In Windows Vista, we have moved many drivers out of the kernel and up into user mode, which will greatly decrease the potential for blue screens and other bad things. As always, we love making Frameworks for developers that enable them to get things done
faster, even for low level stuff like drivers.
You've learned about the Kernel Mode Driver Framework. In this video, we meet Peter Wieland who is the Development Lead for the User Mode Driver Framework (UMDF) team. We have a conversation about many topics, but one of particular interest is why we are investing so much effort in making it easier to write drivers. Driver development is a very specialized programming niche, which requires deep knowledge of the underlining system as well sophisticated programming skills. Why open it up to the masses? Peter explains...
For more info:
WHDC’s site on UMDF - It has some white papers and WinHEC 2006 presentations including Peter's “Technical Synopsis” which has a PPT animation of how I/O flows through UMDF (slides 10 and 11 show I/O flow for a kernel stack and then a user-mode stack.)
The UMDF beta is part of the Windows Drivers Kit (WDK) beta which can be joined at http://connect.microsoft.com. Peter posted some instructions a while back on his blog about how to get into the WDK beta.
Peter's blog is http://blogs.msdn.com/peterwie. "I’m not as active as I’d like to be, but there’s a long series there on DMA and drivers that folks seem to like."