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·How does it work?
·Using SILO
·Using TILO
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·Code License

Using TILO

TILO, the Trivial Image LOader, is used for building a simple TFTP boot loader which embodies several kernel images for different Sun architectures and a ramdisk root image. The images are gzip-ped to minimize memory usage.

After starting the boot loader, the architecture is detected, the appropriate kernel is unpacked and then the booting procedure is launched.

Please note that maketilo is an internal command used by the tilo script. There is no need to use it directly.

TILO is available with the SILO package from

TILO Options

The general form to use TILO is:

tilo [-o output] <ELF kernel images> <root image>


  • <-o output>
    is the name of the output file to write the TILO image to. If not specified, it will be named tftpboot.img.

  • <ELF kernel images>
    is a list of either a single sun4cdm or sun4u image, or one of each, in ELF format.

  • <root image>
    is the initial ramdisk image to append to the kernel image. It could be compressed as well.

Building Images with TILO

There are basically three steps to build a boot image:

  1. Prepare a kernel image for each supported architecture in uncompressed ELF format. Currently TILO expects atleast one sun4u or sun4cdm kernel. You can only supply one of each kind. It will be possible to add Sun4 support in the future as well.
  2. Prepare a root image for the initial ramdisk. It can be compressed, or raw. TILO will compress it when needed.
  3. Run the "tilo" script with the following parameters:

    tilo [-o output] <ELF kernel images> <root image>

A boot image will be created which contains everything necessary to boot on each included architecture.


TILO has been written by Jan Vondrak and is now being maintained by Ben Collins.

Code License

TILO has been released under the same license as SILO, the GNU General Public License. See also Code License.

Last update: Sunday August 17, 2003 - pkrul at