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Old 11-01-2003, 03:11 PM   #1
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Registered: Oct 2003
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Unhappy Custom Kernel / No INIT / initrd?

First timer, I'm building my first custom 2.4.22 kernel. I am able to initialize the file system but inevitably hang at the "Kernel Panic - Try passing INIT=" line.

I find that if I hit "c" at the GRUB menu and enter the following commands:

kernel /vmlinuz-2.4.22
initrd /initrd-2.4.22.img

then the boot will proceed (oddly, many modules do not load such as my NIC, and some odd USB/HID modules). But it DOES boot all the way to X!

I don't really understand the NEED for an initrd-x.x.x.img file. It was my understanding that that was just a container for modules necessary to allow Linux to find boot-critical code (such as SCSI) before being able to access the file system. I have a simple configuration, an IDE disk (/dev/hdb) and ext3.

My grub.conf:

title Red Hat Linux (2.4.22)
root (hd1,0)
kernel /vmlinuz-2.4.22 ro root=/dev/hdb1 hdd=ide-scsi
initrd /initrd-2.4.22.img
title Red Hat Linux (2.4.20-20.9)
root (hd1,0)
kernel /vmlinuz-2.4.20-20.9 ro root=LABEL=/ hdd=ide-scsi
initrd /initrd-2.4.20-20.9.img
title Windows XP
rootnoverify (hd0,0)
chainloader +1

My partition list:

Disk /dev/hda: 40.0 GB, 40020664320 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4865 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hda1 * 1 4864 39070048+ 7 HPFS/NTFS

Disk /dev/hdb: 20.4 GB, 20490559488 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 2491 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hdb1 * 1 13 104391 83 Linux
/dev/hdb2 14 2296 18338197+ 83 Linux
/dev/hdb3 2297 2491 1566337+ 82 Linux swap

What I don't understand:

1) Why can Linux 2.4.20-20.9 load just fine with a "root=LABEL=/", but 2.4.22 gets completely lost unless I specifiy "root=/dev/hdb1"?

2) If I'm doing this right, do I even need the initrd line? I don't need SCSI support.

3) I built a monolithic kernel. I didn't select any portion of the code to be modular. Could this be part of my problem?

4) How come Linux can find INIT just fine if I manually specify kernel & initrd via the GRUB console?

I searched and searched all over the forum and the net. This forum is extremely helpful. I just can't seem to get over this bump.

Thanks a lot,
Old 11-01-2003, 03:19 PM   #2
LQ Guru
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Blue Ridge Mountain
Distribution: Linux Mint 17, Debian 8
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Here are two threads where other people had the same problem with initrd.

Be prepared. Create a LifeBoat CD.

Steve Stites
Old 11-01-2003, 09:32 PM   #3
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Registered: Oct 2003
Posts: 4

Original Poster
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Thanks for the reply Steve. Turns out it was something simple (as usual). So for future search reference to hopeless newbies like myself:

I had root=/dev/hdb1 and I should have had root=/dev/hdb2.

Boots fine now. Just some minor issues with modules.


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