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prep questions

I have a couple of questions that I hope someone here can answer.  
I've looked around quite a bit on google, the Debian manuals, and 
elsewhere but haven't found any definitive answers for these 

At work we are running Debian on some Motorola MVME2700 (prep based)
machines.  I'm looking for a bootloader of some sort for these 
machines so that a hosed up kernel build doesn't force me to rebuild
the whole machine.  I can (and have) certainly use a network boot
to get a machine back to a usable state, but this really isn't ideal
for the delivered product.  From what I understand, the firmware on
prep machines doesn't really provide a method to read from the disk 
at boot time (aside from raw disk reads/writes), so there probably 
isn't a trivial solution.  I saw an article in the Suse ppc area 
where they have some sort of bare bones kernel that gets loaded, and 
which allows you to provide boot options, kernel path, etc to boot 
with, but the article looked pretty dated.  Does anyone have 
any experience with this that could provide some hints/references?

The default kernel that ships with Debian (I've tried Potato (2.2r6)
and Woody) locks up at boot time when accessing the SCSI controller.
Using a cross compiler and booting over the network to initialize the
machine, I've been able to build a kernel and get a machine up and 
running quite well.  However, ideally, I would like to simply replace
the kernel on the install CD with a kernel that doesn't lock up the
machine.  I'm guessing I need the following configuration options
enabled in the kernel (not modules, obviously):

I/O device support (SCSI drivers, etc)
ext2fs support
iso9660 support
RAM disk support
initrd support
Kernel boot options: root=/dev/ram  - (anything else??)

I think these should be all the options I need to get the install
CD to function properly.  I'm assuming I can just copy the whole
first CD to a temporary location, replace the prep boot kernel(s),
make a bootable ISO with mkhybrid and the -prep-boot option, and
I should be good to go.  I'm not sure that this is actually possible,
or whether or not this is the correct way to go about this process.
Also, I'm not sure which kernel(s) to replace in the ISO.  Anyone 
have any pointers or experience with this?

Sorry for the length of this post, and thanks in advance for any


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