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LILO Question

I use Slackware 3.5. A long time ago, I recall being able to type the word “single” at the LILO prompt. This would immediately drop me into the system as root. It was extremely useful when something wasn't working. Recently I had a need for it, and it didn't work.

Did it truly go away? If so, when and why? How can I put it back? Is there some way of specifying the runlevel from LILO? —Walt Stoneburner,

Try using linux single. If your default boot configuration in /etc/lilo.conf is not named linux, substitute the proper label.

Similarly, you can specify the runlevel from the boot prompt with linux N, where N is the runlevel number. You should be able to use an append= statement in lilo.conf to do this as well, although it is probably simpler just to edit the /etc/inittab file. —Bob Huack,

VSF Error Messages

I am using Red Hat 5.1. How do I correct a VSF error message? I recently compiled a new kernel from the newly released Red Hat 2.0.35 source tree.

I did a make dep; make clean; make zImage. Everything went fine during the compile phase. I ran LILO and set up my lilo.conf file to test my new kernel. Now, every time I boot, my system stops and displays:

VFS: Cannot open root device 16:01 Kernel panic:
VFS: Unable to mount root fs on 16:01

How do I resolve this problem? —Marlon,

The kernel tries to mount your root directory from /dev/hdc1 (16:01 is a hex number representing the /dev/hdc1 as major:minor number).

It looks as if you don't have a valid Linux partition on /dev/hdc1. You should add root=/dev/hda1 (or whatever your root partition is) to the LILO prompt or to the append= line in /etc/lilo.conf. The LILO-mini-HOWTO describes this in detail. —Alessandro Rubini,


I need a little help with hardware. Here is the scenario: I am a networking student at a local college. Besides learning about networking with NT, Windows 95/98 and Novell, I am also learning to speak Linux. I have Red Hat 5.0 and can install it without any problems. My problem is not with installing or running the system (so far), but rather it stems from hardware compatibility, as I would like to run (in different partitions, of course) NT, Windows 95 and Linux (and possibly Novell) on the same machine.

I have gone through the compatibility lists for both NT and Linux and found (from the hardware vendors I've contacted) that most, if not all, of the hardware listed in both the compatibility lists is outdated and can barely be obtained. I need NICs and video cards that are compatible with NT, Windows 95, Linux and Novell for the same machine.

Granted, I could not and would not venture to try to learn all the operating systems at the same time while hoping to maintain sanity, but I will be running a Windows NT server and Linux on one machine and Windows 95 and an NT Workstation on another as I venture to learn one system at a time and put some time into learning Linux in whatever spare time I have.

A contact for a Linux hardware vendor in my area (Miami, Florida) would be awesome. Any help with this will be greatly appreciated. —Tim Rodriguez,

Lots of NICs and video cards are compatible with both Linux and Windows. I do admit most recent hardware such as video cards may not be immediately supported by Linux (though they come with a Windows 95 driver), but I don't think you'll have to wait too long to see them working on Linux.

High-performance graphics cards such as ATI AGP are supported by XFree86, and a version of XSuSE is available for the latest G200 Matrox card. If you want to use up-to-date graphic adapters, you can consider Linux commercial servers such as XiGraphics ( which supports most high-performance adapters.

For Ethernet cards, you should check out —Pierre Ficheux,