How many times have you plugged in your new graphics card or printer and been asked to install the specific drivers? It is a fact that no hardware component works with the computer unless a driver is installed. Every hardware component has a structure that was designed to be ubiquitous and compatible with all systems; therefore, it follows that they cannot be designed or coded using the Windows code or the Linux code.
If you technically broach the internal structure of a computer, you’ll find that there are two distinct layers – the hardware and the software layers. Since not all of us can communicate with the computer in machine assembly language, every computer has an operating system which helps translate your instructions into commands that the machine can understand.
Drivers work in pretty much the same fashion – they provide an interface between the hardware and the operating system.
Every computer system is different in the sense that the operating system and the hardware peripherals are different. A driver merely enables a two-way communication channel between the hardware and the operating system.
For instance, if you’re installing your graphics card for the first time on Windows platform, the system would not know what to do with it because it is just a set of capacitors, inductors and resistors on a circuit board.The driver forms the interface between the graphics card and the operating system.
It would be evident at this stage that the driver for every hardware component is different in the task it performs. Further, you’ll also have to realize that the nature of the driver differs with respect to the operating system too. Typically, an NVidia graphics driver and an ATI-Radeon graphics driver are not designed the same way.
Delving into the topic, you would have to realize that the GE-Force 7 series drivers and the 9 series drivers are also different. Extrapolating this concept to operating systems, for the same GE-Force 7300 GT, the drivers for Windows 7 and Linux would be completely different.