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Currently the only tag we have related to cartridges containing software in ROM is , with the following description:

For questions related to cartridge-based games and applications

and the following tag wiki text:

Use this tag for questions related to programs loaded from read-only memory cartridges.

Related tags:

Of the 31 posts with this tag, 7 or so are clearly not game-related at all in that they are not about cartridges for games nor about cartridges containing games. (These still fit under the description above, of course, because the description explicitly does not restrict the software to games.)

Some better options for the tag name (there may be others) are:

  • : "ROM" is in this century frequently used with the meaning "software that was normally distributed in persistent memory not expected to be rewritten by the user," i.e., firmware. (MAME and other emulator users others often speak of "downloading ROMs," though of course that can't be done in the literal sense. And not infrequently, the images they download were originally on EEPROM anyway.) Nor, originally, was "ROM cartridge" ever thought to be restricted to cartridges containing no other components; most people would disagree that "there are few ROM cartridges for the Game Boy" because vast majority of them contain memory management and other logic, and even RAM.

  • : This makes it clear that the primary purpose of the cartridge is for delivering software. It also clearly does not restrict the software to being on ROM instead of, e.g., EEPROM or flash memory. Nor does it imply that the cartridge may not contain other logic, such as bank switching support. It might, however, be considered to apply to RAM-only cartridges, since those of course can also contain software if you put some on it.

  • : Perhaps makes it more clear that it contains software that's expected to be in memory that's persistent and not user-updated.

We may also want to consider how the naming will affect searches. If, e.g., someone types "ROM" into the tag field when they're assigning tags, what should and will come up? (All of the above will appear if someone starts typing "cartridge.")

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Yes, rename the tag to [software-cartridge]

Some cartridges, such as Super Mario World and Star Fox, are not pure ROM cartridges but contain other hardware. In this case, would be a misnomer.

Likewise, would be a poor choice for cartridges containing only userland software.

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    I believe this is the way to go. Unless of course we have both [softeare-] and [rom-] tags, which would be over the top. – Chenmunka Oct 11 '19 at 12:42
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    Do any of these game cartridges not contain ROM, though? I don't see why "ROM cartridge" is not a good description of a cartridge that contains ROM and other devices when the primary purpose of the cartridge is contained in the ROM, and the other hardware merely supports the software in that ROM, rather than being designed to be used stand-alone. – cjs Oct 18 '19 at 4:43
  • @CurtJ.Sampson To me, a ROM cartridge could be replaced by a single ROM chip of the correct sort, some wires, and some crocodile clips. – wizzwizz4 Oct 18 '19 at 10:09
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    @wizzwizz4 Wow, for me it's quite the opposite: I think that a ROM cartridge containing only a ROM and no other logic whatsoever (not even a simple 7400 part) is rather unusual. So basically almost no cartridges for any Nintendo system are "ROM cartridges" in your view? (The vast majority of an MMU to manage bank switching.) Nor is the MultiMax cartridge a ROM cartridge? – cjs Oct 18 '19 at 10:56
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    Oh, I just realized that you did propose a new tag name: software-cartrige. (My bad for stopping reading at "No," and maybe phrasing the question originally to request "yes" and "no" answers.) I've updated the question with several alternatives and some discussion of them; perhaps you can update your answer to take this into account. – cjs Oct 18 '19 at 11:37
  • Of course "software cartridge" is also and specifically a misnomer for cartridges that "are not pure ROM cartridges but contain other hardware". For me the best name is the one most widely already used in the community. I think "rom cartridge" and "software cartridge" are equally good even though they're equally misnomers. "Firmware cartridge" is too technically, not widely used, and still a misnomer anyway. – hippietrail May 6 at 5:52
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Rename the tag to [rom-cartridge]

The tag should be renamed to because many people think of the software (fimware, really) in them as "ROM" software, even when it's internally distributed in easily rewritable form, e.g., flash memory.

(After some thought, this is my favourite of the options, followed by , but in the interests of getting something done, I will upvote every reasonable proposal, including all three in the question.)


While not strictly part of this answer, since the description and tag wiki text can be edited (or have edit suggestions) by anyone after the renaming, I also suggest that the description should be changed to something along the lines of:

For questions related to cartridge-based software, including games

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