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Automated network installs?

I'm about to start work on a tool to automate network Debian installs,
possibly using a library of images (and eventually tools to create and
maintain those images), or by using a profile of packages to install.

I've been looking at mondo and replicator, but they're not quite what I
need.  Is there anything similar being worked on already, or any
recommendations on what the ideal method would be?

I'd prefer the Packages/config profile, and use a central repository,
but security will be an issue (may use readonly filesystem, would prefer
to look into verifying checksums and comparing to a trusted source).
Mondo's CDR method is nice from the security perspective, but I want a bit
more control over the config of individual machines.

Does this need a new tool, or should I add this functionality to the
install process (load a profile before dselect, not sure what tool suggests
the current profiles when installing?).  Pre-defining configs is vital
though - I want to automate everything, basically create hundreds of identical
machines with maybe a dozen local changes such as IP.  Will debconf help
out here?

I'm new to Debian, any advice or comments appreciated.  No point reinventing
the wheel.


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