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U-Boot is a universal boot loader for embedded boards based on PowerPC, ARM, MIPS and several other processors, which can be installed in a boot ROM and used to initialize and test the hardware or to download and run OS and application code.

Sample features are:

  • serial console support
  • integrated shell alike setup interface
  • optional password protectection and timeout for acces to setup interface on boot
  • editable configuration space
  • downloads software trough tftp servers
  • flash routines for EEPROMS of misc technology including NANDs
  • runs test applications directly
  • boots Linux

Sample distributions that do use U-boot:

  • emlix

Web resources

The presentation at [1] gives an overview about history and main features.

A detailed manual can be found at [2].