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complex partitioning preseeding

I have just finished setting up a preseeded d-i for some servers at
work, and I'm in general very impressed. One thing which I found missing
was a way to do more complicated partitioning via preseeding. What we
wanted was a 2 or 4 disk raid used as the PV for an LVM containing all
the partitions, with /boot on a 2 disk raid. This is not currently
possible with pure preseeding, so I wrote a udeb which replaces
partman-base in the menu and runs a script in it's postinst to do all
the partitioning, formatting and mounting etc.

As a follow up to that I'd like to propose a more general way of doing
this and would like comments on it. What I envisage is a udeb for a
partitioner specifically for complicated preseeding. It would take an
input similar to this: http://mjj29.matthew.ath.cx/custom-partition.txt

I have written a short script illustrating how it might work
(http://mjj29.matthew.ath.cx/partition) which reads a file of that name
and prints the commands that would be needed to do the setup.

I'd like comments on this approach, I'm happy to write at least a basic
version of this, although I may need some help with all the debconf

A few notes about what I have at the moment:

  - it always assumes you are layering in the order partitions < raid <
     encryption < lvm < filesystems. While I'm fairly happy with this
     being correct for partitions, raid, lvm, and filesystems;
     encryption could be an exception.
  - there's no progress/error handling
  - partitioning needs to be handled, preferably in a
     platform-independent way
  - I haven't looked at password input for encryption
  - obviously it should trigger installs of the correct FS/MD/LVM/crypt


Matthew Johnson

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