ignored_mailbox at yahoo.com.au
Sun May 22 14:35:18 UTC 2011
On Sun, 2011-05-22 at 02:17 +0100, Timothy Murphy wrote:
> In fact, I'm not sure what "firmware" is.
> Is there a standard definition of firmware?
Is there a standard definition of anything in computing? ;-) It's
partway between hardware and software.
Generally speaking, it's the upgradeable programming that you can
install into small hardware appliances (computer BIOS, modems, DVD
players, digital television equipment, etc.). Usually, it refers to
reprogramming an EEPROM with a non-volatilely stored program (once
installed, it remains stored unless deliberately overwritten). Though,
some devices might use volatile memory, and require firmware uploading
each time they're powered on. I seem to recall that some network cards
work that way, and their driver does that each bootup.
With some devices, the firmware may be their entire operating code. For
other devices, they have some basic programming in permanent ROM, and
some additional program code is upgradable firmware.
e.g. You may have a BIOS which has ROM code to being booting or begin
installing firmware. But the firmware actually handles everything else.
Or a worse example; the entire coding is firmware, and if upgrading the
firmware fails at a critical moment, you don't have any way to try
again. You'd need to rip out the EEPROM, and fix things externally.
[tim at localhost ~]$ uname -r
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