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LILO configuration and usage

The structure of the LILO configuration file starts with the global directives

that are taken as the default values, unless overridden by a directive in the

image sub-section.

Let's check out the various options here.

The first option here is boot. This is the location where Lilo should be


'/dev/hda' puts LILO in the MBR. This is the option to select if you want to

use LILO as your boot manager.

If you want to use some other boot manager then you will have to write LILO to

the first sector of your root partition. This could also be true if you

already have another installation of Linux on your machine, which is what

you're using primarily.

This should point to the partition where your root resides. This is a global


vga is a common option that you see in most lilo configuration files.

Possible options here are 'normal' (80x25 text mode), 'extended' (80x50 text

mode) and 'ask' where you are prompted for the text mode.

read-only option if specified, mounts your root partition as read only.

This is recommended because it fsck checks require the file system to be read

only. In any case Linux will re-mount your root file system as read-write at

startup. This can be locally defined in an image section too.

prompt is another option that you should have in here. If not then LILO will

not bring up the LILO prompt at boot. To see the prompt, press the shift key.

This is a global directive.

default specifies the default boot image to boot. If this is not specified

then the first image in the configuration file is taken as the default.

timeout in tenths of a second is the time for which the prompt is displayed

before the default image is booted. By default the timeout is infinite.

append is one of the most useful parameters here. It allows you to pass

parameters to the kernel at boot without any intervention from you. This can

be a global setting or a per-image setting. Just enter the parameters that are

to be passed to the kernel within double-quotes. The advantage is that you

don't have to pass the parameters to Linux at every boot. Here using the

append statement, I am telling Linux to use the ide-scsi module

for /dev/hdc, which is my CD-Writer. If you have some troublesome hardware

that doesn't work you might want to provide Linux with the settings here.

LILO also allows you to pass these parameter right at the LILO prompt.