I don't have a freakin' clue what any of this means....whew! You guys are too smart for me!
Not really Rob, its just a lot of stupid terminology is used in electronics and computers that takes time to learn and understand.
This kind of work involves lots of investigation, it requires methodical research and involves multi-disciplinary skills across both software and hardware engineering. They can all be learned as huge amounts of information exists on the web for those so inclined. Once you understand it it all starts to make sense. Its not for everyone certainly, essentially this thread is about gaining access to be able to 'software upgrade' the software in the ignition computers used in the Ferrari 360.
Q. Why you may ask would you want to do that?
... Well plenty of reasons actually. One of the biggest incentives is in the quest for Improved Performance
: Maps are sort of like the rows and columns in an Excel spreadsheet. They tell the fuel computers exactly how much petrol to meter out at any given point in the rev range for the available air (the mixture). For upgraded performance parts such as aftermarket high flow exhausts, cats and sports headers being able to customize these maps can yield improvements in power but need to be done by experienced tuners on a dynometer to verify air to fuel mixtures (AFR ratio's) are correct. Too much fuel and the engine runs rich, too little and it runs lean. Both can damage engine components so its vital a rolling road session is done with accurate wide band oxygen sensors to measure things in real-time as maps are being tuned. Its not for the novice.
Also other maps exist such as throttle sensitivity
and they can also be tweaked too (the throttle is drive by wire) so its all software... Ferrari themselves did this for the Challenge Stradale and indeed some people simply use the factory software from the CS in their Modena computers to get a healthy increase in power (+10hp gain) with just a re-flash alone.
You back up
your computer right? ...But not your cars data! Another great use is to save money, if one of your ECU's is faulty and dies it could cost literally thousands of dollars to replace and get setup by a dealer with an SD2. Armed with ECU knowledge you could seek out a cheap used ecu and then reprogram it (swapping over your details of your immobilizer codes, etc) then re-use it. These Bosch ECU's are used in many cars such as Alfa Romeo's of the same vintage so being able to do this can literally same huge cash in the event of failures.