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LOADER.CONF(5)		    BSD	File Formats Manual		LOADER.CONF(5)

     loader.conf -- system bootstrap configuration information

     The file loader.conf contains descriptive information on bootstrapping
     the system.  Through it you can specify the kernel	to be booted, parame-
     ters to be	passed to it, and additional modules to	be loaded; and gener-
     ally set all variables described in loader(8).

     The file /boot/loader.rc must contain the following two lines for
     loader.conf to be automatically processed:

	   include /boot/loader.4th

     If	no /boot/loader.rc exists at installworld time,	one with the above
     lines will	be installed.

     Though loader.conf's format was defined explicitly	to resemble
     rc.conf(5), and can be sourced by sh(1), some settings are	treated	in a
     special fashion.  Also, the behavior of some settings is defined by the
     setting's suffix; the prefix identifies which module the setting con-

     The general parsing rules are:

     o	 Spaces	and empty lines	are ignored.

     o	 A # sign will mark the	remainder of the line as a comment.

     o	 Only one setting can be present on each line.

     All settings have the following format:


     Unless it belongs to one of the classes of	settings that receive special
     treatment,	a setting will set the value of	a loader(8) environment	vari-
     able.  The	settings that receive special treatment	are listed below.
     Settings beginning	with "*" below define the modules to be	loaded and may
     have any prefix; the prefix identifies a module.  All such	settings shar-
     ing a common prefix refer to the same module.

     exec	   Immediately executes	a loader(8) command.  This type	of
		   setting cannot be processed by programs other than
		   loader(8), so its use should	be avoided.  Multiple in-
		   stances of it will be processed independently.

		   Defines additional configuration files to be	processed
		   right after the present file.

     kernel	   Name	of the kernel to be loaded.  If	no kernel name is set,
		   no additional modules will be loaded.

		   Flags to be passed to the kernel.

     password	   Provides a password to be required by check-password	before
		   execution is	allowed	to continue.

		   If set to "YES", module names will be displayed as they are

     *_load	   If set to "YES", that module	will be	loaded.	 If no name is
		   defined (see	below),	the module's name is taken to be the
		   same	as the prefix.

     *_name	   Defines the name of the module.

     *_type	   Defines the module's	type.  If none is given, it defaults
		   to a	kld module.

     *_flags	   Flags and parameters	to be passed to	the module.

     *_before	   Commands to be executed before the module is	loaded.	 Use
		   of this setting should be avoided.

     *_after	   Commands to be executed after the module is loaded.	Use of
		   this	setting	should be avoided.

     *_error	   Commands to be executed if the loading of a module fails.
		   Except for the special value	"abort", which aborts the
		   bootstrap process, use of this setting should be avoided.

     WARNING: developers should	never use these	suffixes for any kernel	envi-
     ronment variables (tunables) or conflicts will result.

     Most of loader.conf's default settings can	be ignored.  The few of	them
     which are important or useful are:

		     ("NO") If set to "YES", a bitmap will be loaded to	be
		     displayed on screen while booting.

		     ("/boot/splash.bmp") Name of the bitmap to	be loaded.
		     Any other name can	be used.

		     ("9600" or	the value of the BOOT_COMCONSOLE_SPEED vari-
		     able when loader(8) was compiled).	 Sets the speed	of the
		     serial console.  If the previous boot loader stage	speci-
		     fied that a serial	console	is in use then the default
		     speed is determined from the current serial port speed

	   console   ("vidconsole") "comconsole" selects serial	console,
		     "vidconsole" selects the video console, and "nullconsole"
		     selects a mute console (useful for	systems	with neither a
		     video console nor a serial	port).

	   kernel    ("/boot/kernel/kernel")

		     ("/boot/loader.conf /boot/loader.conf.local")

		     ("NO") If set to "YES", will load the splash screen mod-
		     ule, making it possible to	display	a bmp image on the
		     screen while booting.

		     ("NO") If set to "YES", will load the splash screen mod-
		     ule, making it possible to	display	a pcx image on the
		     screen while booting.

		     ("NO") If set to "YES", the vesa module will be loaded,
		     enabling bitmaps above VGA	resolution to be displayed.

		     If	set to "YES", the beastie boot menu will be skipped.

	   loader_logo ("fbsdbw")
		     Selects a desired logo in the beastie boot	menu.  Possi-
		     ble values	are: "fbsdbw", "beastiebw", "beastie", and

     /boot/defaults/loader.conf	 default settings -- do	not change this	file.
     /boot/loader.4th		 defines the commands used by loader to	read
				 and process loader.conf.
     /boot/loader.conf		 user defined settings.
     /boot/loader.conf.local	 machine-specific settings for sites with a
				 common	loader.conf.
     /boot/loader.rc		 contains the instructions to automatically
				 process loader.conf.

     boot(8), loader(8), loader.4th(8)

     The loader(8) stops reading loader.conf when it encounters	a syntax er-
     ror, so any options which are vital for booting a particular system (i.e.
     "hw.ata.ata_dma=0") should	precede	any experimental additions to

     The file loader.conf first	appeared in FreeBSD 3.2.

     This manual page was written by Daniel C. Sobral <>.

BSD			       January 16, 2008				   BSD


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