According to Wikipedia “plug and play”, denotes:
In computing, plug and play is a term used to describe the characteristic of a computer bus, or device specification, which facilitates the discovery of a hardware component in a system, without the need for physical device configuration, or user intervention in resolving resource conflicts. Plug and play refers to both the traditional boot-time assignment of device resources and driver identification, as well as to hotplug systems such as USB and Firewire
This innovation started to flourish during the early development of the IBM Pc and the subsequent millions of PC Clones as they were called. It stated that a Plug and Play device is one that allows the user to add it onto a computer system, may it be internal or peripherals that you can plug into the external ports. They all began with serial ports, parallel ports, gaming ports and now we have firewire along with USB in its many forms and shapes.
The word should be stripped from the annals of computer history for while it was a huge leap in technology, it seldom meant what it said and went out to do. How many times have you really had a plug and play device? Every manufacturer in the world of computers and peripherals claim the plug and play capability yet they do have installation disks with the hardware. Get something plug and play stick it into a computer and try to use it without any intervention, did it work. They say plug and play was supposed to be stick it in and it works, no mouse clicks no drivers no user intervention. Plug and play also tends to cause utter destruction in your perfectly working computer, till you plugged in the darned thing and it ends up messing up the IRQ and memory allocation tables, along with a late note that is inserted into the install manual saying the gadget won’t work with your particular setup and so on and so forth. The conspiracy between computer, software and peripheral makers continues to this day, try using the all new core 7 desktop and find a software for it to run that uses all 7 cores. Our conclusion is that there is no such thing as a plug and play (more like a radio or cassette) gadget for you always need a driver(windows does this automatically over the net if you don’t know), and a few mouse clicks, what do you think?