Petitboot: Four years of Linux as a Bootloader


From humble origins as a bootloader for the Playstation 3 to being loaded on every OpenPOWER server, it has been a big four years for Petitboot. First debuting on IBM's POWER8 S812L server in 2014 Petitboot is now the primary bootloader for every OpenPOWER machine, from Raptor Engineering's "TALOS II"
workstation to IBM's AC922 and Supermicro's "Boston" servers which power the Summit and Sierra supercomputers which took out 1st and 3rd place in the Top500 in June.

Petitboot uses kexec as its booting mechanism meaning that while it is the primary bootloader on OpenPOWER machines, its flexibility means it is just as relevant for x86 and ARM machines and has even recently found adoption outside of the POWER architecture.

In this talk, we will cover the Petitboot bootloader; what it is, how it works, the positives and the challenges of delivering an open source bootloader, how it fits in with the current bootloader ecosystem, and where we see Petitboot going in the future.