Tonight I’ve been sitting for a few hours making myself acquainted with the process of compiling my own linux kernel for the first time! It’s one of those dates, like when you popped your cherry, that you’ll remember the rest of your life.. It was well-documented process (nice FAQ here), went smooth as a Michael Jackson no. 1 hit, until kernel panic lit up at me from the boot console.
I’m upgrading my 220.127.116.11 Zenwalk 5 linux kernel to 2.6.25 from kernel.org because the HIGHMEM kernel module did not allow for my 4GB of RAM to be used. You have to set it to allow for 64GB to use more than three point something MBs. This has been causing all sort of trouble, segfaults all over the place and many embarrassing moments saying: "But it doesn’t work quite yet because I haven’t compiled the kernel." Time to do something about it.
Turned out I wasn’t the only one panicking over the cherry pop. Kernelnewbie even has a dedicated post for it called DoesNotWork. The Holy Manual says: "It is best to build support for the root filesystems directly into the kernel rather than as a module." (src) My filesystem of choice is ext3 and in order to use that I would either have to follow the Holy Manual or make a new initrd file. But hard-core Linus Torvald lovers assured me that the best way, the good way, the righteous way would be to follow the Manual. This meant writing ‘CONFIG_EXT3_FS=y’ into the kernel config manually by hand so to speak.
I did that, removed the reference to initrd in GrUB’s menu.lst and got another panic attack. At this point I was starting to feel like Tony Soprano.
This time there was no init found. Great. I looked under the cupboard. I looked behind the sink. I looked in the general direction of kekepower. He told me to make a new one. Which I did, and edited the menu.lst again.. Worked for a little while until my disk simply wouldn’t show. No such device. The kernel persuaded me that I might want to fix it, but then it yelled at me for Attempting to kill init!
It’s half past midnight and I’ve got to eat something. Good night and good luck!