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A computer program or instruction, such as a microprogram, used so often that it is stored in a read-only memory instead of being included in software; often used in computers that monitor production processes.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Software stored in read-only memory (ROM) or programmable ROM (PROM). Easier to change than hardware but harder than software stored on disk. Firmware is often responsible for the behaviour of a system when it is first switched on. A typical example would be a "monitor" program in a microcomputer which loads the full operating system from disk or from a network and then passes control to it.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)
firmware(FIRM softWARE) Software instructions residing in non-volatile storage that holds its content without power. Firmware is found on computer motherboards to hold hardware settings and boot data (see BIOS) and on myriad consumer electronics devices to hold the operating system and application.
Not So Firm Today
Today's firmware chips are mostly flash memory, which can be easily updated, especially in consumer electronics products (see firmware update and flash memory). Although still used, the first firmware chips (ROMs, PROMs and EPROMs) could not be updated by the user. Software changes required replacing the chip, hence the "firm" moniker (see ROM, PROM and EPROM).
NOR and NAND Flash Memory
NOR is the type of flash memory typically used for software because individual instructions can be executed in place. NAND flash, which is mainly used for storage, may also be used. However, a program in NAND cannot be executed in place and must be copied to RAM for execution (see NAND flash). See non-volatile memory, flash BIOS, FOTA and wares.
|The Beauty of Firmware|
|Firmware is easily updated and very automatic with most products. This message is a firmware update for the QNAP server, a network storage device (see NAS).|
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