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gdb question

I've got a kernel for an old machine, and I want to "patch" the kernel on-disk image to set 'acpi_force_load=1'

I've been through all sorts of gyrations with gdb, but I keep getting the following error message:

        (gdb) show write
        Writing into executable and core files is on.
        (gdb) set acpi_force_load = 1
        Cannot access memory at address 0xffffffff80527018

I'm probably missing something obvious, but it's not obvious to me!

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