Circa 1971 we used the term for software placed in a Read Only Memory (ROM) chip. Thus giving it an "aspect" of traditional hardware in that once the ROM chip was manufactured by a traditional masking process, the contents could not be altered. BTW the cost for a 512 bytes by 8 bits ROM was about $3000 mask charge and $25 each with a 6 week lead time. You can bet those were a nervous 6 weeks for the programmers.Is it called firmware because it falls between hard- and software, or is it so-named because only the firm (synonym for company, business) needs to concern itself with it?
The Wikipedia definition seems pretty good. I've been an avid science fiction reader/collector since I was a kid (in the early 70's somewhere), and I first saw the term used (I think) in the mid-80's sometime, but maybe earlier (foggy memory).And for a 2 cent prize what is wetware ( most common in sifi )