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kernel 2.6.15 for 686 can't mount root fs

I've tried to submit this bug report using "reportbug" twice, but I have a feeling it didn't go through since I didn't get a confirmation. But I'm hoping my report will help someone solve the "IDE mess", so here goes...

Package:  kernel-image-2.6.15-686
(related packages:  initramfs-tools)

Severity:  serious to critical

Hardware:  Compaq Armada M700 laptop
0000:00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation 440BX/ZX/DX - 82443BX/ZX/DX Host bridge (rev 03) 0000:00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 440BX/ZX/DX - 82443BX/ZX/DX AGP bridge (rev 03)
0000:00:04.0 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI1450 (rev 03)
0000:00:04.1 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI1450 (rev 03)
0000:00:07.0 Bridge: Intel Corporation 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 ISA (rev 02)
0000:00:07.1 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 IDE (rev 01) 0000:00:07.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 USB (rev 01)
0000:00:07.3 Bridge: Intel Corporation 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 ACPI (rev 03)
0000:00:08.0 Multimedia audio controller: ESS Technology ES1978 Maestro 2E (rev 10) 0000:00:09.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82557/8/9 [Ethernet Pro 100] (rev 09)
0000:00:09.1 Serial controller: Agere Systems LT WinModem
0000:01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Rage Mobility P/M AGP 2x (rev 64)

Whenever I install kernel-image-2.6.15-686 (also with -486), the kernel will not boot. My "old" kernel (2.6.12) still works, until I either install splashy or reinstall that kernel (2.6.12). (So I suspect it has something to do with initramfs-tools.) Also, this problem is not apparent on my desktop, so it's hardware related.

It seems to not be able to find the gzip module on startup. I wrote down the errors since all I get is BusyBox when I boot:

... some hardware detection stuff here ...
Begin:  Mounting root filesystem ...
Begin:  Running /scripts/local-top ...
Begin:  Running /scripts/local-premount
Attempting manual resume
FATAL:  Module gzip not found
mount:  Mounting /dev/hda3 on /root failed:  No such device

Afterwards I'm able to mount my root fs by hand (mount -t ext3), use chroot, and run the init.d scripts to get things running at least to a certain point. However, if I try to mount the root fs without the "-t ext3" part, it won't mount properly.

I'm sure someone else understands better than me what's going on here. So, if there's any other information I can provide, let me know. For now, I'm using 2.6.12


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