Talk:Device driver

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Moreover, debugging device drivers is a difficult skill as it often involves monitoring hardware itself - which by definition behaves in a non-deterministic way.

Um. Hardware is nondeterministic? Am I missing something here, or is that a bit on the wrong side? - Jkominek 04:00, 23 October 2002 (UTC)

yeah, its not like we're writing device drivers for brains or anything. Jeeez. Hfastedge (talkcontribs) 04:14, 23 October 2002 (UTC)
Yeah, calling clocked hardware non-deterministic is wrong in my opinion. May be it was intended to mean poorly fabricated. Wk muriithi (talkcontribs) 21:18, 1 March 2005 (UTC)
Well, the question about the level of determinism of the physical reality is open, to my knowledge. However, the writer probably meant something else. The outside world is much less controlled than the world of memory locations and registers. And now that I am here commenting this pretty important subject, please tell me if you really think this Device drivers can be abstracted[by whom?] into logical and physical layers is really weasel words. In my opinion, it is of course nice to tell the audience who invented layering device drivers, but on the other hand, given it is so logical step it does not have to be some particular person or institution at all. I start to fear I see the sentence Pike is a fish and then someone asks by whom?. (talk) 06:36, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

Unless operated by a robot a keyboard is definitly non-deterministic... And if network cards worked 100% deterministicly we would have faster than light communication simply by calculating the next packet before it actually runs thru the tubes... --TiagoTiago (talk) 19:58, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

File system drivers[edit]

I find it strange to talk of file systems managers as drivers, since "A device driver [...] is a computer program that enables another program [...] to interact with a hardware device. By extension, you could potentialy call any service a driver... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 15:11, 4 October 2005

FSDs are developed using the same methodologies and kits as "device" drivers, at least in the Microsoft world. In fact, the filesystem kit is a superset of the driver development kit. -- dispensa (talkcontribs) 04:00, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
I actually came here also looking for information about non-hardware drivers (for example, some security applications on the Windows platform). This article should definitely cover this category, even if only to say it is an incorrect use of the term. (talk) 23:25, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Link Cleaning[edit]

I just cleared most of the spam I want some else to look at the remaining two links. Please let me know if they don't belong. I'll be back in few days to see if any of the deleted references magically return.--Phatom87 06:07, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

N-bit Driver[edit]

Depending on the specific computer architecture, drivers can be 8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit, and more recently, 64-bit. This corresponds directly to the architecture of the operating system for which those drivers were developed. For example, in 16-bit Windows 3.11, most drivers were 16-bits, while most drivers for 32-bit Windows XP are 32-bit. More recently, specific 64-bit Windows versions have required hardware vendors to provide newer 64-bit drivers for their devices.

I don't think one can classify the drivers are n-bit drivers. Only machines and OS can be classified as such. What does a 16-bit driver mean? Does it mean that the driver is accessing the registers on the device as 16-bit words? In fact, I have seen devices on machines with 32 bit words, that can be accessed only as 16-bit words. So, the "bit length" of the driver depends on the peripheral and the machine. Any way, I think this is not a very good way to classify the drivers. I think we should remove this line. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Avkulkarni (talkcontribs) 10:48, 17 April 2007

I agree. Speaking as a kernel engineer, that paragraph made me cringe. Basically it means that drivers should be implemented using the same instruction set as their host kernel. Well, duh. It might perhaps be worth changing it for an explanation that x86 supports different instruction sets of varying word size, and that while thunking can be used to allow a driver written for one instruction set to be used in a kernel for another, it is generally considered best to avoid this process. JulesH 08:18, 2 June 2007 (UTC)


What's the difference between a device driver and firmware? Maybe someone should consider adding that as a section, because I'm confused and others may be as well. Ryan Salisbury 21:03, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

