Device Drivers

It would be impossible for the author of an operating system to cater for every piece of equipment that has been manufactured, never mind equipment that has not yet been created. Instead the authors will incorporate hooks into the operating system that other authors can use to pass data to and from the system.

When a manufacturer creates a new piece of hardware they will create a piece of software that talks to the operating system and passes data to and from the peripheral. These small pieces of software are called device drivers.

For example, when a new printer is installed a printer driver will be added to the system at the same time. This printer driver will tell the computer how to send data to the printer and also the data format required. In this way the computer can simply provide a generic Print function, leaving the specific details of how to print to the printer driver.

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