PXE Booting Ubuntu from WDS (Windows Deployment Solutions)

Christopher Chan christopher.chan at bradbury.edu.hk
Thu Feb 4 00:40:35 UTC 2010

> 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.

Where is there a claim that preseed is more powerful? I have never heard 
any such claim and on the contrary I have seen acknowledgements that 
certain parts of the debian-installer could do with a lot of improvement.

> 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.

Hear, hear. Partitioning recipes are a major pain to work out 
notwithstanding some of the limitations such as lack of support for 
installing an lvm over an md device last I tried d-i and preseeding.

> 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.

Have not tried or looked at cobbler but I wonder if you have heard of fai?

> 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.

I never could get my head wrapped around unattended. I ended up 
installing rislinux, setting up dhcp/samba/tftp and cooking up sif files 
instead. Do you also automatically install apps via unattended?

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