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Building kernel without initramfs, questions.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
So I've ran into a new problem, an update created this KP and I can't use my new kernels. It gives me a KP about /init not being able to be ran. It's a really crazy thing to cause I'm using my 2.6.32 kernel right now. I also checked the initramfs of the 2.6.38 kernel and it has init, but whatever. So my question is, what do I have to do to run without an initramfs? Do I have to have the hardware modules I "need" loaded into the kernel? What exactly do I have to do, cause I want to see if I can do this so I can boot my kernels. =P
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post #2 of 13
Please update your rig details in your sig so we don't have to ask quite as many obvious questions like:

What Linux distribution are you running?

What were you trying to do when the problem occurred?

Hm, well let's begin there.
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post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
I've been running debian, lol It's what I've almost always ran. =P I'd rather try and build without an initramfs anyways, I've alway wanted to do so and this gives me a reason. But the problem occurred just as I said, after an update. I don't know all the files that got updated, it was like 200MB of updates. =P I'll update my sig rig to say debian.
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post #4 of 13
Stable, unstable, testing?

Anyway, in general, without an initramfs the kernel has to have the proper drivers compiled in it to mount the root filesystem and transfer control to (usually) /sbin/init. As long as such drivers are present, you're good to go. But you lose a LOT of flexibility without an initramfs since several pre-init things are done there, such as decrypting the root filesystem, loading other hardware drivers and some things I'm forgetting right now.

The real question is, why would you want to run without an initramfs? Whatever problem you're having (you were vague on THAT, too!) is probably not related to whether you're using one or not.
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post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
The problem is I get a KP that says:

Kernel panic - not syncing: No init found. Try passing init= option to kernel.
Pid: 1, comm: swapper Not tainted 2.6.38-rc3-debian
Call Trace:
[] panic+0xa1/0x1a0
[] init_post+0x82/0xc0
[] kernel_init+0x1d2/0x1d9
[last 3 lines cut off in pic from cam]

That's what happened after my recent update with anything but the 2.6.32 kernel. I'm not crazy worried, but re-building the initramfs didn't do anything and I don't exactly know why it's saying I can't run init. If I do single user mode I get something similar but it says I can't run /init and then stops.
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post #6 of 13
Bizarro. I would suggest rebuilding the initramfs though if you've already done that, then I would suggest you skip to this step. smile.gif
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post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yeah, that's why I wanted to just op out for the initramfs. I already tried building with the modules I thought I would need, but that didn't prove to be so effective. =( I keep getting the "unable to mount root FS" crap even though I had built EXT4 into the kernel.

[edit] gonna see if putting /boot on the / helps, dur

[edit2] Lame, looks like I'm stuck with 2.6.32 till it gets fixed.
Edited by mushroomboy - 2/28/11 at 12:18am
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post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by mushroomboy;12552518 
[edit2] Lame, looks like I'm stuck with 2.6.32 till it gets fixed.

Happens to the best of 'em.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well it's fixed now, don't know how lol but I booted up in 2.6.37 just now. Dang bleeding edge software. I had a scare when it happened, just glad the older kernel worked. =P

[edit] They must have changed something major because I had to re-build OSS for once, even though I've used the same version since 2.6.32 =P Interesting having to build a new oss package.
Edited by mushroomboy - 3/1/11 at 12:37pm
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post #10 of 13
So, nearly all kernels except those in specific applications are now modular because it allows much more flexibility. This also means that you need to have the initramfs because the kernel uses this as part of the boot process to load modules and such. Monolithic kernels are old as dirt and only really used in stuff like cell phones etc.. because they are so limited and require so much manual intervention for building in modules etc..

Your machine will also take much longer to boot with a monolithic kernel due to the fact that is going to be much larger than a modular kernel because it must always load every module thats compiled in. Not just a few that the OS needs to boot. IMO Just use what comes in debian. Its going to save you tons of time and questions.

Here's some more information on kernel types..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monolithic_kernel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modular_kernel

Side note - If you are that concerned with not using a stable kernel, download the source for the one having problems and fix it. Once fixed re-compile the kernel and configure your machine to use it. Oh and make sure you push the bug fix back up the chain so that others who have this issue can fix theirs also.
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