Device driver is like a dual-language dictionary to help you tell a foreign hairdresser how you want your hair done, firmware is like a hairdressing course. --TiagoTiago (talk) 20:09, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
A device driver is some software used to mediate the communication between the device and a computer's operating system. A firmware is a piece of software on the actual device. For example: you need a driver to upload songs from your computer to your iPod; while listening to the songs later, the firmware is the software on the iPod that lets you choose the song, change the volume, actually play the different audio codecs, etc. Don't even get me started on how stupid the previous answer is. (talk) 23:31, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Acronym mania?[edit]

LDD and PDD are presented as commonly used acronyms, but I find little evidence of this. SymbianOS uses these terms in their documentation. Otherwise, google points to this wikipedia article. I can't find any trace of them on FOLDOC, the Linux kernel mailing list, or the FreeBSD glossary which is named as an official reference for acronyms used in their mailing lists. The closest I've found for something Microsoft related came from third-party documentation concerning WindowsCE. The concepts they represent don't need abreviation to be explained. Doing so only adds an air of authority that mostly points back to wikipedia itself. In the context of this article shouldn't jargon be as common as "DMA"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 02:33, 17 July 2007

Device drivers are so OS specific that there are as many jargons as OS. Microsoft uses the terms MDD(Model Device Driver) and PDD. Symbian uses LDD and PDD. Linux drivers, although layered, do not use these terminologies. Only recently (from kernel version 2.5 onwards), has Linux got a very structured device driver framework. It uses the terms Class Driver (Logical Device Driver) and Device Driver (Physical Device Driver). It is a matter of choosing one set of terminology over other. I guess LDD and PDD are the terms closest to their actual functionality. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Avkulkarni (talkcontribs) 09:46, 19 July 2007
Why choose at all when they do nothing to explain the concept? If Wikipedia had an article on comparative operating system device driver jargon would this article then be seen as having a bias for SymbianOS? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:05, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Addition Request[edit]

Upper Part vs. Lower Part

What are they? How are they different? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:07, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Page being jacked[edit]

Spam snipped. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:02, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

This was at the bottompast the references. It's on several other pages too. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:55, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

I removed that part as being promotional/copyvio before seeing this post. Thanks for pointing it out. I hadn't noticed it on other pages yet, but I'll try to see if I can find any that haven't already been reverted. Cheers! Apparition11 Complaints/Mistakes 01:03, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Section "Device Driver installation help — end user" fails WP:NOT[edit]

The section "Device Driver installation help — end user" fails WP:NOT and I've removed it.

This section was added by user Matt8163 on 8 February 2011, then removed by user, and then re-added by user Matt8163.

You fail to realize that a decent percentage of people are landing on that page are for some kind of device driver install guide, and you also failed to cite which specific WP:NOT guidelines that section fails. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Matt8163 (talkcontribs) 18:43, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

- Please do not tell me what I "fail to realize". The specific section of WP:NOT that I had in mind was "Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, textbook, or scientific journal" - " an article should not read like a "how-to" style owners manual, advice column (legal, medical or otherwise) or suggestion box. This includes tutorials, walk-throughs, instruction manuals, game guides, and recipes." (WP:NOTHOWTO). Please do not mark my edits as vandalism. This is very rude. -- (talk) 15:16, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
'189 is correct. Useful though it might be to our readers, we have guidelines that expressly forbid us from writing "How To" kinds of advice. If you have trouble with installing a device driver, an encyclopedia is not the place to turn to. WP:NOT is quite clear on the matter. Matt8163 is in the wrong here. SteveBaker (talk) 22:30, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

unloading modules?[edit]

can drivers implemented as modules be unloaded on a running system? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:59, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Yes - that's the way it's done in Linux, for example. There are command-line tools like "insmod" (to install a driver module), "rmmod" (to remove one) and "lsmod" to list the currently running modules. I don't know enough about other operating systems - but I presume they have similar capabilities. SteveBaker (talk) 22:44, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Device Driver and System Software[edit]

Device Driver belongs to System Software or Application Software?? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Swapnali Chingonda 143 (talkcontribs) 10:55, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

To system software. They provide new functions at the level of the operating system. Diego (talk) 12:21, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

Linux and USB[edit]