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firmware, embedded software, embedded system concepts

Discussion in 'Embedded' started by Matt, Nov 2, 2004.

  1. Matt

    Matt Guest

    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!!
     
    Matt, Nov 2, 2004
    #1
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  2. Matt

    Eagle Eye Guest

    I want to understand more on firmware, embedded software,
    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.
     
    Eagle Eye, Nov 2, 2004
    #2
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  3. Matt

    Robert Scott Guest

    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.)
     
    Robert Scott, Nov 2, 2004
    #3
  4. Matt

    Thad Smith Guest

    This is a typical implementation. Generally, firmware is software
    stored in a relatively stable, non-volatile medium, such as ROM or
    flash memory.
    Firmware refers to the code (either source or object), not the
    hardware, such as a chip.
    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.
    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.
    Yes.

    Thad
     
    Thad Smith, Nov 2, 2004
    #4
  5. 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.
     
    Stefan Arentz, Nov 2, 2004
    #5
  6. 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 A. Odell, Nov 3, 2004
    #6
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