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chip inside smart card is firmware?

Discussion in 'Embedded' started by Matt, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. Matt

    Matt Guest

    The chip (SIM ?) inside the smart card is considered as firmware? My
    understanding is that firmware means software on ROM. Or can we say
    embedded software? I am confused with those terms.

    Please advise. thanks!!
    Matt, Nov 30, 2004
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  2. Matt

    CJT Guest

    My take:

    Some things are clearly hardware (e.g. TTL logic, chips in general).
    Other things are clearly software (e.g. Windows). Stuff that doesn't
    fit either category, but is somewhere in between (e.g. BIOS, or code
    contained on a smart card -- but not the card itself) is firmware.
    CJT, Nov 30, 2004
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  3. (Matt) wrote in
    Generally, you have as a bsis a smart card OS, which could be considered
    firmware. Many cards also have applications loaded onto them, which might
    be considered software. Also, in some schemes, the card reader will
    download a temporary application to a card and execute it, but it won't be
    permanantly stored on the card.

    Hope that doesn't confuse more than it helps.

    Jeffrey A. Wormsley, Nov 30, 2004
  4. a lot of these chips have eeprom where data &/or programming can be
    loaded (depending on chip rom you have).

    i think much of the smartcard protection profile has to do with
    loading programming into eeprom/flash and the operation of the loaded
    programming ... and frequently the partitioning provisions for
    multiple different loaded functions.

    an issue is that the evaluation typically is of the provisions for
    loading programs ... as opposed to evaluation of the chip with the
    loaded programs.

    frequently they are referred to as multi-app tokens ... which is
    slightly misleading ... because multi-app tends to be defined as use
    with external applications. the more accurate designation tends to be
    multi-function tokens ... although not strictly requiring program
    loading ... the multi-function tokens that i'm aware of tend to be
    programming loaded into eeprom.

    note that most embedded implementations tend to refer to the
    programming loaded into eeprom/flash as firmware ... to distinquish it
    from "regular" software .... example is bios on most PCs.
    Anne & Lynn Wheeler, Nov 30, 2004
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  6. Matt

    Paul Burke Guest

    Take it lightly, they are purely conventional terms. An embedded
    designer will write the 'software' for his intelligent peripheral, then
    the PC programmer will talk about the interface between his software and
    the other's firmware. Even hardware.... if the program of a
    microcontroller implemented in an FPGA is 'firmware', what's the fuse map?

    Paul Burke
    Paul Burke, Dec 1, 2004
  7. [Missing F'up2 reduction. Fixed.]

    The chip itself: no. But there will typically be some firmware *on*
    that chip. It's the possibility of putting firmware (i.e. software
    that isn't quite as soft as some others) on it that makes this card a
    "smart" one.

    Trying to interpret much into a term like "firmware" is futile. It's
    not a standardized, well-defined term to begin with, so everybody
    feels free to do with it whatever they want. It can mean anything
    from "the data burnt into an FPGA to make it do what I want" to
    "software contained in a device which is harder to exchange than other
    pieces of software running on the same device."
    Hans-Bernhard Broeker, Dec 1, 2004
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