I would like to know what the exact difference is between the Uno and Mega boards and the older boards (Duemilanove, Diecimila, etc.). Why do I need to install a FTDI driver for the older boards, and not for the Uno/Mega boards? I was in a class the other day, using the Nano, and the lecturer recommended the FTDI drivers.
The Nano is a newer type board, so why does that require a driver? I've just discovered that the Nano is old tech from 2008, after reading Are there any reasons to pick Nano over Micro?
What is it about the Uno and Mega boards that don't require the FTDI to be separately installed?
I see that the Getting Started w/ Arduino on Mac OS X page states that the older boards use the FTDI chip. Does that imply that the Uno/Mega boards do not? If they do not, then what do they use?
I have a vague notion that some USB sticks, keyboards, mouse and other various USB devices may contain a driver within the circuitry/firmware(?) of the device, which when connected to a PC for the first time, can be used to install the driver without the PC needing to access the web for the driver. Is this what the difference is between the UNO/Mega and the older devices? If so, is it possible to modify, or flash the firmware of the older boards so that they can connect without the need for an FTDI driver?