Well, I finally got it to work. Just posting one of the possible solutions in case someone encounters the same problem and finds this thread: I've accomplished it in a similar way as you described here, Jim.
I copied the original .config coming with the debian kernel to my kernel source directory (just to make sure something wouldn't be missing once again):
cp /boot/config-2.6.22-2-686 /usr/src/linux/.config
then cleaned all the stuff I had compiled before, made a slight modification in the configuration (added pNFS support), recompiled and installed the kernel+modules:
make clean && make menuconfig && make && make install && make modules_install
and finally made init ramdisk (my new kernel was 2.6.33-rc6 with pNFS patch, ie. 2.6.33-rc6-pnfs):
mkinitramfs -o /boot/initrd.img-2.6.33-rc6-pnfs 2.6.33-rc6-pnfs
added initramdisk file path to my GRUB config (menu.lst) so the first boot option looked like that:
title Debian GNU/Linux, kernel 2.6.33-rc6-pnfs
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.33-rc6-pnfs root=/dev/hda1 ro
and successfully rebooted.
However, as I've been adviced (just only too late
), my problem was probably caused by missing kernel config options - there were two possible ways to go:
1. The way of "old" IDE drivers (probably not a problem, but I was scared by the word "deprecated"
<*> ATA/ATAPI/MFM/RLL support[*] ATA disk support
<*> generic/default IDE chipset support
<*> Generic PCI IDE Chipset Support
<*> Intel PIIX/ICH chipsets support
which should result in root device being /dev/hda
2. The way of new PATA/SCSI (not sure if it's a totally good definition):
-*- SCSI device support
<*> SCSI disk support
<*> Serial ATA (prod) and Parallel ATA (experimental) drivers
=>[*] ATA SFF support
<*> Intel ESB, ICH, PIIX3, PIIX4 PATA/SATA support
which should result in root device being /dev/sda.
I haven't tried the two possible solutions mentioned above, but it looks like it should work without problems. Hope that will be helpful to someone facing similar problems in the future.