Sounds like you have an APM problem (helpful :-)). To disable APM, use grub to pass apm=n as a kernel parameter.
You can do this either by editing your /etc/grub.conf file, or by operating the grub console manually at boot time (press esc at the menu). For example,
kernel /vmlinuz-2.4.18-4 apm=n
Alternatively, I could be barking up the tree, and the thing really causing the program could be whatever comes after
the APM initialization, and it isn't outputting anything before locking hard. To find what that is, we'll need another RH8 user to look at their dmesg output and tell us what comes after the apm line:
dmesg | grep -A 5 apm