Thursday, 15 March 2007

GPS-CS1 works on Intel Macs - not Power PCs

OK here's the latest situation with GPS-CS1 support on Macs, following the release of Mac OS X 10.4.9.

If you have an Intel Mac, then the 10.4.9 update will add GPS-CS1 support.
If you have a PPC Mac (G4, G5 etc) then it won't.

It appears that the USB kernel extensions have been updated in the Intel version of Mac OS X, ever since a slightly newer version of Mac OS X 10.4.8 came out with Core 2 Duo Macbooks. 10.4.9 gives these updates to all Intel owners.

The key extension is probably IOUSBMassStorageClass (as the GPS-CS1 should mount as a USB mass storage device) which is at version 1.4.5 on the PPC code, but at version 1.4.7 on the Core 2 Duo Macbooks and now on all Intel Macs running 10.4.9
So if you're an Intel owner, congratulations!

For those of us still running PPC Macs, there are three possible hopes.

1. Try to lobby Apple to do something about this. There is clearly a code change that can be made to fix this problem (it isn't a hardware problem, I can mount my GPS-CS1 on my iMac running Ubuntu).

I raised a bug on Apple's bug reporter system last December and have sent updates whenever we've discovered something new - e.g. the Core 2 Duo support, the fact that the Intel version of 10.4.9 fixes this.

However Apple have not responded beyond automated acknowledgments and the bug status has never been updated. You might be able to help draw their attention to it by sending an email:

Email and ask them to look at bug number 4898558

Even better if you live near an Apple Store, you could try to visit it's Genius Bar and bring this blog and the bug to their attention in person.

2. The source code for version 1.4.5 of IOUSBMassStorageClass is identical for Intel and PPC. If we can get hold of the source code for version 1.4.7 then presumably it can be compiled for Power PC, which we could install ourselves as a custom patch at our own risk. This will probably be released on Apple's Open Source site at some point (I've now added it to the Useful Links section). It took about 6 weeks from the release of 10.4.8 before the source code went online on that site.

3. As Leopard will apparently be a very substantially rewritten version of Mac OS, then perhaps the USB libraries will be updated for Leopard. Then again as Apple don't seem to be aware of this bug, it's possible that any USB updates will actually break GPS-CS1 support for Intel owners again.

As ever I'll keep everyone posted.

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Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Mac OS 10.4.9 - still without GPS-CS1 support

Update 14th March
It appears that 10.4.9 fixes GPS-CS1 support for Intel Macs, but not PPC ones. Please check the comments to see how people are getting on with different Macs.

Well Mac OS 10.4.9 has now been released. I've downloaded the software update, installed and rebooted. Plugged in my GPS-CS1 and... nothing.

If anyone out there has had a different experience to me, please let me know. Perhaps it's just because I installed USB logging a while back, or something.

For those Core 2 Duo owners out there who did have GPS-CS1 support - install 10.4.9 at your own risk. It may actually break your support. Anyone in this category who has already installed 10.4.9, please let us know what happened.

Now I know Apple never said that it this work. It was just my hope that since a slightly newer version of Mac OS X 10.4.8 running on Core 2 Duo Macbooks supported the GPS-CS1, then 10.4.9 would add that support to my iMac.

However I have also tried bringing this to Apple's attention. To try to make sure 10.4.9 would fix this Mac OS X bug. I've tried raising it through Apple bug reporter. I've tried asking if it would on Apple forums, only to be told that you aren't allowed to ask questions about unreleased Apple software on their forums, and that my question would be deleted. I understand how Apple uses this secrecy in their marketing, but I'm not asking about secret Leopard features.

I just wanted to know if, six months after this device went on sale, it was ever going to "you know, just work" on my Mac. Like Apple say in their adverts.

Like it does on Windows.