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Hi. I'm attempting to install Ubuntu 5.10 on a Dell Dimension 4500. The machine must be cursed or something, because every time I attempt to start the installation, one of the following things happens:
kernel init simply locks up at random points and refuses to do anything
[ 66.448230] <0>Kernel panic - not syncing: Attempted to kill init!
Unable to mount rootfs on (0,0)
installer starts up and freezes immediately after selecting keyboard layout
installer starts up and freezes while attempting to detect CD-ROM
installer starts up and freezes while attempting to detect CD-ROM, just this time at 77% instead of 34%
I must have booted the system about 40 times trying to get the damn thing to work. So eventually I gave up on Ubuntu and tried to install Slackware (I have a set of discs for that distro too).
That one got a little farther. I was able to run fdisk and start setting up the partition table. But then it randomly, for no reason, kicks me out and says... yeah, you guessed it:
Kernel panic - attempted to kill init!
ERGHHHHHHH! I'm about ready to attempt to kill this accursed machine!
Any suggestions? What in Linus' name is wrong with it?
Definitely sounds like hardware. A thorough diagnostic of both memory and the hard drive surfaces would be a minimum. Also check the power-in: I've seen computers do indescribable things when there were too many photocpiers on the same circuit.
The common-thread that seems to run through all of these messages is the disk I/O subsystem. (No kidding,) are the cables firmly seated? Don't overlook the fact that plug-in disk drive controllers are not only very cheap, but they often perform considerably better than what's on the motherboard.
"Attempting to kill init" actually means that the init process died, which it is not allowed to do. But this is obviously not the true problem; merely a consequence.
Concerning the cables, if you do find that it seems to be disk I/O, try swapping out the IDE cable if you are running PATA. I cannot count how many times I have run into bad IDE cables, or had IDE cables go bad on me over time. Yes, cables do go bad out of the blue like that.