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  1. #1
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    Post Who invented device drivers for computers?

    Hiii , friends.
    Who invented device drivers for computers?
    I have no ideas ..so please share your thought.

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    Master Coder felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plasticsinfo View Post
    Hiii , friends.
    Who invented device drivers for computers?
    I have no ideas ..so please share your thought.
    Probably the same person who invented the first graphical interface to sit on top of an operating system as it is an essential part of such an interface. That would date it to somewhere in the 1970s but as to who it was I have no idea.
    Stephen
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  • #3
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    We had device drivers well before graphical UI's though. A device driver for a keyboard, for a serial port, for a disk drive, etc.

    Dave

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    Master Coder felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tracknut View Post
    We had device drivers well before graphical UI's though. A device driver for a keyboard, for a serial port, for a disk drive, etc.

    Dave
    I don't think so. All the operating systems that I looked at in the 1970s only had device drivers where they also had a GUI. It was only in the early 80s that operating systems that did not yet have a GUI started adding device driver functionality.
    Stephen
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    Here's Wikipedia's description of device drivers - not specific to GUI.

    Here's a Wikipedia description of RT-11, with a main section called "device drivers". It was released in 1970 and happens to be one of the earliest OS's I am familiar with, so that's what I looked up.

    Dave

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    Master Coder felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tracknut View Post
    It was released in 1970 and happens to be one of the earliest OS's I am familiar with, so that's what I looked up.
    Okay so that language implemented most of the features that Windows added on top of DOS with the exception of the trivial parts such as the GUI. I guess I am falling into the trap of thinking of windows as a GUI where that is only the smallest least important part of it whereas the rest of the windows API is in a direct line of descent from the language that you mentioned (I was fairly sure it was an OS for a PDP system that was the first to introduce device drivers).
    Stephen
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    A device driver creates a layer of abstraction between the hardware and the operating system. They were created by programmers who wanted a standard set of system calls in interact with hardware.
    Device drivers were 'invented' when x86 CPU's added the capability to enter 32 bit protected mode. By changing to this mode, the CPU changed how it addressed memory, therefore breaking the 16 bit BIOS system calls. Device drivers are the replacements for the functions provided by the BIOS.

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    X86 processors first came out in 1978. The RT-11 operating system linked above came out in 1970 and used device drivers. So device drivers were "invented" before x86...

    Dave

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