I'm having the exact same issue as yours :
A minor incident, (progress bar not working anymore in bootsplash) led me to some awkward manipulations : I first wanted to reinstall all what goes along with bootsplash, and in particular sysv-rc-bootsplash. But since this package provides irreversibled patch on rc, I thought, well, lets reinstall this as well.... plus the dependencies.
Anyway, I ended up removing, to then reinstall, sysv-rc, sysvinit, modutils, sysv-rc, and sysv-rc-bootsplash (I think this last one is still on thought...). And I should have not messed with modutils, because now.... my debian doesn't boot anymore!!! I get this:
Target filesystem doesn't have /sbin/init
BusyBox v1.13 (Debian 1:1.1.3-3) Built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.
/bin/sh: can't access tty; job control turned off
So, after I tryed many ways to fix this up, nx5000 led me to your post. I'm following what's previously said in this post.
Try booting with a live CD like Knoppix once you have booted into the live CD mount your / partition and download the proper versions of modutils, sysv-rc and sysvinit to the / partition you have mounted. Now change to the mounted / and use dpkg-deb --extract on each of the files downloaded. Hopefully when you reboot it will enable you to start the system if it does then use dpkg -i --force-overwrite again on each of the files to have the system know that you have them installed.
I'm now seaking urls where I could get the needed packages. I found ftp://ftp.cistron.nl/pub/people/miquels/sysvinit/
, and ftp://ftp.ocs.com.au/pub/modutils/
, but none for sysv-rc. Where did you get your sources ? Are there precise packages I should get for my debian Etch ?