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I'm trying to boot from a USB stick and I'm only half way through.
I've put lilo (22.5.9), it loads the kernel, initrd and loads the modules I've put in initrd (uhci, usbcore, usb-storage, ide-scsi) but ends with this error:
kmod: failed to exec /sbin/modprobe -s -k block-major-8, errno=2
VFS: Cannot open root device "801" or 08:01
Please append correct "root=" boot option
In lilo.conf I have the following:
boot = /dev/sda
image = /boot/vmlinuz
root = /dev/sda1
label = Linux
Yeah, booting from USB is not easily done. The usb modules run asynchronously, so booting proceeds without it having detected the usb disk.
Essentially, the kernel loads the usb modules and probes for usb devices in the background. This generally takes from 3-10 seconds, depending on chipsets, CPU speed, etc.
Unfortunately, within (generally) 1-2 seconds of loading those usb modules, you're trying to mount the partition. Because probing for USB devices has not finished, it ends up being unable to find/mount the partition.
Long story short, you either need to hack the kernel usb modules, kernel mounting code, or modify your initrd to delay mounting of the root device.