Why mkinitrd failes to create an image due to /lib/modules/2.4.20-28.7smp be missing

Short explanation and solution

This is due to Windows XP leaving its mark on the mbr (master boot record). It can be cleared with the following command from the installation shell that appears whenever something goes wrong.

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=1022k count=1000

Implementing this with LFFG

If you have 100s of nodes then running this dd command on every node is not pleasent and it is good to add it as part of the LCFG install procedure.

You will have to add

EXTRA(install.installmethods) zero
install.imethod_zero run /bin/dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=1024k count=1000

to the redhat-73-cfg.h file. You will have to take care to add this at the correct point. After loading scsi kernel modules if that is what you need to do and before doing any partitioning.

Long explanation and symptoms

The first one is the one that appears when the installation fails:

chroot /root mkinitrd -f /boot/initrd-2.4.20-28.7smp.img 2.4.20-28.7smp /lib/modules/2.4.20-28.7smp is not a directory.

This means that updaterpms failed before. If you go and look in the log file /var/obj/log/updaterpms you will notice that there are errors similar to this one:

[INFO] updaterpms: installing kernel-2.4.20-18.7
[WARNING] updaterpms: unpacking of archive failed on file /boot/System.map-2.4.20-28.7: cpio: open failed - Read-only file system (code 7603715)

which means that /root/boot is not writable. Using df in the shell you can see that /root/boot is 100% full and has the size of your disk which means that this is not the real problem. So the kernel installation fails and /root/lib/modules is not created. This all looks like corruption of your disk or of the rpms or of the rpm command line, but it's not. Looking few times at the installation screens you can catch the first error lines almost at the beginning:

File system panic
FAT error
file system has been set read-only

So the need of clearing the mbr from residual traces of windows with the dd command.

Last modified Sun 18 July 2004 . View page history
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