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Old 10-17-2003, 07:48 AM   #1
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: South London
Distribution: Gentoo.
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New Kernel/Initrd problems

Am using SuSE on my laptop, and need/want to put in a new Kernel. This is where all the fun started - I have done this hundreds of times with other distros without a hitch.

Kernel seems to compile fine (though I am unsure about a couple of things:
1. it reports back that the 'root device is (3,2)'.
2. Make install also bombs out with 'can't find /sbin/lilo' - I'm using grub. So I copy vmlinuz manually to /boot/vimlinuz-2.4.22.

However, I think it is the initrd that is causing the problem:

lappy:> mk_initrd -i initrd-2.4.22 -k vmlinuz-2.4.22

using "/dev/hda2" as root device (mounted on "/" as "ext3")

creating initrd "/boot/initrd-2.4.22" for kernel "/boot/vmlinuz-2.4.22"
(version 2.4.22)
- insmod jbd (kernel/fs/jbd/jbd.o)
- insmod ext3 (kernel/fs/ext3/ext3.o)
- splash picture (1024x768)


All very well you might think, but when I boot the new kernel, it panics...:
VFS: Unable to mount root fs on 03:00

Things I've tried:
1. using ext3 fs instead of default reiserfs fs.
2. supporting the fs with modules as opposed to integrated into kernel
3. using SuSE's own kernel source

Needless to say, this is getting on my nerves....
Old 10-17-2003, 06:55 PM   #2
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Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Mineral, Virginia
Distribution: Debian 8
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initrd problems

When the kernel first loads it needs to have all of the modules available which are needed to access your / partition. If it can access / then it can load any other modules as needed from /lib/modules/2.4.22.

There are two ways to make sure that the necessary modules are available. The first is to make every essential module y in xconfig ( and throw out initrd).

The second way is to use initrd. SuSE has to provide every module that anyone might need in their kernel. If SuSE made them all y then the kernel would be way too big. So SuSE makes all of these modules m and then builds an initrd at install time which loads the necessary modules. Since your kernel compile is different than SuSE's, their initrd will probably not work with your new kernel. You have to build your own initrd control file with the modules to load (its name escapes me, see man initrd).

Since you know exactly what hardware you are using then initrd is an unnecessary complication. I suggest that you not build an initrd. Take initrd out of grub for your new kernel, but not the old. Then in xconfig set everything needed to access / to y. You may also have to make framebuffers, video modules, and keyboard modules y also.

Be prepared. Create a LifeBoat CD.

Steve Stites
Old 10-18-2003, 11:26 AM   #3
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Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Australia
Distribution: IceWM on Debian
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if boot partition is hda3, ( I use MDK) grub wants (hd0,2)

for mdk it would then be

root (hd0,2) act as chroot command for grub (setting relative path)
setup (hd0) get into mbr
kernel /boot/vmlinuz.......assuming such a file exists or use -2.4.22
initrd /boot/initrd.img
Old 10-19-2003, 06:00 AM   #4
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: South London
Distribution: Gentoo.
Posts: 297

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 30 it working and undertand things a bit better now.



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