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Re: automatic installation again

> Massimo Dal Zotto <dz@cs.unitn.it> writes:
> > On the web site you can find a bootdisk image, a compressed rootdisk image
> > and a directory of packages which have been modified for the automatic
> > installation. They should overwrite the corresponding official files.
> > My tool is based on the official slink cd's.
> [...]
> > You will need also the file extra.tgz with modified versions of apt and dpkg,
> > and an optional config.tgz with local preconfigured files which go in /etc.
> > The latter is needed to prevent silly questions from packages which pretend
> > to create complex configuration files by asking one question at a time.
> BTW, have you been following the autoconfiguration proposals which
> have been floating around, i.e.,
> <URL:http://www.debian.org/~wakkerma/config6/> ?

Yes but I didn't see any working code or prototype implementation of it.
I need an automatic installer now, not in two years, so I write my own code.

> Obviously locally hacked packages isn't viable, as you know.  I wonder
> if we might consider submitting bugs against packages which we think
> may be asking questions which might not need to be asked?

Locally hacked packages are only useful for testing the whole idea or for
installing my own customized system. The only viable solution is to choose
one config tool and force all developers to use it instead of asking the user,
as you know. I can't submit bugs for packages asking questions because this
is allowed by the debian policy.

> > 5)  reboot the target machine from bootdisk and rootdisk with the following
> >     syslinux command:
> > 
> >     linux KEYBOARD=type MOUSE=device:type:-R
> Oh!  I know enrique was very interested in having this in the
> mainstream boot-floppies.  Could you make some patches against the
> latest codeline of the boot-floppies package in CVS, and send them to
> this list for review?

It is a really trivial hack. Download the rootdisk image and look at the file
/etc/rc. You can specify whatever option in the command-line.

> > 6)  at the root prompt try the following commands:
> > 
> >     install -?		# to show the command and configuration file options
> > 
> >     install --source server_ip:/distribution_path --target /dev/hda --erase \
> > 	    --profile "client" --hostname host.domain --verbose 3
> > 
> >     Note that this command will completely erase your target harddisk.
> >     If you don't like this run fdisk by hand and specify the --root-partition
> >     and --swap-partition options in the command line. Note also that lilo
> >     doesn't handle harddisks with more than 1024 cylinders.
> Interesting.  Does this call a modified dbootstrap?  Does it replace
> dbootstrap?

The `install' program is a zsh script, it has nothing to do with dbootstrap.
The original busybox has been modified in order to add the chroot command
used to do some of the configuration in the target filesystem and to allow
the restarting of the new init into the new target without rebooting the
system. I will upload the patches.
BTW, I will change `install' to `dzinstall' because install is already a
standard unix command.

> > 7)  answer any other questions and see what happens. If it doesn't work look
> >     at the documentation file in the rootdisk: /usr/bin/install. In the file
> >     /tmp/install.log you can find a log of the installation.
> I thing /var/log would be a better place for it, since it would be
> deleted at reboot otherwise.  I very much like the idea of having an
> install log -- again, do you think we could add this to the main
> boot-floppies codeline somehow?

No. My bootfloppies are a totally different approach. They are not a modified
version of dbootstrap but a new implementation written from scratch in zsh.

Regarding the log file, it is written into /tmp of the ramdisk because the
target may not even exist when the install begins. It is however copied into
the /etc/install of the target filesystem at the end of the install step just
before restarting the init, so nothing is lost. You can also specify you own
logfile in the command-line.

Unfortunately the second part of the installation using apt and dpkg doesn't
write into the logfile, which would be a very great idea given the verbosity
of the output. I tried with script but it doesn't accept a command argument. 
Has anybody a better idea?

Massimo Dal Zotto

|  Massimo Dal Zotto               email: dz@cs.unitn.it               |
|  Via Marconi, 141                phone: ++39-0461534251              |
|  38057 Pergine Valsugana (TN)      www: http://www.cs.unitn.it/~dz/  |
|  Italy                             pgp: finger dz@tango.cs.unitn.it  |

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