bare metal


New computer hardware, with no operating system, compilers or even assembler.

Creating an assembler requires "programming on the bare metal", as may things like building boot PROMs and BIOS chips or implementing basic monitors to test device drivers. An assembler can then be used to write the compiler back ends for a development environment.

"Programming on the bare metal" may also describe use of bit-level peculiarities of hardware for speed or space optimisation, as in The Story of Mel, or bypassing the BIOS or OS, e.g. to directly access device registers. As programming time has become more expensive and computer resources more plentiful, this is much rarer but may still be found in heavily constrained environments such as industrial embedded systems or simply optimising for fun.

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 2023-03-11

Nearby terms:

Barbara Liskovbar codebare metalbarfmailbarnacle codeBaroque

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