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Old 09-20-2012, 03:52 PM   #1
Registered: Dec 2011
Location: Columbus, OH
Distribution: Slackware 13.37
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Question Boot Loader Question - Is it necessary?

I am currently installing Slackware 13.37. I come to a problem when it comes to installing LILO which is Slackware's default boot loader (NO GRUB). But my question is that, if you are only going to have just on distro on your hard drive and have absolutely no intention on dual booting MS-Windows or any other Linux Distros, is a boot loader still necessary? Can i just still boot Linux without one and go straight to the OS?

Old 09-20-2012, 05:25 PM   #2
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It is possible, if you hack direct booting (ie a built-in bootloader) into the kernel source so it works more-or-less like floppy booting in the old days. Or with EFI/UEFI
1.10. EFI boot support link
This release introduces an EFI boot stub that allows an x86 bzImage to be loaded and executed directly by EFI firmware. The bzImage appears to the firmware as an EFI application. Both BIOS and EFI boot loaders can still load and run the same bzImage, thereby allowing a single kernel image to work in any boot environment.
Still you will want to read this: UEFI Secure Boot: Big Hassle, Questionable Benefit

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Old 09-20-2012, 05:28 PM   #3
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I'm pretty sure linux needs a boot loader. At least on x86 systems, with just the standard BIOS I've worked with arm systems that didn't. The problem is that it needs to know where the kernel is located.
If you have a newer system with UEFI there may be a way to boot using that. It's still technically a boot loader though.
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:36 PM   #4
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Typical personal computer use BIOS to load first sector of boot hard drive. This is simple subroutine. It can do only that. Sectors are small. And also this sector store information about partition tables. Plainly, kernel would not fit into it. It need another program (GRUB, LILO) which can load kernel (or subsequent stages of boot loader) and do some more things, like recognize file system, search for configuration, mount raid partition, etc.

There are projects like coreboot, it will replace standard BIOS with more advanced version, which can optionally load Linux kernel without additional steps (if it fit on chip). Thus system load faster. It is difficul, because every motherboard need different threat. I have one compatible motherboard, but not tested this function yet.
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Old 09-20-2012, 09:01 PM   #5
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I don't even know if you could get a modern kernel to boot anymore except with maybe qemu.

Lilo used to be the only way to boot linux practically. There are some other loaders out there too from back in the day.

Anything you substitute would have to load before linux. Might get syslinux to work or any of many new loaders.

The guy who did BartsPE had a lot of loader stuff and maybe the pages on it are still online.

Some of this stuff is still true.

This is the modern linux kernels.

Last edited by jefro; 09-20-2012 at 09:04 PM.
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