Firmware – Wikipedia

A television remote control is an instance of a product that contains firmware.

In computing, firmware is a selected magnificence of pc software that provides the low-stage control for a tool’s unique hardware. Firmware, which include the BIOS of a non-public laptop, may additionally include basic capabilities of a device, and might provide hardware abstraction offerings to higher-stage software which includes running structures. For less complex gadgets, firmware might also act as the device’s entire working gadget, appearing all manipulate, tracking and records manipulation functions. Typical examples of gadgets containing firmware are embedded structures (strolling embedded software program), home and personal-use home equipment, computer systems, and pc peripherals.

Firmware is held in non-volatile memory gadgets which includes ROM, EPROM, EEPROM, and Flash reminiscence. Updating firmware calls for ROM incorporated circuits to be physically changed, or EPROM or flash memory to be reprogrammed via a unique method.[1] Some firmware memory devices are completely established and can’t be changed after manufacture. Common motives for updating firmware encompass solving bugs or including functions to the tool.History and etymology[edit]

Ascher Opler coined the time period firmware in a 1967 Datamation article,[2] as an middleman time period among “hardware” and “software program”.In this article, Opler turned into referring to a new type of computer program that had a distinctive realistic and psychological cause from traditional packages from the consumer’s attitude.

As computer systems started out to growth in complexity, it became clear that numerous programs had to first be initiated and run to provide a consistent surroundings important for walking extra complicated applications on the consumer’s discretion. This required programming the pc to run those packages routinely. Furthermore, as organizations, universities, and entrepreneurs wanted to sell computer systems to laypeople with little technical information, more automation have become essential to permit a lay-person to easily run applications for practical functions. This gave upward push to a sort of software that a consumer might now not consciously run, and it brought about software that a lay person wouldn’t even recognize approximately.[3]

Originally, it intended the contents of a writable manage keep (a small specialized excessive-pace reminiscence), containing microcode that defined and applied the laptop’s preparation set, and that would be reloaded to specialize or modify the instructions that the critical processing unit (CPU) could execute. As firstly used, firmware contrasted with hardware (the CPU itself) and software program (ordinary instructions executing on a CPU). It was now not composed of CPU machine commands, but of decrease-stage microcode involved in the implementation of system instructions. It existed at the boundary among hardware and software program; as a consequence the call firmware. Over time, famous utilization prolonged the phrase firmware to indicate any computer application that is tightly linked to hardware, inclusive of BIOS on PCs, boot firmware on smartphones, laptop peripherals, or the control structures on easy purchaser digital devices including microwave ovens, remote controls.Applications[edit]Computers[edit]

In some respects, the diverse firmware additives are as crucial as the operating machine in a operating computer. However, not like most current running systems, firmware not often has a well-developed computerized mechanism of updating itself to restore any functionality troubles detected after shipping the unit.

The BIOS can be manually up to date by using a consumer thru a small application application. In contrast, firmware in mass storage gadgets (difficult-disk drives, optical disc drives, flash reminiscence garage e.g. solid nation power) is much less regularly updated, even if flash memory (rather than ROM, EEPROM) storage is used for the firmware.

Most laptop peripherals are themselves unique-motive computer systems. Devices inclusive of printers, scanners, webcams, and USB flash drives have internally-stored firmware; some gadgets may additionally allow field upgrading in their firmware.

Other instances of laptop firmware encompass:

  • The (U)EFI-compliant firmware used on Itanium structures, Intel-based Macs, and plenty of newer PCs
  • Hard disk pressure, solid-kingdom drive or optical disc power firmware
  • Video BIOS of a photographs card
  • Open Firmware, utilized in SPARC-based totally computers from Sun Microsystems and Oracle Corporation, PowerPC-primarily based computers from Apple, and computers from Genesi
  • ARCS, used in computers from Silicon Graphics
  • Kickstart, used within the Amiga line of computers (POST, hardware init + Plug and Play auto-configuration of peripherals, kernel, and so on.)
  • RTAS (Run-Time Abstraction Services), used in computers from IBM
  • The Common Firmware Environment (CFE)

Home and private-use products[edit]

As of 2010, maximum transportable tune players help firmware enhancements. Some groups use firmware updates to add new playable document codecs (formats). Other capabilities that could change with firmware updates include the GUI or maybe the battery existence. Most cellular telephones have a firmware over the air firmware upgrade capability for plenty the equal reasons; some may also also be upgraded to enhance reception or sound satisfactory.Automobiles[edit]

Since 1996, maximum vehicles have employed an on-board pc and various sensors to hit upon mechanical troubles. As of 2010, contemporary motors additionally employ pc-managed anti-lock braking structures (ABS) and computer-operated transmission control units (TCUs). The driver can also get in-sprint statistics whilst driving on this way, such as real-time gasoline financial system and tire strain readings. Local sellers can update maximum car firmware.Other examples[edit]

Other firmware applications encompass:

  • In home and personal-use merchandise:
    • Timing and manipulate systems for washing machines
    • Controlling sound and video attributes, as well as the channel listing, in modern televisions
  • In routers, switches, and firewalls:
    • LibreCMC –a 100% unfastened software router distribution based totally at the Linux-libre kernel
    • IPFire –an open-supply firewall/router distribution based totally at the Linux kernel
    • fli4l –an open-supply firewall/router distribution based totally on the Linux kernel
    • OpenWrt –an open-supply firewall/router distribution primarily based on the Linux kernel
    • m0n0wall –an embedded firewall distribution of FreeBSD
    • Proprietary firmware
  • In NAS structures:
    • NAS4Free –an open-supply NAS operating gadget based on FreeBSD
    • Openfiler –an open-source NAS operating device based totally on the Linux kernel
    • Proprietary firmware
  • Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) code can be referred to as firmware


Flashing[four] includes the overwriting of present firmware or information, contained in EEPROM or flash reminiscence module present in an digital device, with new statistics.[four] This may be executed to improve a device[5] or to change the company of a carrier associated with the function of the device, such as changing from one cellular smartphone carrier company to another or putting in a new working system. If firmware is upgradable, it’s miles often carried out through a application from the issuer, and could often allow the vintage firmware to be stored earlier than upgrading so it could be reverted to if the technique fails, or if the newer model plays worse. Free software replacements for dealer flashing gear were advanced, which include Flashrom.Firmware hacking[edit]

Sometimes, 1/3 parties increase an unofficial new or changed (“aftermarket”) version of firmware to offer new functions or to unencumber hidden functionality; that is referred to as custom firmware. An instance is Rockbox as a firmware replacement for transportable media players. There are many homebrew initiatives for various gadgets, which often unlock popular-purpose computing functionality in formerly constrained devices (e.g., strolling Doom on iPods).

Firmware hacks generally take advantage of the firmware replace facility on many gadgets to put in or run themselves. Some, however, must motel to exploits to run, due to the fact the manufacturer has attempted to lock the hardware to prevent it from going for walks unlicensed code.

Most firmware hacks are free software program.HDD firmware hacks[edit]

The Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab located that a group of developers it refers to as the “Equation Group” has advanced difficult disk force firmware adjustments for diverse pressure fashions, containing a malicious program that permits records to be saved at the force in places to be able to no longer be erased even supposing the drive is formatted or wiped.[6]Although the Kaspersky Lab file did no longer explicitly declare that this organization is part of the USA National Security Agency (NSA), proof obtained from the code of various Equation Group software program suggests that they are part of the NSA.[7][eight]

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