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Mastering Embedded Linux Programming by Chris Simmonds

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Creating a boot ramdisk

A Linux boot ramdisk, strictly speaking, an initial RAM filesystem or initramfs, is a compressed cpio archive. cpio is an old Unix archive format, similar to TAR and ZIP but easier to decode and so requiring less code in the kernel. You need to configure your kernel with CONFIG_BLK_DEV_INITRD to support initramfs.

In fact, there are three different ways to create a boot ramdisk: as a standalone cpio archive, as a cpio archive embedded in the kernel image, and as a device table which the kernel build system processes as part of the build. The first option gives the most flexibility because we can mix and match kernels and ramdisks to our hearts content. However, it means that you have two files to deal with instead of one ...

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