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Matrox Talks OS X

RTMac drivers targeted for second quarter By Dave Nagel
Over the last couple of months--since the release of Final Cut Pro 3--readers have expressed concern about the future of the Matrox RTMac card on Mac OS X. (The RTMac is, of course, a real-time editing and capture board for Apple Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere.) Matrox has always said it will continue to support the Mac platform in general, but, until now, we haven't seen any concrete statement of support for Mac OS X and the RTMac card in particular. Well, we've pestered Matrox to the point that they've released a statement, and here it is.

I've decided to include this statement verbatim as it came from Matrox so that there's no interpreter getting in the way of the information that's so important to so many of you. The language of this statement reflects attitudes that can't really be conveyed in a summary. Incidentally, this is the first time Matrox has given a target date for OS X drivers and about the update being free.

"Over the past few months, Matrox has been studying how to implement OS X driver support for RTMac. Our engineers have been writing and testing the low-level code that would make the foundation for this support. There still remain some open issues that we are hard at work trying to understand, with the help and support of Apple. However, we are confident these issues will be resolved.

"We fully appreciate the importance of OS X drivers for RTMac and the need for them as soon as possible. Based on our current evaluation, we hope to have early versions of the drivers by the end of Q2. Of course it goes without saying that these drivers will be available free of charge to all RTMac customers.

"Why is it taking so long?

"While everyone has witnessed software applications flourishing on OS X over the past few months, video editing hardware like RTMac and the underlying technologies used are quite different and unique. Supporting RTMac under OS X requires a complete rewrite of the RTMac drivers, which is a huge task. It is not a simple port of the existing code base. Current drivers are built on application programming interfaces (API) of OS 9 such as RAVE. These APIs simply do not exist in OS X, so we cannot reuse any of that code that took so long to create. As previously mentioned, we do realize how important having OS X support is and are working very hard at resolving these last open issues."

We'll continue to bring you updates as they become available. To learn more about Matrox and the RTMac, visit

Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at

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