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Building Embedded Linux Systems by Karim Yaghmour

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Types of Boot Configurations

The type of boot configuration chosen for a system greatly influences the selection of a bootloader, its configuration, and the type of software and hardware found in the host. A network boot configuration, for example, requires that the host provide some types of network services to the target. In designing your system, you first need to identify the boot configurations you are likely to use during development and in the final product. Then, you need to choose a bootloader or a set of bootloaders that will cater to the different types of boot setups you are likely to use. Not all bootloaders, for example, can boot kernels from disk devices. In the following, I will cover the possible boot configurations. Let us start, nevertheless, by reviewing some boot basics.

All CPUs fetch their first instruction from an address preassigned by their manufacturer. Any system built using a CPU has one form or another of solid state storage device at that location. Traditionally, the storage device was a masked ROM, but flash chips are increasingly the norm today.[3] The software on this storage device is responsible for bootstrapping the system. The level of sophistication of the boot software and the extent to which it is subsequently used as part of the system's operation greatly depends on the type of system involved.

On most workstations and servers, the boot software is responsible only for loading the operating system from disk and for providing basic hardware ...

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