The I/O Kit is an open-source framework in the XNU kernel that helps developers code device drivers for Apple's Mac OS X and iOS operating systems . The I/O Kit framework evolved from NeXTSTEP's DriverKit, operating system that later became Mac OS X, and shared no similarities with either Mac OS 9's device driver framework, or that of BSD.
The I/O Kit framework is implemented in a subset of C++ which omits features that Apple feels are unsafe for use in a multithreaded kernel (exceptions, multiple inheritance, templates, run-time type information). Embedded C++ was chosen partly because Apple believed developers would be more comfortable writing drivers in a more commonly used language than Objective-C, while still providing an object-oriented framework allowing device driver developers to focus on coding features specific to their hardware instead of reimplementing features common to any given device.
- I/O Kit Fundamentals - Technical reference from Apple Developer Connection
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