If you try to include initramfs into your kernel (I mean actually building your binaries into the kernel) this will always happen. Obviously some code has changed in recent kernels that is present in all new kernels, it makes it impossible to boot
I've tried the latest 2.6.32, 2.6.33, 2.6.34, 2.6.35, 2.6.36, 2.6.37, 2.6.38 kernels and they all do this. I found one bug report but no action on it.
Here's a bug someone else filed with the kernel maintainers: https://bugzilla.kernel.org/show_bug.cgi?id=15062
I've opened a bug for it too, even the latest kernel 2.6.39 has this bug still, here's the link to the bug I opened.
I'm not sure why this is happening, but it seems with each newer kernel I've worked with, there's more and more critical bugs for drivers on in this case an error that makes the system unbootable.
I believe this option is the culprit:
[ ] Support for paging of anonymous memory (swap)
Now after removing that option I get an error when making the kernel:
mm/built-in.o: In function `test_clear_page_writeback':
(.text+0x6e38): undefined reference to `____ilog2_NaN'
make: *** [.tmp_vmlinux1] Error 1
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