• What is the difference between a Device Driver and a Module (or Kernel module) in the context of both Linux and Windows specifically?

I understand the purpose of a device driver, can you refer to a module interchangeably?


A module is just a bunch of code that can be loaded into Linux. Note that this terminology is specific to Linux; windows typically calls everything a driver, I believe.

In Linux, frequently modules will be device drivers - that is, software that drives some specific piece of hardware (device). Likewise, on Windows, many drivers will be device drivers. However there are drivers and modules that don't drive hardware - for example, some Linux systems may have IPv6 support as a loadable module. Or filesystems such as ISO9660 may be drivers or modules.

  • OK, so with regards to Linux, a module is all that is required to 'communicate' with say for instance a graphic card?
    – Aaron
    Jul 26 '09 at 18:17
  • 2
    Not necessarily. With graphics cards in particular, the driver is usually split up across one (or more) kernel modules, an X server component, and a GL library that's linked into all client programs.
    – bdonlan
    Jul 26 '09 at 21:42

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