RME Drivers explained - DriverKit vs. Kernel Extension

 

With the announcement of DriverKit and System Extensions in 2019, Apple introduced new security features and important changes. These changes, however, impact the way that we can develop drivers for existing and future Mac OS platforms. And in this video, we would like to explain the main differences between the old RME drivers and the newly released DriverKit drivers that you can both access from our RME website.

Previous to Mac OS 10.15 Catalina all drivers were running as a kernel extension which had certain access to functionalities at the kernel level. For security and stability reasons. Apple decided to discontinue the kernel extension framework. Now drivers are being executed as a system extension. System extensions are similar to kernel extensions, but they are running in the so-called userspace.

Apple also announced that the support of existing kernel drivers for USB and PCI express devices will be removed from Mac OS any time in the future. Therefore, manufacturers are forced to develop driver kit drivers to make sure that devices will be compatible to all upcoming Mac OS versions.