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you should read the documentation of apt-get. I know that some packagemanagers can install packages with an option like "other root" which means that the root of the directorytree where a package is to be installed is not /
If apt-get has such an option you can reinstall packages from the live-CD to your damaged system (without chrooting).
Hopefully someone how is experienced with Ubuntu or Debian reads this and can tell you if this would work.
The thing to remember is that, when you boot from a live CD, the "root" is that of the live CD and, pragmatically speaking, you don't need to change that. What you need to do, in order to get the system up-and-running again, is to manually re-create the necessary files ... or, simply, to repeat the installation. Installers are smart enough to recognize when there's already a system in place where they're installing.
I don't mean to sound condescending when I say, "this isn't complicated ... don't make it complicated."
I'm sorry but I don't really understand what you mean sundialsvcs. What is it that I should do from here, exactly ?
I assume that the main issue is due to the fact that the init file is not found. Can't I recreate it, and thus manage to boot from my hard drive ? From there, it should be much easier to reinstall whatever has been deleted in the bin directory, for example...
Yes I did, I said it in the very first post. I think it's the reason why there is a kernel panic and the os doesn't boot.
How can I check for sure if it's really missing or corrupted (where is it supposed to be, and what's supposed to be inside?), and how to repair or recreate it, in case you think it might help to solve my problem (I don't know, I'm not an expert, I'm just throwing out this idea but maybe it's not related at all) ?
Why don't you perform a new installation from the Live-CD? If you do this without deleting your old installation and without formatting the partition you should have your system repaired afterwards and the configurations in your user's homedirectory will still be there.
Nobody can tell you if your init is corrupted or what else is damaged.
But I would have to reinstall all my programs, wouldn't I?
This can take a very long time, between the time to download each of them, and compiling them if necessary. Plus I'd have to make a list of all my programs, etc. I'd really like to avoid coming to that.
Is there really no solution to repair a Unix system without reinstalling it ?
If the rm command is not random, I'm sure you can exactly tell what is damaged. I just did a rm -R because I wanted to delete a directory, while forgetting for a split second that the system that was mounted on it would be deleted too. If rm removes alphabetically or in a specific order, you should be able to know what's been deleted and what needs to be copied back into the system.