really stumped on this, if anyone has by any chance had a similar issue ...

WHAT I DID .. installed openvpn/bridge-utils, rejigged my interfaces file to allow for br0. Reboot.

RESULT .. "Kernel panic - not syncing: Attempted to kill init!"

I know this is to do with the changed networking file because when I go back in and revert that (via another OS) this kernel boots fine.

OTHERWISE .. 9.10 Desktop, fairly uncomplicated system, tho it does have ndiswrapper and I installed NFS to it quite recently*.

*would it be better to install that after openVPN? don't see that would matter but?

the original /etc/network/interfaces file read:-

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

and, changed to allow for the bridge (bridging via ra0):-

auto lo br0
iface lo inet loopback

iface br0 inet static
address 192.168.1.10
netmask 255.255.255.0
gateway 192.168.1.1
bridge_ports ra0
iface ra0 inet manual
up ifconfig $IFACE 0.0.0.0 up
up ip link set $IFACE promisc on
down ip link set $IFACE promisc off
down ifconfig $IFACE down