Economy Size Geek - Installation Toolkit

 in
Having the right tools for the job.
Putting the Plan into Action

Now that you have a kickstart configuration file, you need to get the system to use it. You need to host the file with a Web server. In my case, keg already has Apache running, so I can just stick it up there.

Then, I just add a new option to my boot.txt:

karmic_i386_install_seeded 

And, I added a new stanza to my pxelinux.cfg/default:

LABEL karmic_i386_install_seeded 
        kernel ubuntu/karmic/i386/ubuntu-installer/i386/linux 
        append vga=normal initrd=ubuntu/karmic/i386/
        ↪ubuntu-installer/i386/initrd.gz 
         ↪ks=http://192.168.210.254/ks.cfg -- 

Now I can choose to boot a standard installer or one that has been preseeded with other software. My first install was completed using a KVM virtual machine. To get it to PXE boot, I needed to set it up to bridge onto my internal network (so it could get a DHCP address and talk to the PXE server), and I had to download a gPXE ISO (rom-o-matic.net/gpxe/gpxe-0.9.9/contrib/rom-o-matic). That allowed me to PXE boot the machine even though the KVM BIOS did not support PXE.

Final Thoughts

The kickstart/preseed stuff was more complicated than I would have liked. It took a lot of rebooting and re-installing to get the syntax correct so that all three cases worked. I found tons of introductory documentation, but as soon as I needed something more detailed, I was on my own. For example, I did not have the owner option set on my preseed, and I originally wanted to do the downloading and installing of Skype in the post but had to resort to using a first boot script. It made me understand why people end up writing their own “post-install” scripts instead of using these larger tools. That being said, now that I have all this together, installation should be a breeze. Maybe I finally will get around to bringing all my machines up to a common and current version of Ubuntu.

Dirk Elmendorf is cofounder of Rackspace, some-time home-brewer, longtime Linux advocate and even longer-time programmer.

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Uh... Koala???

Dr1fter's picture

How about Lucid Lynx? When was this written again?

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