bootimg
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bootimg has served its purpose as a proof of concept, and is no longer being worked on.
Please uses Eric Biederman's kexec instead.

bootimg provides the ultimate boot loader - the Linux kernel itself.

Booting a Linux kernel from under Linux allows multi-stage boot procedures where a comparably simple boot loader can load the first Linux kernel (possibly with an initial RAM disk) from whatever storage is convenient, and this kernel can then use the full functionality of a Linux system to retrieve the "real" kernel.

bootimg can also be used for very fast reboots, as a building block for crash recovery systems, etc.

This site contains the source code and information directly related to bootimg. Pointers to sites with information on competing approaches and related topics in general can be found in the links section below.
This project started at the beginning of 2000 as private experiment, then remained dormant for about one year, and is now continuing at Network Robots (tm).

 Download
The current version is bootimg-10 (20 kB), released 9-NOV-2001, for kernel 2.3.48.

Changes since the previous version:

  • historical version (11-MAR-2000), base line for new development
  • modernized Makefile and related files

Older versions can be found here.

Very old versions can be found in the old distribution directory.

 Mailing list
For the time being, please use the linux-kernel mailing list to discuss bootimg or topics related to it.

 Documentation
Usage information:
(nothing at the moment)

Booting overview:

  • "Booting Linux: The History and the Future", June 2000
    (Postscript: gziped; Source: tar.gz)
  • "Booting Linux: The History and the Future", slides of OLS 2000 presentation
    (Postscript: gziped; Source: tar.gz)
  •  Links
    Competing approaches:

    Projects using bootimg:

    Other boot loaders:

    • GRUB follows the traditional approach of packing all functionality required to bring up the "real" kernel into the boot loader

    Related material:

    • newlib is a small C library that is ideal for building small boot environments

    Last update: 9-NOV-2001   Werner Almesberger