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On a PC the motherboard's BIOS together with the SCSI BIOS provided by most SCSI host adapters takes care of the problem of loading the boot loader's image from a SCSI disk into memory and executing it. This may require some settings to be changed in the motherboard's BIOS. When more than one SCSI adapter is involved, the SCSI BIOS settings may need to change to indicate which one contains the disk with the boot image. The boot image make also come from an ATA (IDE) disk, a bootable CD-ROM or a floppy.
While LILO is the most common boot loader in use with Linux today, other boot loaders such as "grub" [see www.gnu.org/software/grub] should be considered if the root partition is a reiserfs or ext3 partition. An excellent paper on lilo and the Linux bootup sequence can be found here.
Some boot parameters related to the SCSI subsystem:
The "root=" argument may also be a hex number. For example, if the root partition is on /dev/sda3 then "root=803" is appropriate. The last two digits are the minor device number discussed in an earlier section.
The default argument to the "init" parameter is /sbin/init (see man (8) init). If files such as /etc/fstab have incorrect entries, it may be useful to drop directly into a shell with "init=/bin/bash". However if shared libraries files or their paths are inappropriate this may also fail. That leaves "init=/sbin/sash" which is a statically linked shell with many useful commands (for repairing a system) built in (see man (8) sash).
When Linux fails to boot after reporting a message like:
Lilo's configuration file /etc/lilo.conf can take the "root=" option in two ways. The normal way is a line like: 'root=/dev/sda2'. In this case /dev/sda2 is converted into major and minor numbers based on the state of the system when the lilo command is executed. This can be a nuisance, especially if hardware is going to be re-arranged. The other way is a line of the form: 'append="root=/dev/sda2"' In this case the /dev/sda2 is passed through to the kernel the next time it is started. This is the same as giving the "root=/dev/sda2" string at the kernel boot time prompt. It is interpreted by the kernel at startup (once the HBAs and their attached devices have been recognized) and thus is more flexible.