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Often complicated equipment can have a microcontroler or other form of control electronics that requires a piece of software to run it. Some times it can be hard coded within the equipment and sometimes it takes the form of a software script ( writen into a memory chip). Things like modems, cd-dvd drives, mp3 players, mobile phones all require firmware to make them work.
Firmware is a combination of software and hardware. Computer chips that have data or programs recorded on them are firmware. These chips commonly include the following:
• ROMs (read-only memory)
• PROMs (programmable read-only memory)
• EPROMs (erasable programmable read-only memory)
Firmware in PROM or EPROM is designed to be updated if necessary through a software update
There is no clear defined boundary between software and firmware....
but to define
Firmware is a software piece that is written to directly interact with hardware and/or controls hardware components...
compare the difference between software that controls the CD player and Billing Application in desktop....
The first set of machine instructions to run on the hardware after the application of power. The firmware may consist of several stages that bootstrap from one stage to the next.And it situates in the compact hardware itself and may or may not be of type upgradable.
A firmware is an embedded software or microcode which is used to control various hardware platforms and reside in small memory area in ROM or Flash memory.
There is no strict or well-defined boundaries separate firmware from software, both are quite loose descriptive terms. However, firmware is typically involved with very basic low-level operations in a device, without which the device would be completely non-functional. Firmware is also a relative term, as most embedded devices contain firmware at more than one level. Subsystems such as LCD modules, flash chips, communication controllers etc, have their own (usually fixed) program code and/or microcode, regarded as "part of the hardware" by the higher-level firmware.