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Hi. I have been trying to boot a kernel I compiled (my first). My goal is to throw together my own Linux system, rather than just installing a standard distribution. ...
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  1. #1
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    kernel not finding root?


    Hi. I have been trying to boot a kernel I compiled (my first). My goal is to throw together my own Linux system, rather than just installing a standard distribution.

    At the moment, I am using Lilo. It boots the kernel. However, after decompressing, it outputs "Booting the kernel." Nothing more is ever said. There is just a blinking cursor below the text.

    After a couple of seconds, the hard drive activity light goes off.

    My lilo.conf file looks something like the following (I am going off memory):
    boot=/mnt/hda
    image=/mnt/hda1/bzImage
    label=Linux
    root=/dev/hda1
    read-only

    On hda1, I have init in /sbin. In /etc, I have two files: fstab and inittab.

    At the moment, there is only one line in each file.

    inittab:
    id:3:initdefault:

    fstab:
    /dev/hda1 / vfat auto,ro,sync,flush,dev,user,exec,noatime,nosuid 0 0

    Earlier, I also had inittab starting /bin/sh. However, since the kernel does not seem to be initiating init, I removed that line.

    Currently, I only have three directories: /boot, /etc, and /sbin. Could this be my problem? Am I missing any required files? Is something mis-configured?

    I feel like I am making progress. However, it is still not working, and I seem to have hit a wall, so to speak.

  2. #2
    Administrator jayd512's Avatar
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    I've never rolled my own distro in this fashion, but I'm pretty sure you'll need more than that.
    What about all of the other directories in a Linux system?
    /bin, /opt, /lib, /dev, etc.
    The you need all of the sub-directories and libraries.
    The Linux From Scratch documentation should be of some help here.
    Jay

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  3. #3
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    Well, since it seems to not be starting init, I thought more files and directories would not be of any help. That is, unless the kernel needs some of them before init.

    I was thinking I might need /dev (with hda1 within it). But needing /dev/hda1 to access /dev/hda1 is a circular problem. So, I have decided to exclude such.

    However, earlier, I did have a /dev directory. Though, it was always left empty.

    I am uncertain about using mknod.

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  5. #4
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    I think u shouldn't removed that line (/bin/sh) , since kernel could not find shell to execute and display the login prompt. It should be reading correctly all the /boot, init and inittab if u have not changed the source files.
    I believe u have all the minimum requirement partitions.
    It would be better if u create /home and /swap partition.

  6. #5
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    Okay, I think I have discovered what directories and files must exist for the kernel to get things going successfully.

    Assuming no special parameters are supplied to the kernel to override these defaults, you need to have:
    /dev/console
    /sbin/init
    /etc/inittab

    I am guessing console could be named whatever you want. I am guess it just needs to be a character device with a major number of 5 and a minor number of 1.

    Of course, more than these three files in these three directories are needed to actually be able to do much of anything. But for getting the system up and running in its most limited form, they seem to be all you need.

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