# Why does the Motorola 68000 series require a kernel to be specified during Linux installation?

When attempting to install Debian Linux 2.0 Hamm (m68k build) on a machine with a m68k (Motorola 68000) processor, I get a Kernel image must be specified error. Why must a kernel be specified to boot from CD? During this age there were also i386 processors and Linux images build for i386 processors, but they don't require a kernel to be specified. I was able to install Debian Linux 2.0 (i386 build of the OS) on an i386 machine, and it doesn't prompt me for a kernel at boot time. Why is the Motorola 68000 series any different?

• Beside the fact, that I do not know of any linux that can boot without a kernel, it might be good if you ass a tiny bit of information. What distribution (Linux 2.0 doesn't tell anything), what machine (there are quite a lot using a 68k) and most important, what boot loader/manager, as it seams you problem is originated in the way this specific distribution did set defaults for the boot loader. – Raffzahn Mar 30 '18 at 22:33
• @Raffzahn Thanks, I totally forgot to include Debian in my description. Debian 2.0 which is Hamm. Hopefully my added description helps. – Retro Gamer Mar 30 '18 at 22:45
• Mind to also add the Machine you're using? – Raffzahn Mar 30 '18 at 22:48
• MS-DOS works on pretty much any i386 computer because all of them are PC compatible (and the ones that aren't are rare enough to not matter here). But you can't boot MacOS on an Atari ST or an Amiga because those computers are not compatible with each other despite using the same processor. When you are asked which kernel to load what you're really being asked is to identify the particular type of 68000 computer you're using. – Ken Gober Mar 31 '18 at 14:04
• Given that Linux is a kernel, something is wrong in the question wording. Currently, question title sounds like "Why does Route 66 require an engine for a General Motors ride ?", which is nonsensical. Also in question text, "there were also (...) Linux images build for i386 processors, but they don't require a kernel.". Well, they do include a kernel just like a General Motors car includes, well, a motor. – Stéphane Gourichon Apr 1 '18 at 3:00

Simple answer: Because there is no default kernel defined within the loader.