Oops! Debugging Kernel Panics

A look into what causes kernel panics and some utilities to help gainmore information.

Working in a Linux environment how often have you seen a kernel panicWhen it happens your system is left in a crippled state untilyou reboot it completely. And even after you get your system back into afunctional state you8217re still left with the question why You may have noidea what happened or why it happened. Those questions can be answeredthoughand the following guide will help you root out the cause of some of the conditionsthat led to the original crash.

Figure 1. A Typical Kernel Panic.

Let8217s start by looking at a set of utilities known askexec and kdump. kexec allows you to boot intoanother kernel from an existing and running kernel andkdump is akexec-based crash-dumping mechanism for Linux.

First and foremost your kernel should have the following components statically built in to its image.


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