PXE Booting Ubuntu from WDS (Windows Deployment Solutions)

CLIFFORD ILKAY clifford_ilkay at dinamis.com
Thu Feb 4 00:48:42 UTC 2010

On 02/03/2010 07:40 PM, Christopher Chan wrote:
>> 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.

 From the usual Debian/Ubuntu fans.

>> 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.

I have no trouble installing on a logical volume on a RAID device with 

>> 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?

Yes, and I've used it. It's very crude by comparison.

>> 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?

No, that's next. It can supposedly do that. If it doesn't, I have 
another plan. My goal is to be able to put all the machines on the 
network under configuration management, with bcfg2 being the leading 
contender by virtue of being written in Python and thus easy for us to 
understand and extend.

Thanks for the tip on rislinux. I'll check it out.

Clifford Ilkay
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