OK, to know what I am trying to do, here is a history of my pursuits:
I was trying to install a Linux distribution on my Compact Flash card to use on my tablet pc. It had to be able to install programs on as I need to put on the touchscreen and wifi drivers. So, I came across ThinStation, which besides being made to control other computers, can be used as an actual distribution.
ThinStation didn't work out originally as when I found a tutorial with a complete system, it froze when trying to configure the network card (the only network card is the wireless PCMCIA card). During this install, I downloaded SysLinux and used the SysLinux/mtools/syslinux binary to install syslinux to /dev/sda (my CF card). I was not supposed to compile Syslinux, so I didn't.
Since ThinStation didn't work, I replaced the kernel (vmlinuz) with my current 12.1 huge smp kernel and deleted the initrd as well as the line concerning it in the syslinux.conf file. This booted the kernel VERY fast.. until I got the message:
Kernel panic - not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on unknown-block (8, 2)
Now, I figured it had something to do with the fact the partition had to be formatted to vfat, and since I am now a Slacker at heart, I decided to reformat to ext3 and do it again. The problem is, I think the binary in SysLinux/mtools is only for vfat partitions.
So, essentially, how do I get Grub, Lilo, or SysLinux to install on /dev/sda and configure it to boot? As well as, I need a bash shell and dhcp so I can download the programs I need. I don't know if its possible to only install a kernel, bash, and dhcpcd as I have never really gotten that "deep" before, but I would certainly appreciate any help I am offered.