PXE Booting Ubuntu from WDS (Windows Deployment Solutions)

CLIFFORD ILKAY clifford_ilkay at dinamis.com
Wed Feb 3 22:12:42 UTC 2010

On 02/03/2010 12:19 AM, Chadley Wilson wrote:
> Thank you for some new links, I have my PXE working, it boots Linux,
> Windows and freedos.
> The problem I am faced with presently is that the only way the Ubuntu
> installer runs - is in text mode.

Why is this a problem?

> So to minimize the stress that get
> bestowed on me by the staff I have configured it with kickstart to
> automatically install for now. Because we have close to 1000 requests
> a month for dual boot systems, I actually need the installer to
> install in graphic mode so that the staff can edit the partition
> setup accordingly with ease...

The partition setup can be modified with ease with the text mode 
installer too but you shouldn't have to, if you do it right. As you've 
pointed out, kickstart is an option, though a poor one because kickstart 
isn't 100% supported in Ubuntu. The preferred scripted installation 
method in Debian/Ubuntu is "preseed". It's supposedly more powerful, 
though I've seen no evidence of that, much more complex than kickstart, 
unnecessarily so in my opinion, and not as well documented as kickstart. 
I eventually managed to get preseed installations working but it was a 
Pyrrhic victory. As someone has already suggested, Red Hat and 
derivatives, like CentOS and Fedora, are much nicer and simpler to 
automate and not because Anaconda is graphical but because kickstart is 
very easy, well-documented, and it works without mystery. In fact, I do 
text mode kickstart installations. I do mass hands-off installations. 
There is no need to fiddle with partitioning even if you have machines 
with vastly differing disk sizes, as we do.

If you can bring yourself to run Linux for the deployment server, you 
can do even better by running Cobbler 
<https://fedorahosted.org/cobbler/>. There is nothing like it in the 
Debian/Ubuntu world that I know of. (Speak up if you know of something 
like this, please.) The best way to build your kickstart file in Red Hat 
and derivatives is to do a manual installation and look in 
/root/anaconda-ks.cfg. You can use that as a template to modify. Better 
yet, you can run the GUI Kickstart Configurator (yum install 
system-config-kickstart) and generate a kickstart file with as much or 
as little detail as you like. If you're using Cobbler, you can use that 
kickstart file as the basis of the various Cobbler kickstart templates.

I'm doing the opposite of what you're doing. I'm using a Fedora server 
to deploy Fedora, CentOS, and Windows machines. For the first two, I'm 
using Cobbler. For Windows, I'm using Unattended 
<http://unattended.sourceforge.net/>. Cobbler and Unattended aren't 
integrated so they're two completely different things to manage.

> Now I have some idea of where to start, It is just not very clear
> right now. I need to figure out what the parameters are that I must
> pass to the default install kernel... The problem is that the Ubuntu
> Kernel doesn't support all the options that other kernels do... Does
> anyone here know what all the parameters are that the default install
> kernel for Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic will support? Any ideas?

I don't understand what you're trying to accomplish with these kernel 

Clifford Ilkay
1419-3266 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON
Canada  M4N 3P6

+1 416-410-3326

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