I know we all have suffered from getting that new OS only to find that we now own one or more hardware items that will no longer work. It seems to me that the government should mandate that all peripheral devices be compatible with a standard universal driver for that type of device. If you sell scanners you should make your scanner work with a universal scanner driver. Same for printers, web cams etc.. This is not such a radical thing. The feds mandated the same charger connection for cell phones and that seems to be working out. Now we need some more standardization. This old driver thing is just a way to force us to purchase new hardware when the old stuff is still in good condition. I know in the future that I will not purchase those neat items for which I had only occasional use as I did in the past. No use paying for something that will be obsolete in a short time.
What we need is some public figure to push for this as we individual citizens will not be heard. How about Toms Hardware championing this cause?
I would add that the US and Europe should legislate that camera and cellphone batteries and laser/inkjet refills conform to just a few different formats. And outlaw ruses like chipping refills and batteries so that off-brand versions won't work -- this is already unlawful in some states under anti-competition rules.
This could considerably improve availability and reduce cost to consumers -- and would save an enormous amount of waste at every stage thru to landfill.
It's perfectly feasible because these items are almost entirely sourced outside the US and EU so non-compliance could be met by import bans.