To be fair: it wasn't RedHat's fault. I was installing 7.2 (enigma) along with the Promise SuperTrak SX6000 IDE RAID card, and for /once/ I tried following the directions as if I were an average dickhead.
Of course, that got me exactly what I deserved -- a conundrum. The installation went smoothly enough, I installed Everything, and then it came time to reboot. Fine. Grub comes up, booting off the 497GB RAID-5 array, and the kernel starts! w00t? w00t?
And then it PANICS because it can't find /bin/init. Because it couldn't pivot the real root filesystem with initrd. Because the drivers for the array didn't load. Because three symbols in the pti_st.o module are out of sync and remain unresolved at module insertion time.
So I do what any other Cool Hand Geek would --
boot up the cd with "linux rescue dd" to get the drivers in place,
"chroot /mnt/sysimage" to get into the installed system filespace,
"gunzip < /boot/initrd-2.4.7-10 > /tmp/initrd.ext2 ; mount -o loop /tmp/initrd.ext2 /mnt",
go into /mnt,
patch the living crap out of pti_st.o with hexedit to bring the scsi_register_Rxxxxxxxx, scsi_unregister_Rxxxxxxxx, and register_blkdev_Rxxxxxxxx symbols into sync with the other modules in that directory,
umount the image,
and gzip it back up again into /boot/initrd-2.4.7-10.
Like an idiot, I reboot and expect it to work. And it does. If I've learned one thing, it's the value of delayed gratification.
W00t w00t w00T!