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.
Pierced Roger’s polycyclic screen; exposed the bare metal of Roger’s walls!
Triplanetary Edward Elmer Smith
The specimen is then wrapped with strips of zinc in such a way that the zinc is in actual contact with the bare metal (Fig. 28).
The Preservation of Antiquities Friedrich Rathgen
The corridor was deserted now and their footsteps echoed hollowly from the bare metal walls.
The Copper-Clad World Harl Vincent
And bare metal, however refractory, endures only for instants under the appalling intensity of such beams as those.
Masters of Space Edward Elmer Smith
In the glow of light within this bare metal apartment I could see how pale and drawn was her beautiful face.
Astounding Stories, June, 1931 Various
completely unclothed. Contemporary Examples To me, protecting women’s freedom doesn’t mean accepting philosophies that define women by their sexuality, veiled or bare-naked. Playboy’s Muslim Cover Girl: Is Sila Sahin Good for Women? Asra Q. Nomani April 30, 2011
- Bare necessities
Just sufficient resources, with nothing to spare. For example, The room was furnished with just the bare necessities—bed, table, chair. This idiom uses bare in the sense of “mere, and nothing else,” a usage dating from about 1200. Contemporary Examples Each month, he receives ¥300 ($50) in welfare payments, an amount insufficient to cover the […]
- Bare off
to hold up; support: to bear the weight of the roof. to hold or remain firm under (a load): The roof will not bear the strain of his weight. to bring forth (young); give birth to: to bear a child. to produce by natural growth: a tree that bears fruit. to hold up under; be […]
- Bare one’s soul
Reveal one’s most private thoughts and feelings. For example, Teenagers rarely bare their souls to their parents; they prefer their peers. This figurative use of the verb bare, which literally means “make bare” or “uncover,” dates from a.d. 1000.