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Re: Mass installation procedure for Debian?


On Sat, 2 Feb 2002, Oliver Andrich wrote:

> I have to deal in the near future with a lot of Debian machines, that I will
> setup and configure for two customers. I like to develop or use some mechanism
> for mass installation of these machines, and for easily setting up a spare
> part machine if one crashes.

Hello, it seems like there's a lot of interest in this topic lately.

> Basically, I like to do something like kickstart does for RedHat or Mandrake.
> You created some kind of config file for the installer and afterwards it just
> works. (More or less)

Have a look at

Quite close to you, also in Germany :-)

This website seems to be down currently. You can also find this nice
little thingie as Debian package fai.


> Does something like this exist already in Debian, or is it planned and I can
> contribute to it? This is a desperate need, cause I have to enable not so
> skilled admins to get the machine up and replaced without actually needing to
> travel to the location of the machines.

Actually, I am currently investigating the following, and I wonder if it
already exists and how much work it would be to really implement it:

1) setup FAI server and client on i386 platform (identical arch)
2) setup FAI server and client on different platforms (swapping client and
   server roles), still Debian but also on sparc architecture
3) setup FAI server on another Linux distribution than Debian
   (distribution independence) and maybe *BSD
4) port FAI server to run on Unix platforms (Solaris) or even use the
   native tool (JumpStart) to perform the same task, whichever seems
5) modify FAI to work not only with Debian but also with RPM-based Linux
   distributions, .tar.gz based distributions (e.g. LFS) and finally BSDs
6) you don't wanna know that :-)

I didn't have the chance to visit the FAI mailing list archives yet, but
basically the first two should already work as far as I read the docs.
The third one should be possible at least with a manual setup, just
configuring DHCP, TFTP and NFS manually. Same applies to 4, because these
are standard services, even Win2k should theoretically be possible, but I
don't really know if I want that :-).

The fifth one would be the real killer application, but it's probably a
lot of work because you don't only have to switch to rpm on the client,
but also configure the basic stuff, which probably looks a little
different in every distro...

If we could share the workload, that would be way cool!

Have a nice weekend


- -- 
"Forgive me, but I'm talking to a politician."
	John Simpson, BBC World

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