(Newbie) Init fails.

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I'm a newbie to the embedded world and could do with a pointer or two.
I've configured and compiled my kernel. I'm booting the device from a
USB stick via Grub and I've got Grub configured to load the root file
system via NFS. I'm pretty sure that the boot process is loading the
NFS root system as the kernel spits out the message "VFS: Mounted root
(nfs filesystem) readonly" (and shutting down the NFS server gives a
different not found message).
The kernel then reports "Freeing unused kernel memory: 208k freed" and
then tries to run the init process. At this point I get "Kernel panic
- not syncing: Attempted to kill init"

Googling for this, I find many posts that suggest that there should be
prior error messages to indicate what the actual cause of the failure
was - but in my case there aren't any error messages after the mount
of the root NFS. I found one suggestion to create a simple, statically
linked "Hello World" program, pass that to the kernel using the
init=foo commandline. I did that last week, and got to see the "Hello
World" message but in my attempts to make progress even this doesn't
work anymore.

Any suggestions as to how to find out what is failing would be
welcome. Is there either a kernel config option or a kernel
commandline option that would increase the verbosity of the boot
process in the hope that the cause of the error would be revealed.


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