Used to say: "In celebration of the
Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 release in a couple of weeks we found this to be the perfect opportunity to tell you the story behind the making of
Visual Studio with the Visual Studio Documentary"where it now says just a welcome line.
It's true that kernel mode drivers are the only drivers that require signing in Vista, and it is a good thing since A) when a bad kernel mode driver causes a blue-screen, Microsoft can get them to fix the problem and B) most things should be running in user
mode anyway since it's more feature rich and less crashy. The problem is that some drivers need to run in kernel mode -- graphics drivers for instance -- since they need to be right down to the metal in order to be performant (although nvidia and ATI have
taken steps to keep as little of their drivers as possible in kernel-mode in Vista). Also some devs don't like to be logical and make their drivers in kernel mode for no good reason -- the unofficial xbox controller driver for instace.
The problem isn't IHVs; they can get a driver signed no problem. It's sort of "homebrew" drivers; people make drivers for USB devices sometimes or maybe even run say an nvidia driver with a modified INF. The former isn't usually a problem; unless thye're
written by an idiot, they should always be done in user mode (granted, there are idiots out there that must like the torture and crashiness of writing kernel mode USB drivers...). The latter is a bit of an annoyance for me since I get my laptop's video drivers off
laptopvideo2go since Dell's are always woefully out of date. Still, WHQL drivers are still available there, just sans the modified INF which means my chipset won't be supported on every driver.