 users "will have no ATM on-screen support for PostScript Type 1 fonts, or the ability to correctly print PostScript Type 1 fonts to non-PostScript printers such as inkjet devices."

Refusing to upgrade
Some readers of the Graphic Power Web site said they would refuse to upgrade to OS 9 until the upgrades are available or turn to other font management products, such as DiamondSoft's Font Reserve. (Brian Berson, president of the Mill Valley, Calif.-based company, said that Version 2.0.3 of Font Reserve is "fully compatible" with OS 9.)

Other developers have also expressed OS migration concerns. Representatives of Cupertino, Calif.'s Symantec Corp. said that Mac OS 9 will pose no challenges for current versions of their software. "The versions that are shipping now -- Norton Utilities for Macintosh 5 and Norton AntiVirus 6 -- are great," said Rick Gianvecchio, development manager at Symantec (Nasdaq:SYMC). However, he said, "we do have an issue with FileSaver in [Norton Utilities] 4.0.4." Gianvecchio explained that Version 4.0.4 of the application contains a "version limiter" that queries the operating system; the application is programmed not to run if the OS version number is greater than 8.x. He recommended that Norton Utilities users upgrade before moving to Mac OS 9.

Current versions of StuffIt Deluxe, DropStuff and the freeware StuffIt Expander, all from Watsonville, Calif.-based Aladdin Systems Inc., are incompatible with Mac OS 9, according to company spokeswoman Jennifer Lyng. However, Lyng said, new -- and compatible -- versions of Expander, DropStuff and the StuffIt engine extension will be included on the Mac OS 9 CD. Current StuffIt 5.x registration numbers should work with the new versions, she said.

A revised StuffIt Deluxe is "in the works," Lyng said, which will resolve all problems between Mac OS 9 and the utility.

Bone of contention
The cause of the incompatibilities is a bone of contention. Some developers are pointing fingers at Apple (Nasdaq:APPL), while sources inside Apple attributed the problem to the developers' programming methods.

According to the Adobe forum posting mentioned above, "Apple plans to announce that it was changes that they made to the OS which caused this problem" and that "late in the development cycle of OS 9, Apple removed an API (application program interface) which ATM depends upon."

However, sources inside Apple place the blame for the conflict elsewhere. Sources said that Adobe, as well as other developers, have been relying on access the Mac OS's File Control Block (FCB) -- the system's method for tracking all open files -- and that Apple had made clear to developers its intent to change the structure of the FCB. In fact, sources said, Mac OS System Error 119 was created to flag this incursion.

Apple refused to comment.

On the eve of Mac OS 9's debut, several third-party developers are still finding compatibility problems between the new operating system and their products.

Most say that fixes will be available soon after, if not coincident with, Mac OS 9's release date, which MacWEEK sources confirm will be Tuesday morning -- at an event sponsored by Apple and to be Webcast live via QuickTime 4.

Reports of incompatibilities between Mac OS 9 and Adobe Systems Inc.'s popular Adobe Type Manager (ATM) and Adobe Type Reunion (ATR) have alarmed print and design professionals, who rely on the utilities' font management capabilities.

Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE), however, is deferring comment until Mac OS 9's official release.

Harold Grey, Adobe's group product manager for type products, and Bur Davis, ATM product manager, told MacWEEK they "could not comment on unreleased products" such as Mac OS 9. Grey added that "Adobe is working to make sure that ATM and ATR stay compatible" with the Mac OS.

Concern over ATM and ATR's compatibility was first addressed in an Adobe-sponsored user-to-user Web forum. In a forum message that was republished on MacNN, an Adobe employee stated that Mac OS 9 "will deinstall any version of ATM Light or ATM Deluxe that it detects because all versions of ATM are incompatible with this new OS" and will cause a crash on booting. As a result, the employee wrote, Mac OS 9 users "will have no ATM on-screen support for PostScript Type 1 fonts, or the ability to correctly print PostScript Type 1 fonts to non-PostScript printers such as inkjet devices."

Refusing to upgrade
Some readers of the Graphic Power Web site said they would refuse to upgrade to OS 9 until the upgrades are available or turn to other font management products, such as DiamondSoft's Font Reserve. (Brian Berson, president of the Mill Valley, Calif.-based company, said that Version 2.0.3 of Font Reserve is "fully compatible" with OS 9.)

Other developers have also expressed OS migration concerns. Representatives of Cupertino, Calif.'s Symantec Corp. said that Mac OS 9 will pose no challenges for current versions of their software. "The versions that are shipping now -- Norton Utilities for Macintosh 5 and Norton AntiVirus 6 -- are great," said Rick Gianvecchio, development manager at Symantec (Nasdaq:SYMC). However, he said, "we do have an issue with FileSaver in [Norton Utilities] 4.0.4." Gianvecchio explained that Version 4.0.4 of the application contains a "version limiter" that queries the operating system; the application is programmed not to run if the OS version number is greater than 8.x. He recommended that Norton Utilities users upgrade before moving to Mac OS 9.

Current versions of StuffIt Deluxe, DropStuff and the freeware StuffIt Expander, all from Watsonville, Calif.-based Aladdin Systems Inc., are incompatible with Mac OS 9, according to company spokeswoman Jennifer Lyng. However, Lyng said, new -- and compatible -- versions of Expander, DropStuff and the StuffIt engine extension will be included on the Mac OS 9 CD. Current StuffIt 5.x registration numbers should work with the new versions, she said.

A revised StuffIt Deluxe is "in the works," Lyng said, which will resolve all problems between Mac OS 9 and the utility.

Bone of contention
The cause of the incompatibilities is a bone of contention. Some developers are pointing fingers at Apple (Nasdaq:APPL), while sources inside Apple attributed the problem to the developers' programming methods.

According to the Adobe forum posting mentioned above, "Apple plans to announce that it was changes that they made to the OS which caused this problem" and that "late in the development cycle of OS 9, Apple removed an API (application program interface) which ATM depends upon."

However, sources inside Apple place the blame for the conflict elsewhere. Sources said that Adobe, as well as other developers, have been relying on access the Mac OS's File Control Block (FCB) -- the system's method for tracking all open files -- and that Apple had made clear to developers its intent to change the structure of the FCB. In fact, sources said, Mac OS System Error 119 was created to flag this incursion.

Apple refused to comment.

Topics: Operating Systems, Apple, Hardware, Software, Symantec

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