Apple Offers Up Free FireWire SDK

Apple is offering its FireWire Software Development Kit (SDK) to developers free of charge. The kit, called the FireWire Reference Platform, is software that will allow developers to quickly create device drivers for FireWire enabled products. From the FireWire Reference Platform website:

The FireWire Reference Platform 1.0 is based on the "TNF" software that was acquired by Apple from Zayante in April of 2002. The platform is designed to run on multiple embedded and real-time operating systems, and provides a rich collection of FireWire services. The core services provide bus management, configuration, transactions, and real-time transfer, generic to any FireWire device. Additional layers support common FireWire protocols such as SBP-2 and AV/C, including a rich collection of AV/C sub-units.

Those wishing to use the FireWire SDK will, at first, find only the evaluation license. Natalie Welch, an Apple representative, explained to TMO how the licensing of the FireWire SDK works;

"The first step of the process is to download the evaluation license and then the software (for free). If you want to move forward after the evaluation period, then you enter into a usage agreement - still no cost."

Developers new to FireWire should also understand that the FireWire SDK license does not cover the small patent royalty levied on each IEEE 1394 (FireWire) device at the time of sale and is handled by a company called 1394 LA. Information about the IEEE 1394 patent royalty can found at the 1394 LA website.