initramfs too large?

Dave Littell littelld at
Wed Sep 10 10:50:03 EST 2008

Hi all,

I believe my initramfs has grown beyond some limit, but I'm at a loss to
know how to correct it.  We recognized that we would have to allow a
larger initramfs than the defaults provided, so I modified the following
(on a 2.6.18 kernel):

1. .../arch/powerpc/boot/wrapper: A "-Ttext=0x1000000" was added to the
ld args.

2. .../arch/powerpc/boot/ The ALIGN() directive was changed
 to use 16 instead of 4.

I thought I was finished and everything seemed to be working well with
an initramfs CPIO archive size of approx. 9 MB.  However, we just had
another size increase (to a CPIO archive size of approx. 12 MB) and now
I'm rewarded with this at boot:

## Booting image at 08000000 ...
   Image Name:   Linux-2.6.18_pro500-440epx_eval
   Image Type:   PowerPC Linux Kernel Image (gzip compressed)
   Data Size:    7113720 Bytes =  6.8 MB
   Load Address: 01000000
   Entry Point:  01000410
   Verifying Checksum ... OK
   Uncompressing Kernel Image ... OK
CPU clock-frequency <- 0x27bc86ae (667MHz)
CPU timebase-frequency <- 0x27bc86ae (667MHz)
/plb: clock-frequency <- 9ef21ab (167MHz)
/plb/opb: clock-frequency <- 4f790d5 (83MHz)
/plb/opb/ebc: clock-frequency <- 34fb5e3 (56MHz)
/plb/opb/serial at ef600300: clock-frequency <- a8c000 (11MHz)
/plb/opb/serial at ef600400: clock-frequency <- a8c000 (11MHz)
/plb/opb/serial at ef600500: clock-frequency <- a8c000 (11MHz)
/plb/opb/serial at ef600600: clock-frequency <- a8c000 (11MHz)
Memory <- <0x0 0x0 0x10000000> (256MB)
ENET0: local-mac-address <- 00:80:3f:0d:80:0d
ENET1: local-mac-address <- 79:60:04:ea:d9:a1

zImage starting: loaded at 0x01000000 (sp: 0x0ff182e8)
Allocating 0x904dc0 bytes for kernel ...
gunzipping (0x00000000 <- 0x0100d000:0x01912c90)...done 0x8de100 bytes

Linux/PowerPC load: console=ttyS0,115200 console=ttyMTD3
Finalizing device tree... flat tree at 0x191f3a0

Here it sits, forever.  I poked around a bit with the JTAG and found (in
one instance) that probe_machine() (from setup_common.c) was taking a
DataTLBError exception because it appears the machine descriptors are
scrubbed to 0.  I added some debug code to setup_common.c, but on the
next attempted boot the JTAG showed that DataTLBError exceptions in
identify_cpu() (cputable.c).

If I reduce the size of initramfs back to it's original size the system
runs just fine.  So, I'm guessing the larger initramfs is somehow
stomping on something, but have no idea how to proceed to resolve this.

Thanks very much,

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