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Old 06-19-2008, 11:49 AM   #1
Egon Andersen
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Registered: Jun 2008
Distribution: Fedora Core 3, 4 & 5
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exec of init (/sbin/init) failed!!!: 13


I'm new to this forum, but found it while searching for the problem mentioned in the subject.
Unfortunately I didn't find the full solution, so I have to ask and hope someone can help me out.

Last night my Linux machine stopped.
When I restarted the machine (running Fedora Core 4) I got the following error messages:

exec of init (/sbin/init) failed!!!: 13
Kernel panic - not syncing: Attempted to kill init!

I've inserted the FC4 cd and started in linux rescue mode and can access the harddrive and see (/mnt/sysimage)/sbin/init and
(/mnt/sysimage)/etc/inittab etc.
I've tried to change initdefault in inittab from 5 to 1 to see if the machine could boot in single user mode, but without any luck.

Do someone have the answer to how I get the system up and running again?

During my attempt to do things mentioned in other threads, I also tried to run:
chroot /mnt/sysimage
as proposed by the guide when entering the rescue mode, but I got the following error message:
"chroot: cannot execute /bin/sh: Permission denied"
If I try to give the command /bin/sh manually, I don't get any error message.

Looking forward to hear some hints and solutions

Best regards
Egon Andersen
Old 06-20-2008, 01:15 PM   #2
CS-Project Lead Developer
Registered: May 2008
Location: Bismarck, ND
Distribution: OpenSuSE 10.3
Posts: 14

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Single mode

Jump into single user mode and see if there's anything there. Reboot the system, and when there's a prompt to pass arguments, type "1" and hit enter (that's how it works on RHEL and OpenSuSE, at least). If the normal partitions aren't mounted, you can mount them manually, and see what's going on. I would guess, however, that this is just a symptom of a failing hard drive.

Otherwise, give us more information about the system:
  • How long since it was last rebooted
  • Any changes made since last reboot
  • Boot loader changes (i.e. switching from LILO to GRUB or vice-versa)
  • Why you needed to reboot
Old 06-20-2008, 03:41 PM   #3
Egon Andersen
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Registered: Jun 2008
Distribution: Fedora Core 3, 4 & 5
Posts: 2

Original Poster
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I've tried to enter single user mode simply by changing the initdefault to 1 and rebooted as already written in the original posting.
That didn't help, as it is /sbin/init that fails, which is the parent of all other processes.

I believe it is 1-2 weeks since the system was rebooted last time. I don't reboot very often.

I haven't made any changes related to any start up. I've changed a little related to apache configuration several weeks ago, but that hasn't really anything to do with /sbin/init as far as I can tell. I believe the system has been restarted after that anyway.

Haven't changed anything related to the boot loader (GRUB)

I didn't have any need to reboot. The machine was just rebooting on its own during the night and that apparently failed. It could have been caused by some power drop - I don't know the reason why it tried to reboot. It wasn't initialized by anyone.

You guess about hard disc failure. That was also one of my guesses, but I've run badblocks with no errors. I've run fsck on all partitions - no problems. I can access all partitions when I start the machine in linux rescue mode. I've also run a 2 hour check of ram - no problems either.

It seems really strange to me that /sbin/init just fails.
Old 06-26-2008, 05:20 AM   #4
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Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Germany
Distribution: openSuSE 42.1_64+Tumbleweed-KDE, Mint 17.3
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/sbin/init is a bash script AFAIR. You can put bash in the debug modus (something like invoking bash with the "-x" option). Perhaps that will produce some more information where /sbin/init fails. It is calling a lot of other scripts too, after all.


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