DRIVER WRAPPERS

11/15/2003

Driver Wrappers are a type of computer program that "wraps" software that interfaces with one operating system in code that interfaces to another OS/environment. Wrappers are common in (software) data base applications. Hardware wrappers have appeared in some poorly/spottily supported OSes such as BeOS. The wrapped driver is generally Windows, but could certainly be a driver for some other OS. One wrapper announced in 2003 allows NDIS5.0 communication device drivers designed for Windows to be used in Linux.

Arguments in favor of wrappers are that they allow devices that would otherwise not be usable to be used. Arguments against include performance and stability concerns. Performance concerns arise because transformations on data structures will generally be required and those will add to transaction times. Stability is a concern because many drivers don't work any too well with the OS they are designed for, and can be expected to run even less well when wrapped in additional software.

Some hardware -- e.g. Windows Modems ("Winmodems") may well defy wrappering because of the complexity of the driving software and it's interface to the operating system.

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