This is a post for anyone else who's run into this problem. Hope this helps
someone save some time...


It's the Philips DVD-RW/CDRW drives that are causing all the problems. I
have a case open with Novell to see if they can iron this one out. We're
using GX620's, but some others are seeing the problem with the Precision
Workstations. Popping a different drive into the box for the image
pull-down temporarily solves the problem.

Funny thing is, the no-name HL-DataStorage branded drives worked A-OK, but
it's the "name" brand ones (Philips) that are causing all the grief.

The obvious sign of trouble is when this shows up:
"Loading data into Ram disk. (49080 kB)...
linuxrc crashed :-(( Press ENTER to continue..."

(By hitting ALT/F3 or ALT/F4 during the time when the boot ISO is loading
data into RAM disk, you can see the log screens that the kernel is spitting
out. )

The end of the ALT/F3 screen during an errant boot provides this info:
Loading image "/var/adm/mount/boot/root"...
Invalid compressed format (err=1)
Error loading Ramdisk
Ramdisk /dev/ram2 freed

Flipping over to the ALT/F4 screen shows this info:
hda: status error: status 0x(58) {DriveReady SeekComplete DataRequest}
hda: status error: error = 0x00
end_request: I/O error, dev had sector 604 Buffer I/O error on device had,
logical block 151
Had: drive not ready for data

Rebooting one of these "errant" machines and then watching the ALT/F4 screen
scroll by, it looks like it enumerates every "bad" sector up to sector 604.
Sector 604 is where the OS stops at every time.

Plugging in an external Memorex DVD-RW disk drive, unplugging the internal
DVD-R/CDRW allows a boot of the 6.5.2 disk and it works A-OK. Hopefully
this will be fixed in an updated ISO.