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LOADER.CONF(5)            FreeBSD 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
                   instances 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 loaded.

     *_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 sys-
                     tems 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
                     module, making it possible to display a bmp image on the
                     screen while booting.

                     (``NO'') If set to ``YES'', will load the splash screen
                     module, 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 dis-

                     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 ``none''.

     /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 file loader.conf first appeared in FreeBSD 3.2.

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

FreeBSD 6.2                    November 15, 2005                   FreeBSD 6.2


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