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SubjectKernel hang right before init on some i586 (bug report)

Yesterday I encountered this bug, and after trying everything, thought
I'd let you know. I also googled a lot, and there is no known solution.
So now I tell my findings to the kernel developers.

On some i586 comps linux kernel hangs right after displaying "freeing unused
kernel memory:". Here it's supposed to start init, but init never gets started.
On one site someone added debug statements to kernel's init.c and made /sbin/init a shell
script echoing text. Guess what? kernel debug lines printed, that echo did not.

I've made a two-floppy linux system, it boots on every other comp but my old laptop.
After that kernel hang, I recompiled a few times, tried, and with dynticks. Each had the bug. I also booted with every bootcode
listed in kernel-parameters.txt as "BUGS=x86-32", and it still hung at that point.
This makes me believe there is no known solution.

Common points:

- always happens at some i586 systems. Mostly laptops, some desktops
- always hangs at the same point
- always prints no errors, and is not a total hang; boot messages can be scrolled
and ctrl-alt-del works
- has happened with both 2.4 and 2.6 series. No reports on 2.2 found on google..
- may be a bug in gcc, kernel or both
- they were mostly built on i686's, but not always
- the kernels were always configured for pentium-classic or lower. So they Should run..

One guy who also had this issue pressed sysrq-t at this bug and got 8 screenfuls of debug output.

From many hundred hits on google I found it hangs at execve() call for init.
I'm no programmer, but I think it may be gcc wrongly compiling that to need i686 code,
or a bug in kernel itself. But this doesn't affect all i586s. So go figure..

Here's also a long discussion about this bug:

My laptop is Toshiba Satellite 200cds. Pentium-classic with F00F bug and 40mb ram.

I hope I could help. Since I have the hardware where this bug occurs, I can test any patch you send me.
The list is very busy, so I haven't subscribed, so please CC me.


PS: Linux rules!

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