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On Solaris on Sun hardware L1-A will drop you into Sun openboot. From there you can change firmware options, the boot device and reboot the box.

What is the equivalent, if there is one, for the various linux distros?

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updated per @theotherreceive – Jeff Leonard Jul 15 '09 at 19:07
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Wouldn't exactly call it a hack but if you press 'ESC' in Grub on Linux, then oress 'e' to edit and add the word 'single' to the linux line, the computer will boot in single user mode (without password).

From there you can change passwords, delete files, whatever.

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This isn't related to the operating system, but to the underlying hardware.

The sun sparc hardware uses openboot, which is what you're dropping in to.

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I thought linux distros had a bootstrap loader, which is implemented in software. – Jeff Leonard Jul 15 '09 at 19:09
openboot is firmware, the closest thing to it on x86 hardware is the BIOS – theotherreceive Jul 15 '09 at 19:30

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