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Re: "kickstart" for debian needed

On Tue, Mar 27, 2001 at 09:58:27PM -0800, Duane Powers said:

> I'm considering dd as one alternative, but that's kinda bulky 'cuz it
> requires physically removing each hard drive installing in "parent" and
> imaging... I've looked at things like
> ghost, but that doesn't seem to be an option... I know we've had this
> discussion on the list before... I don't know if anyone has the details
> on redhat's kickstart program,
> and whether that is something that could be ported to debian... Any
> suggestions?

I just got an UGLY idea... what about making a HUGE rpm with a
complete Debian-install, with the configuration either as commands in
the Deian-package (as little interactivity as possible) or as
postinst-commands in the RPM-package or in the postinst-section of
kickstart, and then install this debian-2.2.i386.rpm (etc) vai

Yes, this IS ugly, and I don't know if it will work. But it's dfinitely
a dirty hack :)

I have been working quite a lot with kickstart recently and it's a nice
tool. The mkkickstart-command that comes with RH 6.2 is however useless
and with lots of errors. Read the HOWTO instead.

> Most (of our) engineers are not linux-compliant.

Kickstart is not very easy to tweak, since the doc is poor, but if you
understand the basics it's easy. Once it's set up, it requires no
knowledge to use for installation and rather little knowledge to add
packages etc.

> May need to be reinstalled occassionally due to high tech network
> engineers hosing
> various applications (these are going to be workstations, not servers...
> accessed frequently by different users... stuff will get broken)

Either don't give them root on their boxes - they and install on their
homedirectories - or make sure they ONLY install stuff on /usr/local or
something.  Or reinstall every week, our reinstallation takes some 7
minutes (via NFS on a fast LAN) and requires one floppy (the green one).

But those hints on kickstart are rather RedHat-specific. I wouldn't
recommend someone porting kickstart to Debian. It sucks, some fighting
makes it suck less, but it's still ugly. But Debian really needs
something similar. For me Debian is my choice when it comes to my desktop
PC or a single server, but when installing more than one server that
should be identical, I need a kickstart tool and since Debian doesn't
have it and RedHat does...well.

- simple and liberal configfile (i.e. no strict, or at least
  non-logical, requirements about the order in the config file)
- installation methods: ftp, http, NFS (or doesn't Debian support that
  at all?), CD
- network config: dhcp, static
- no interactivity required, all info must/can be given in the

If someone are interested in making such a thing or if someone are
actually working on it now, I'd be happy to know and maybe contribute (I
don't program, but I think I may have some skills on other areas anyway

Magni Onsøien                     Initio IT-løsninger AS
magnio@initio.no                  http://www.initio.no/
Tlf. 73 83 71 71/928 10 269

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