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Interaction between glibc and the kernel
Meanwhile I was rebuilding the new kernel. This time it booted successfully and the problem with libc also disappeared. This was a new libc (2.10.1 compared with 2.8) and for some reason it did not work reliably with the old kernel.
Could someone explain to me in simple terms why libc should misbehave when a different kernel is used? People change kernels all the time and it doesn't usually cause programs in userspace to crash."I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"