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Drivers for 64-Bit Windows Platforms Released

9 January 2006; New Westminster, BC:

ImageMAKER Development (formerly Spittin' Image Software) is now offering print drivers for the 64-bit Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 platforms.

With the popularity of the newer AMD Athlon-64 chips, and Intel's use of the EM64T 64-bit extension on Pentium-4 and Xeon chips, Microsoft has released versions of their Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 operating systems which run native 64-bit code. Apart from the speed advantage of using a data pathway that is twice the width of existing 32-bit machines, this allows use of larger programs that do not fit into the earlier platforms' 4-gigabyte virtual memory space.

One key issue for Microsoft is that existing 32-bit applications should continue to run on the 64-bit versions of the operating system. As they did with the move to 32 bits from 16 bit code back in 1995, Microsoft has created a "WoW" (Windows On Windows) layer that acts like 32-bit windows, translating all requests to 64-bit syntax before passing them on to the newer, 64-bit components.

Part of the speed advantage of these new platforms is due to the fact that the Windows Graphics Device Interface (GDI) library is now fully native 64 bit code. Print drivers, being graphics devices, must bind tightly to the GDI, and therefore must have the same bit depth as the GDI. This was first seen in Windows 95, a nominal 32-bit operating system that used a 16-bit GDI; print drivers had to be written in 16-bit code so that they could bind to the 16-bit GDI, despite much of the operating system being 32 bits. No WoW layer is available for drivers, so to attach to the new, 64-bit GDI, any drivers must be 64 bit code as well.

ImageMAKER Development Inc. has released 64-bit drivers that will run on the 64-bit editions of Windows, both AMD64/EM64T and Itanium. These drivers will co-exist with both 64-bit and 32-bit programs. A new installer that is aware of AMD64/EM64T and Itanium has been created, and will select the appropriate drivers for the current platform. If you are an existing ImageMAKER customer, you will be aware of the control dialog; the control dialog now may be created in either 32-bit or 64-bit varieties.

Because of WoW integration issues, we have not placed these new drivers on the web site as yet; they are, however, available via email. Please contact Sales for driver evaluation or purchase.

Our standalone port redirector monitor will also be available shortly via email by request. The port redirector is designed to allow you to capture output destined for any type of printer and re-route it to a file for archival purposes, entirely under program control. Redirectors are already available for Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT3.51, Windows NT4, Windows 2000, and the 32-bit versions of Windows XP and Windows 2003.

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