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The Design and Implementation of the FreeBSD® Operating System, Second Edition by George V. Neville-Neil, Robert N.M. Watson, Marshall Kirk McKusick

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Chapter 15. System Startup and Shutdown

Most of this book focuses on the FreeBSD kernel’s steady state: the invariants maintained during operation and the kernel services provided to local processes or, for network services, to remote systems. In this chapter, we describe how the kernel is bootstrapped and shut down. The details of the boot process vary significantly by hardware type and anticipated deployment but share a common structure involving the system firmware, its basic input-output system (BIOS), a variable number of stages of FreeBSD-provided boot loaders, the kernel boot, and finally userspace.

System operation begins, and often ends, with vendor-provided firmware that abstracts away low-level variations in the hardware environment. ...

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