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10. Configuring the Bootloader

Content:

10.a. Making your Choice

Introduction

Now that your kernel is configured and compiled and the necessary system configuration files are filled in correctly, it is time to install a program that will fire up your kernel when you start the system. Such a program is called a bootloader.

Several bootloaders exist for Linux/Alpha. You must choose one of the supported bootloaders, not all. You have the choice between aBoot and MILO.

10.b. Default: Using aboot

Note: aboot only supports booting from ext2 and ext3 partitions.

We first install aboot on our system. Of course we use emerge to do so:

Code Listing 2.1: Installing aboot

# emerge --usepkg aboot

The next step is to make our bootdisk bootable. This will start aboot when you boot your system. We make our bootdisk bootable by writing the aboot bootloader to the start of the disk.

Code Listing 2.2: Making your bootdisk bootable

# swriteboot -f3 /dev/sda /boot/bootlx 
# abootconf /dev/sda 2

Note: If you use a different partitioning scheme than the one we use throughout this chapter, you have to change the commands accordingly. Please read the appropriate manual pages (man 8 swriteboot and man 8 abootconf). Also, if your root filesystem uses the JFS filesystem, make sure to pass the ro kernel option so that it can replay its log before it gets mounted read-write.

Additionally, you can make Gentoo boot automatically by setting up the aboot configuration file and some SRM variables. You can try setting these variables from Linux, but it may be easier to do so from the SRM console itself.

Code Listing 2.3: Automatically booting Gentoo

# echo '0:2/boot/vmlinux.gz root=/dev/sda2' > /etc/aboot.conf
# cd /proc/srm_environment/named_variables
# echo -n 0 > boot_osflags
# echo -n '' > boot_file
# echo -n 'BOOT' > auto_action
# echo -n 'dkc100' > bootdef_dev
(Substitute dkc100 with whatever your boot device is)

If you need to get into the SRM console again in the future (to recover your Gentoo install, play with some variables, or whatever), just hit CTRL+C to abort the automatic loading process.

If you're installing using a serial console, don't forget to include the serial console boot flag in aboot.conf. See /etc/aboot.conf.example for some further information.

Aboot is now configured and ready to use. Continue with Rebooting the System.

10.c. Alternative: Using MILO

Before continuing, you should decide on how to use MILO. In this section, we will assume that you want to make a MILO boot floppy. If you are going to boot from an MS-DOS partition on your hard disk, you should amend the commands appropriately.

To install MILO, we use emerge.

Code Listing 3.1: Installing MILO

# emerge --usepkg milo

After MILO has been installed, the MILO images should be in /opt/milo. The commands below make a bootfloppy for use with MILO. Remember to use the correct image for your Alpha-system.

Code Listing 3.2: Installing MILO on a floppy

(First insert a blank floppy)
# fdformat /dev/fd0
# mformat a:
# mcopy /opt/milo/milo-2.2-18-gentoo-ruffian a:\milo
# mcopy /opt/milo/linload.exe a:\lilnload.exe
(Only if you have a Ruffian:     
  # mcopy /opt/milo/ldmilo.exe a:\ldmilo.exe
)
# echo -ne '\125\252' | dd of=/dev/fd0 bs=1 seek=510 count=2

Your MILO boot floppy is now ready to boot Gentoo Linux. You may need to set environment variables in your ARCS Firmware to get MILO to start; this is all explained in the MILO-HOWTO with some examples on common systems, and examples of the commands to use in interactive mode.

Not reading the MILO-HOWTO is a bad idea.

Now continue with Rebooting the System.

10.d. Rebooting the System

Exit the chrooted environment and unmount all mounted partitions. Then type in that one magical command you have been waiting for: reboot.

Code Listing 4.1: Exiting the chroot, unmounting all partitions and rebooting

# exit
cdimage ~# cd
cdimage ~# umount /mnt/gentoo/boot /mnt/gentoo/dev /mnt/gentoo/proc /mnt/gentoo
cdimage ~# reboot

Of course, don't forget to remove the bootable CD, otherwise the CD will be booted again instead of your new Gentoo system.

Once rebooted in your Gentoo installation, finish up with Finalizing your Gentoo Installation.


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Page updated August 9, 2006

Summary: Several bootloaders exist. Each one of them has its own way of configuration. In this chapter we'll describe all possibilities for you and step you through the process of configuring a bootloader to your needs.

Sven Vermeulen
Author

Roy Marples
Author

Daniel Robbins
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Chris Houser
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Jerry Alexandratos
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Seemant Kulleen
Gentoo x86 Developer

Tavis Ormandy
Gentoo Alpha Developer

Jason Huebel
Gentoo AMD64 Developer

Guy Martin
Gentoo HPPA developer

Pieter Van den Abeele
Gentoo PPC developer

Joe Kallar
Gentoo SPARC developer

John P. Davis
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Pierre-Henri Jondot
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Eric Stockbridge
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Rajiv Manglani
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Stoyan Zhekov
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Jared Hudson
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Jack Morgan
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Grant Goodyear
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