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Using Legacy Ethernet Driver Processes on a PowerMac G3

Q: I have a legacy application which uses the outdated Ethernet Driver APIs as described in the ENET.h interface file. The application has worked on all Power Macintosh models except for the Power Macintosh G3 systems using Mac OS 8.1. Is there any way for this application to work on a Power Macintosh G3 system?

A: There is a known issue with the older Power Macintosh G3 systems: the processes which used the legacy Ethernet APIs no longer work on these systems. These processes could not open the built-in Ethernet driver. This problem was addressed with the Power Macintosh G3 systems released beginning January 1999.

Ethernet Shim History

With the release of the first PCI-based Power Macintosh systems, an Ethernet shim was built into the System to support processes which used the Ethernet Driver API. On a PCI Power Macintosh, the Ethernet driver is native PowerPC code and is based on the Data Link Provider Interface (DLPI) for communications with client processes. The Ethernet Shim translates the Ethernet Driver API calls into DLPI equivalents and passes them on to the built-in driver. For incoming packets, the DLPI driver passes appropriate packets to the Ethernet shim, which in turns calls the Ethernet protocol handler, or looks for a queued ENETRead parameter block call to pass the packet.

The Ethernet shim was designed to support only the built-in Ethernet device, and not PCI Ethernet cards which are plugged into the various slots. The use of this shim required a specific coding change for some processes. In order to use the shim, the process could not use the OpenDriver call. Instead, the process was required to use the Slot Manager call SGetTypeSRsrc to identify the built-in Ethernet service, then use the OpenSlot call to open the Ethernet device in slot 0 to obtain the device refNum. The device refNum is used in all subsequent calls to the legacy .ENET API. Refer to Inside Macintosh:Networking, Chapter 11 Listing 11-1 for an example of this method. This code change applies to legacy Ethernet processes only.

How the Ethernet Shim Works

The Ethernet shim works by registering a device sRsrc with the Slot Manager for the built-in Ethernet hardware. When the SGetTypeSRsrc call is made to identify Ethernet services present, the device sRsrc for the built-in port, is returned. By using the OpenSlot call, the shim unit table driver was loaded and the driver refNum returned to the caller. The driver shim processed the standard Open, Control, Status, and Close calls to the Ethernet driver by translating each call into their DLPI (Data Link Provider Interface) message equivalent, and passing them to the DLPI driver for the built-in Ethernet hardware. The shim driver installed a packet handler with the DLPI driver so that it would be notified of incoming packets destined for the Ethernet shim clients.

The shim driver process worked well until the release of the Power Macintosh G3 system. With the Power Macintosh G3 systems released in 1997 - 1998, a change to the ROM broke the mechanism by which the Ethernet shim was able to register built-in Ethernet services with the Slot Manager. As a result, the calls to SGetNextSRsrc and OpenSlot fail.


A workaround was implemented for Mac OS 8.5 such that, during startup, the System identified the original Power Macintosh G3 systems and installed the .ENET device driver into the unit table. A problem with this solution was that most legacy processes had already made the change to using the OpenSlot call; they no longer used the OpenDriver call. Many of these legacy processes included backup code to try to open the .ENET0 driver using the OpenDriver call, if the call to open a slot-based Ethernet driver failed. To accommodate these processes, Mac OS 8.5 also installs a copy of the ethernet shim driver with the .ENET0 name. If the legacy software still fails, then a possible alternative is to modify the code to make the OpenDriver call on the .ENET driver, if the OpenSlot call fails.

To summarize, it is a known issue that processes which use the legacy Ethernet API will fail when run on a Power Macintosh G3 system released in 1997 or 1998 running either Mac OS 8.0 or 8.1. This problem may be solved by using Mac OS 8.5 on these affected systems.

[Feb 08 1999]

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