chos (Choose-OS)

Logo of chos

Table of contents:

  1. Download
  2. Contacts
  3. Links

The Artistic License

Choose-OS is a alternative, easy, fully configurable boot loader for Linux/PC with a boot menu.
It is a program which, when you boot your computer, allows you to select the operating system to boot.
Linux, DOS and other operating systems are supported.
It does the same stuff that LILO or OS/2 boot manager do (offering a simple boot menu at bootup).
Choose-OS has some nice features not found in other programs of this kind.

Look and Coolness:
 * You can choose the colors used for each image separately
 * You can position the menu and timer or even each image separately on screen
 * Hotkey can be specified for each image
 * And finally, you can have a background image (plain ascii text or screendump format)!

Other stuff:
 * Emergency bootsector - If there`s been a failure loading Choose-OS mapfile or 2nd stage loader, an emergency bootsector will be tried to load, if one specified
 * Initrd,bzImage,MBR rewrite, hda/hdb and fd0/fd1 swapping, etc.
 * Single-shot autoboot
 * dosmenukey -option.
 * Includes X interface to configure the boot screen and all parameters
Last stable code from 0.8x branch - 0.85 (in fact created after unstable 0.9)
Last beta code (0.9 branch) released by Tuomo: 21 August 1999
Tuomo decided to no longer maintain it: 14 March 2000
Don Mahurin uploaded to 17 January 2001
Arnold Shade decided to continue development (project take over from Don Mahurin): 31 January 2009
Versions till 0.9 (21 August 1999) are under copyright (c) of Tuomo Valkonen 1996-1999



    Choose-OS is a boot loader (boot manager) for Linux/x86. What the
    program does is let you choose the operating system to boot.


        - Complete rewrite
        - More configurable
        - Some options can now be given at boot time
        - Modular user interface support
        - User interfaces support sub-menus
        - More bloated than the old one :-)


    To build and install the program:

        cd sources
        joe  # (to change compilation options if needed)
        ./      # or: ./ && make depend && make
        make install    # (as root). 

        - If you have a previous installation of chos, it might
          be wise to 'cp /sbin/chos /sbin/chos.old' before running
          'make install'. It should not overwrite other chos stuff
          (modules are now located in /boot/chos-).

        - When recompiling chos, running 'make realclean' is a good
          thing to do before repeating the above steps

    To install and configure the loader:

        - Backing up any important data is *highly* recommended.

        - Create a configuration file (see the following section).

        - It might be wise to install chos on a FLOPPY for the first
          time to see if it is willing to boot at all and then, if it
          works, try to install it on a hd. When installing this way and
          you have been running a previous version of chos, have chos
          use mapfile other than /boot/

        - Run the installer: chos [--verbose] [other options].
          For a list of options, run: chos --help.

        - If everything was successfull, chos should be installed
          now. Good luck with the next boot.


        Many distributions seem to contain a non-working version of as86
        (0.4). This version  should work at least.
        (If you know an "official" site for the package, please let me know.
        I am not going to waste my holiday searching for it).


    See the files under docs/:

        configuration.txt       General configuration
        ui.txt                  General help on user interfaces
        ui-*.txt                Help on configuring user interfaces
        loader-*.txt            Help on options for loaders

    There is still much work to be done with the documentation
    but it is not on top of my priority list.

    For help on command line options, run:   chos --help



Version number Date Status Author Release short description
1.90 Between 17 June and 21 August 1999 Testing, obsolete Tuomo Valkonen This version is also known as 1.9-beta or chos-210899.
1.85 18 March 2000 Stable, obsolete Tuomo Valkonen You can also take a look at couple of Debian patches here and here.
1.84 15 October 1998 Stable, obsolete Tuomo Valkonen  
1.82 28 February 1998 Stable, obsolete Tuomo Valkonen You can also take a look at Debian patch file.
1.81 29 December 1997 Stable, obsolete Tuomo Valkonen You can also take a look at Debian patch file.

Releases till 1.9 have been created by Tuomo Valkonen. All above versions are maintained by Arnold Shade.
The changelog for versions 1.91 and above is available inside individual packages. However, the latest changelog is available here. For complete set of files available for download, look here.


I would appreciate any feedback from users of chos. I am mostly interested in bugs (crashes, hangings, etc.), but of course success stories are welcome as well. The recommended way to get support and contact me (Arnold Shade - current maintainer) is to use "Help and support" forum on sourceforge project web-site. However you can use e-mail addresses below to contact authors directly. There are no hypertext references in the e-mail addresses below due to spam bots protection:

Current maintainer of chos is Arnold Shade (what is a nickname due to several reasons being anonymous). Use it to refer chos 1.91 and above.

Special thanks to Don Mahurin who found chos and initially created chos project pages on SourceForge.

The original author of chos is Tuomo Valkonen. Use it to refer chos 1.9 and below:

Note: you need to replace " __dot__ " with "." and " __at__ " with "@" before using the addresses above.


Project related resources:

Old pages related to chos project:

Similar projects (other boot loaders):

Information on Linux boot-up process

Last updated: February 7, 2009

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