Chapter 1. Overview

The Simtec Electronics Advanced Boot Load Environment (ABLE) is a portable modular boot loader for use in applications where an Operating System (OS) must be retrieved and started. ABLE provides extended functionality providing modules for a command line, video consoles, serial consoles, network booting and numerous other facilities.

ABLE is a powerful tool and provides a flexible environment useful for both the development and deployment of systems. ABLE is a boot loader, not an Operating System, this distinction can sometimes lead to misunderstandings about the capabilities provided by ABLE. A boot loader in this context is a self contained program which retrieves and starts execution of an Operating System it does not execute user programs itself (all the CLI commands are built in) and does not provide services to an Operating System once started (PC BIOS perform this role).

The modular nature of ABLE allows the use of the same building blocks for every supported platform. The integration and omission of various modules allow for specific driver sets depending on the peripherals of a platform. The flexibility of this approach allows for a common familiar environment across all supported platforms while still supporting a complete feature set.

This user guide covers the operation of ABLE from its command line interface (CLI). For details on the programming interface and more advanced topics please see the ABLE Reference manual or contact Simtec Electronics support directly.

ABLE is typically provided in any board directly manufactured by Simtec Electronics. Customer applications which are not manufactured by Simtec Electronics may still use ABLE once a suitable binary distribution licence is obtained.