Build Fast-Booting IoT Solutions with Ease



Slim Bootloader helps speed development with  optimizations for the latest Intel®-based IoT platforms.

With the huge growth in the Internet of Things (IoT), there are more smart devices than ever before. Companies are innovating new ways for us to interact, work, and live by using new technological solutions. And the software underlying embedded systems is what makes it all happen. But most software uses system bootloaders that are not originally designed with IoT use cases in mind, which present their own unique requirements.

Figure 1: Overview of Slim Bootloader. (Image: Intel® Corporation)

The Intel® Slim Bootloader is a new scalable firmware solution for IoT devices. Slim Bootloader brings simplicity to the IoT development process and is ideal for integrated industrial IoT solutions and Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS) with minimal firmware requirements. Slim Bootloader addresses the need for a streamlined, easy-to-implement bootloader for a variety of IoT use cases spanning various markets, including:

  • Industrial automation
  • Public sector
  • Digital security
  • Healthcare
  • Transportation

Slim Bootloader is ideal for IoT because of the following attributes:

  • Small footprint: Slim Bootloader has a low memory footprint optimized for small form factors.
  • Quick boot: Slim Bootloader is tailored for IoT usages and quick startup.
  • Simple configuration: Speed up deployment with the included binary configuration tool that avoids the need to modify source code or recompile the code.
  • Integrated, out-of-the-box use: With robust security and ready-to-use integrations, developers can download and start using Slim Bootloader from open source resources.
  • Permissive licensing: Because of Slim Bootloader’s BSD licensing structure, which is more permissive regarding proprietary contents, device manufacturers are free to innovate and differentiate at the bootloader level.

Figure 1 provides a high-level overview of Slim Bootloader. The Slim Bootloader consists of both the initialization code and a payload. The initialization code consists of the Intel® Firmware Support Package (Intel® FSP) as well as board-specific code. The initialization code includes the board and silicon initialization and determines resource allocation, General Purpose Input/Output (GPIO) assignments, Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) tables, etc.

The Payload in Figure 1 consists of any standard media drivers (eMMC, UFS, etc.), custom features, OS-specific loading protocols, and so forth. The Payload can be the Operating System (OS) loader, u-boot, a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) payload, or a custom payload.

The OS loader is a versatile Linux loader implementation that boots Linux, a hypervisor, Android, or ELF executables / PE executables, and supports the MultiBoot specification. The OS loader is also an optimized reference payload specifically developed for IoT use cases and is the default Slim Bootloader payload.

Slim Bootloader supports verified boot, measured boot, and secure firmware updates. The Firmware Update is a power fail-safe, fault tolerant, and secure firmware update tool that is also included in Slim Bootloader.

Benefits of Slim Bootloader
Slim Bootloader is designed to enable new experiences and customer-centric innovation for IoT with the following benefits:

  • Fast boot: Compared to previous bootloader solutions. Boot up of 420ms [1] on Apollo Lake.
  • Strong security: Features verified boot, measured boot and firmware update support.
  • Open source: BSD licensing allows proprietary customizations.
  • Ecosystem support: Enabled for customization and maintenance plus community contributions
  • Optimized for Intel® architecture: Intel® FSP integration.

Slim Bootloader is ready to use today. To learn more or download, please visit http://www.intel.com/SBL

Intel® technologies features and benefits depend on system configuration and may require enabled hardware, software, or service activation. Performance varies depending on system configuration. No product or component can be absolutely secure. Check with your system manufacturer or retailer or learn more at intel.com.


  1. Up to 420ms fast claim based on APL Leaf Hill REV D board running on Intel Atom™ Processor E3950 at 1.6GHz with HT enabled and Turbo enabled , LPDDR4 8GB, 64G eMMC 5.1. FSP version MR5 from github.com/IntelFsp/FSP.git, , revision a57c66616e78b471515a1e1862796bf61d3824d8. Compiler: Microsoft Visual Studio*, Measured from CPU Reset vector to OS entry point.
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