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:
- DENX ELDX
The presentation at  gives an overview about history and main features.
A detailed manual can be found at .