It is known as firmware to the instruction set of a computer program that is registered in a memory ROM, flash or similar. These instructions fix the primary logic that exercises control over the circuits of some kind of artifact.
A term this, the one that occupies us now, which seems to have its origin in the decade of the 60’s. More exactly we can state that it was used for the first time was in 1967 in an article that Rudy Meléndez published in the magazine Datamotion.
Firmware, whose name refers to hard programming, is part of the hardware since it is integrated into the electronics, but it is also considered as part of the software being developed under some programming language. Arguably the firmware works like the nexus between the instructions coming to the device from the outside and its various electronic parts.
Specifically, we can establish that the firmware of any technological device is basically fulfilling three clear functions. In the first place, it manages to give the system in question the fundamental operating and response routines with respect to the usual requests that it receives and must satisfy the user.
Secondly, it is clear that another of the missions it performs is to establish a simple and comfortable interface so that, in this way, the system configuration can be quickly and easily carried out by using a certain series of parameters.
And finally, thirdly, another of the most important functions that all firmware undertakes is to control and manage both what is the system boot of the device and the corresponding initiation.
Microprocessors, printers, monitors, and memory chips are some of the devices that have firmware. An example of firmware is the BIOS program of the computer, which starts working as soon as the machine is turned on.
More precisely, we can establish that there are three clearly differentiated BIOS types that are classified based on the method used to record them:
ROM. It is recorded the moment the chip is created and its information can no longer be modified.
PROM. It works in a similar way to ROM class memories but can only be written once.
EPROM. It works like the aforementioned ROMs but has the novelty that it can be erased and written as many times as deemed appropriate.
The architecture of a computer is made up of different layers with different levels of abstraction. The hardware is the base and then the firmware appears. On him the assembler, the kernel, the operating system and, in the end, Applications.
It should be noted that the user, in general, has the possibility of update firmware of a device to solve errors or increase its performance. These updates, however, are risky since if there is a failure in the process, the device may stop working.
Upgrading the firmware still offers several advantages: it can allow, for example, a CD recorder to increase its speed from 48x to 52x.