Solaris 10 10/09 Installation Guide: Planning for Installation and Upgrade

x86: GRUB Based Booting (Overview)

GRUB, the open source boot loader, is the default boot loader in the Solaris OS.

The boot loader is the first software program that runs after you power on a system. After you power on an x86 based system, the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) initializes the CPU, the memory, and the platform hardware. When the initialization phase has completed, the BIOS loads the boot loader from the configured boot device, and then transfers control of the system to the boot loader.

GRUB is an open source boot loader with a simple menu interface that includes boot options that are predefined in a configuration file. GRUB also has a command-line interface that is accessible from the menu interface for performing various boot commands. In the Solaris OS, the GRUB implementation is compliant with the Multiboot Specification. The specification is described in detail at

Because the Solaris kernel is fully compliant with the Multiboot Specification, you can boot a Solaris x86 based system by using GRUB. With GRUB, you can more easily boot and install various operating systems.

A key benefit of GRUB is that it is intuitive about file systems and kernel executable formats, which enables you to load an operating system without recording the physical position of the kernel on the disk. With GRUB based booting, the kernel is loaded by specifying its file name, and the drive, and the partition where the kernel resides. GRUB based booting replaces the Solaris Device Configuration Assistant and simplifies the booting process with a GRUB menu.