[Techtalk] what is bricking?
mim at miriam-english.org
Tue Jan 24 10:21:19 UTC 2012
Often the EEPROM can't be re-flashed because, in a peculiar twist, the
flashing routine is in the EEPROM. It gets loaded temporarily into RAM
for the rewriting. This is why they say not to turn off the machine
while doing a ROM upgrade. Heaven help you if the power goes out while
re-flashing. The program in RAM evaporates and the ROM is left in a
useless state -- the computer does a wonderful imitation of a brick.
Hence the term. Often the EEPROM is soldered to the board, making any
attempt at salvage doomed. :(
I have a cute little computer here that I can't bring myself to throw
away even though it is impossible to resuscitate.
Incidentally, the impossible-sounding process of flashing a ROM via a
program that is in the chip itself being written is a little like the
original almost paradoxical process in the "old days" of using a starter
program to get a computer to begin executing programs. It was referred
to as "bootstrapping" because it was considered to be a little like
lifting yourself by your own bootstraps -- the computer couldn't run
without loading software, but needed software to load it. We now call it
"booting" our computers and it doesn't seem paradoxical anymore. :)
Carla Schroder wrote:
> O gurus, what does it mean to brick a device like a wireless router? Is it
> correct to say it's corrupting the OS to the point where it cannot boot, and
> you cannot re-flash the EEPROM? But if you had a nifty little EEPROM programmer
> device thingy, and could safely pull the chip out of the router, you could
> restore it?
> Carla Schroder, ace Linux guru and howto author
> 541-932-4817 PT
> carla at tuxcomputing.com
> Techtalk mailing list
> Techtalk at linuxchix.org
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