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So, what's the deal with Mozilla and ColorSync?

Eric Broadbent, engineer at Apple, generously gave his time to answering some questions (and clearing up some of my misconceptions) about ColorSync in Mozilla. Read on to learn what's really being done.

MZ: How does Apple feel about opening up the source code of ColorSync to the public? Is this move novel, or was the ColorSync code already public domain?

EB: Ok - I think there might be a misunderstanding about what has been done. What has been added is ColorSync *support*. The code that has been added checks for the existence of ColorSync on the OS, and will then use its services if it is present. ColorSync has been an optional component of MacOS for some time now - in the future it will be on Win32 OSes as well. Application developers can take advantage of ColorSync via the Application Programming Interface (API), to do such things as match one device's colors to another. There are over 100 API-level service routines in ColorSync, and the code that implements them is not what was added to Mozilla - just code that calls some of them.

MZ: Has Apple submitted any ColorSync proposals to the W3C?

EB: Apple has been in contact with them regarding the IMG and BODY tag extensions, and we will be working towards their adoption.

Our additions to Mozilla implement this spec.

(MozillaZine note: Read about the spec here.)

MZ: What kind of relationship have you had with the Mozilla team? Are you planning any other collaborations with them?

EB: I have been in contact several times with various module owners as well as the facilitators of the website and the public code release and control system. In addition I've been in close contact with Mozilla/Netscape engineers who are most involved with the areas of the code that have been modified to support ColorSync. They have all been incredibly helpful and supportive, well informed, and a pleasure to work with. The only plans we have at this point are to complete the implementation and to ensure it is of the highest quality possible in order that it can be used within the commercial product. This would be entirely up to Netscape, but we would obviously like to enable this if we can. ********

So, there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth. It's not Open Source, as I had thought, but still a very generous addition to the mozilla code. If you are still wondering what the Hell is going on, or would like to help, visit the ColorSync Project page at


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