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firmware, embedded software, embedded system concepts

Started by Matt November 2, 2004
I want to understand more on firmware, embedded software,
and embedded systems. My understanding is that firmware 
has programming instructions burned in a chip, which is a ROM?
And once we burns it, the information is read only. 
For example, the chip inside smart card is a firmware??

Embedded software consists of more than one firmware?? 

Embedded system is a computer system in large hardware devices, and
it consists of embedded software? For example, microwave, 
network devices, etc?

I tried to find more information on the web, but couldn't find clear
explainations on the basic concepts and differences among 
firmware, embedded software, embedded system.

please advise. thanks!!
> I want to understand more on firmware, embedded software, > and embedded systems. My understanding is that firmware > has programming instructions burned in a chip, which is a ROM? > And once we burns it, the information is read only. > For example, the chip inside smart card is a firmware?? > > Embedded software consists of more than one firmware?? > > Embedded system is a computer system in large hardware devices, and > it consists of embedded software? For example, microwave, > network devices, etc? > > I tried to find more information on the web, but couldn't find clear > explainations on the basic concepts and differences among > firmware, embedded software, embedded system. > > please advise. thanks!!
There is no such thing as firmware - that's just a stupid made up name. There is software and it can reside in memory, on a disk, in a chip, in object form, in source code form, whatever, but it is SOFTWARE. The fact that its earthly form was translated from english like statements on paper to ones and zeros in an electronic device doesn't change what you call it - software. 'Embedded' software is just a general term for software that lives in your toaster instead of your desktop or mainframe computer.
On Tue, 02 Nov 2004 18:24:56 GMT, "Eagle Eye" <ee@nospam.net> wrote:

>..There is no such thing as firmware - that's just a stupid made up name. >There is software and it can reside in memory, on a disk, in a chip, in >object form, in source code form, whatever, but it is SOFTWARE...
Firmware is software that is deployed in a way that is sufficiently different from software deployed on general-purpose computers to justify the special name. I don't think it is stupid. It emphasizes important differences. The name itself implies that firmware is "more firm" than software. That is, it is harder to change. It is usually run from some sort of non-volatile memory. This would also apply to flash or EPROM BIOS in a desktop computer, but I'm not sure I would call that firmware. Certainly the program in a microwave oven or coffee maker would be called firmware. However, the control program of a communications adapter that runs out of RAM and is downloaded over the communication channel might not be called firmware, but just software. -Robert Scott Ypsilanti, Michigan (Reply through this forum, not by direct e-mail to me, as automatic reply address is fake.)
Matt wrote:
> > I want to understand more on firmware, embedded software, > and embedded systems. My understanding is that firmware > has programming instructions burned in a chip, which is a ROM? > And once we burns it, the information is read only.
This is a typical implementation. Generally, firmware is software stored in a relatively stable, non-volatile medium, such as ROM or flash memory.
> For example, the chip inside smart card is a firmware??
Firmware refers to the code (either source or object), not the hardware, such as a chip.
> Embedded software consists of more than one firmware??
For most applications, they would be the same. If an embedded application used a disk to store the code, I wouldn't call the code firmware.
> Embedded system is a computer system in large hardware devices, and > it consists of embedded software?
An "embedded system" or system containing an embedded processor, to be more precise, is a complete standalone unit which contains a processor and is dedicated to a specific task. The system needn't be large. The system doesn't consist of embedded software, but the processor would run embedded software.
> For example, microwave, network devices, etc?
Yes. Thad
jrefactors@hotmail.com (Matt) writes:

> I want to understand more on firmware, embedded software, > and embedded systems. My understanding is that firmware > has programming instructions burned in a chip, which is a ROM? > And once we burns it, the information is read only. > For example, the chip inside smart card is a firmware??
Get a Linksys WRT54G (69 EUR) and start hacking it. Look at the www.openwrt.org project to see what is in the image. Crack the box open to look at the hardware (lookup chip specs on the web), and figure out how things are connected. Within a week you will know more about embedded systems than any textbook will teach you :-) S.
"Eagle Eye" <ee@nospam.net> wrote in
news:YhQhd.53494$186.41906@fe1.texas.rr.com: 


> There is no such thing as firmware - that's just a stupid made up name.
Rediculous. FPGAs contain firmware which describe circuitry. Nothing like software. Besides, even software that gets put into Flash or ROM is no where as easy to change as software. Think of the code in you digital watch, you think that's just software like you have on your PC or slightly more dedicated and difficult to change? -- - Mark -> --