So let me reiterate a point here - you don’t get to decide what state a pin is in on startup. The chip manufacturer does. They may choose to set Hi-Z on all pins, or they may choose to set to high, or low, or they may choose to set a mix depending on what peripheral is tied to it (for example, a UART may need to leave TX and RX in a certain state, not Hi-Z).
The best you can do is to immediately configure them when you get control of the chip. Your MSP430 example just supports this - you’re only setting that in your code.
In the case of a netmf device, your app loads well after the netmf and the setup of the peripherals based on the firmware from the hardware vendor. So even if the first thing you do in your app is set your state, that’s well past the hardware initialisation that the chip itself has done, and that the firmware has done. Your point about a Cortex M3 chip is irrelevant - you’re not programming one of those, you’re programming a Cobra 2 from GHI - even if GHI use a Cortex M3 on the Cobra2. (again, this just reiterates, the decision is not yours)
If you are reading 1v7 with a DMM, then you are possibly reading Hi-Z or you’re possibly reading a fast digital signal. I can’t tell you which though - and I don’t have a O’scope to be more helpful.
Why does Socket 6 behave similarly? Well, again, there are specific hardware peripherals associated with those pins (SPI for example) that the firmware may configure or set, or there’s a device on that bus that shares those signal pins.
“You can try another test: connect LED to any pin, any socket and it will light up at half brightness during power up.”
I have connected my LED7R across many sockets (not all), and some of them show Hi-Z (dim) and some show off, depending on the socket. So if you see all LEDs dimly lit on any socket, then we are not seeing the same thing.
But again, if you are expecting to have a specific state at startup you need to take specific electrical actions to achieve that. What we need to work through here is what pins should and should not change state when the LCD is not enabled, to minimise the number of pins where that may be necessary.