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2 definitions found
 for bare metal
From The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003) :

  bare metal
   n.
  
      1. [common] New computer hardware, unadorned with such snares and delusions
      as an operating system, an HLL, or even assembler. Commonly used in the
      phrase programming on the bare metal, which refers to the arduous work of {
      bit bashing needed to create these basic tools for a new machine. Real
      bare-metal programming involves things like building boot proms and BIOS
      chips, implementing basic monitors used to test device drivers, and writing
      the assemblers that will be used to write the compiler back ends that will
      give the new machine a real development environment.
  
      2. ?Programming on the bare metal? is also used to describe a style of {
      hand-hacking that relies on bit-level peculiarities of a particular
      hardware design, esp. tricks for speed and space optimization that rely on
      crocks such as overlapping instructions (or, as in the famous case
      described in The Story of Mel' (in Appendix A), interleaving of opcodes on
      a magnetic drum to minimize fetch delays due to the device's rotational
      latency). This sort of thing has become rare as the relative costs of
      programming time and machine resources have changed, but is still found in
      heavily constrained environments such as industrial embedded systems. See {
      Real Programmer.
  

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (30 December 2018) :

  bare metal
  
     1. New computer hardware, unadorned with such snares and
     delusions as an operating system, an HLL, or even
     assembler.  Commonly used in the phrase "programming on the
     bare metal", which refers to the arduous work of bit bashing
     needed to create these basic tools for a new computer.  Real
     bare-metal programming involves things like building boot
     PROMs and BIOS chips, implementing basic monitors used to
     test device drivers, and writing the assemblers that will be
     used to write the compiler back ends that will give the new
     computer a real development environment.
  
     2. "Programming on the bare metal" is also used to describe a
     style of hand-hacking that relies on bit-level peculiarities
     of a particular hardware design, especially tricks for speed
     and space optimisation that rely on crocks such as overlapping
     instructions (or, as in the famous case described in The
     Story of Mel, interleaving of opcodes on a magnetic drum to
     minimise fetch delays due to the device's rotational latency).
     This sort of thing has become less common as the relative
     costs of programming time and computer resources have changed,
     but is still found in heavily constrained environments such as
     industrial embedded systems, and in the code of hackers who
     just can't let go of that low-level control.  See Real
     Programmer.
  
     In the world of personal computing, bare metal programming is
     often considered a Good Thing, or at least a necessary evil
     (because these computers have often been sufficiently slow and
     poorly designed to make it necessary; see ill-behaved).
     There, the term usually refers to bypassing the BIOS or OS
     interface and writing the application to directly access
     device registers and computer addresses.  "To get 19.2
     kilobaud on the serial port, you need to get down to the bare
     metal."  People who can do this sort of thing well are held in
     high regard.
  
     [{Jargon File]
  

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