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Is your CD ROm connected by IDE or SCSI (trust me it makes a difference).
Also, make sure that your cd rom is really at /dev/hdc. You can Use YaST's hardward tools to find out where the CDROM actually resides.
I assume that the drive is connected to the 2nd controller master i.e hdc?
And I assume the drive has been working in the past and this is a recent problem? I would say that kudzu deleted the entry from your /etc/fstab file because it didn't detect the drive at bootup. It looks like its dead especially since dmesg reported problems.
OK we at least now its not a software problem. Again, I know its obvious but sometimes the obvious can bite!
One thing you can try I suppose is to unplug thje drive completely so that the next time you boot, you can run the otols that come with redhat to delete its entry in fstab. Then you plug it back in and run these tools agaion to see if redhat can automatically pick it up.
Also, you can try putting it on a different channel/location
first unplug the device and start the linux box at the time of booting kudzu hardware detection tool inform you to about unplugedd one if that perticluar cdrom is supported by ur linux redhat 9 if u get the message related to kudzu hardware detection tool select remove configuration and boot ur system normally after system is up shutdown it and plug the cdrom device and agarin restart ur linux box agarin kudzu will display u about ur new hardware i.e cd rom(if ur cdrom is supported hardware for redhat9). at this time select configure it will automatically detect your cdrom and configures it
at this time u can use ur cd rom by mounting it in the process what i have said in earlier u can use it.
otherwise ur cdrom drive is not compatable for redhat 9. what ur cdrom name and series