In­stall Ubuntu with Kick­start and Save Pre­cious Time

Au­to­mated or unat­tended in­stal­la­tions are very use­ful when hun­dreds or some­times thou­sands of in­stal­la­tions have to be made. The com­mon tools for this pur­pose are Kick­start, Jump­start, Pre­seed, etc. This ar­ti­cle dis­cusses what Kick­start is and out­lines th

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In an en­vi­ron­ment where you have to in­stall the Linux OS on hun­dreds or thou­sands of sys­tems, do­ing man­ual in­stal­la­tion is a te­dious job and con­sumes lot of time for sys­tem ad­min­is­tra­tors, ef­fort and re­quires hu­man in­ter­ven­tion. The au­to­matic or unat­tended or Kick­start based Linux OS in­stal­la­tion saves lots of time for sys­tem ad­min­is­ters.

With Kick­start, the user or ad­min­is­tra­tor can create a sin­gle file con­tain­ing the an­swers to all the ques­tions that would nor­mally be asked dur­ing in­stal­la­tion. Kick­start will au­to­mate the in­stal­la­tion, in­clud­ing:

• Ba­sic con­fig­u­ra­tion like lan­guage se­lec­tion, lo­ca­tion, time zone, etc.

• In­stal­la­tion meth­ods like boot loader op­tion and disk par­ti­tion­ing

• Net­work con­fig­u­ra­tion

• User cre­ation or con­fig­u­ra­tion

• Pack­age se­lec­tion The fol­low­ing are the ad­van­tages of a Kick­start-based in­stal­la­tion over man­ual in­stal­la­tion:

• Saves time and ef­fort for ad­min­is­tra­tors • Avoids the er­rors of man­ual in­stal­la­tion

• Man­ual in­stal­la­tion is very te­dious job when de­ploy­ing on hun­dreds or thou­sands of sys­tems or servers Kick­start or unat­tended in­stal­la­tions can be done us­ing:


• A lo­cal hard drive

• On a net­work via NFS, FTP or HTTP

How Kick­start-based in­stal­la­tion works

The net­work-based Kick­start in­stal­la­tion is widely used, as most in­stal­la­tions are re­quired to be per­formed on net­worked sys­tems or servers.

In the usual set-up, there should be a sys­tem such as a DHCP/TFTP/HTTP server that pro­vides the con­fig­u­ra­tion in­for­ma­tion for in­stal­la­tion over the net­work. To in­stall on the server you will have to boot into PXE mode; the in­stal­la­tion process starts and com­pletes by re­triev­ing all the re­quested pack­ages from a repos­i­tory server. See Fig­ure 1 for the net­work-based Kick­start in­stal­la­tion flow.

Kick­start-based in­stal­la­tion can be con­fig­ured through the CFG con­fig­u­ra­tion file. The Kick­start con­fig­u­ra­tion file can be cre­ated man­u­ally or through a GUI tool (i.e., sys­tem-con­fig-kick­start) or by us­ing the OS in­staller.

Let’s create a Kick­start con­fig­u­ra­tion file us­ing the GUI ( sys­tem­con­fig­kick­start) tool. Fig­ure 2 shows the Kick­start in­stal­la­tion op­tions. Fig­ures 3 and 4 show the Kick­start file’s par­ti­tion in­for­ma­tion and net­work con­fig­u­ra­tion us­ing the GUI tool.

Fig­ures 5 and 6 show the Kick­start file user and fire­wall con­fig­u­ra­tion us­ing the GUI tool.

Steps to in­stall Ubuntu OS us­ing the Kick­start file

Af­ter cre­at­ing the Kick­start con­fig­u­ra­tion file us­ing the GUI ( sys­tem-con­fig-kick­start) tool, let’s take a look at the

Fig­ure 1: Net­work-based Kick­start in­stal­la­tion flow

Fig­ure 3: Par­ti­tion in­for­ma­tion

Fig­ure 2: Ba­sic con­fig­u­ra­tion, in­stal­la­tion method and boot loader con­fig­u­ra­tion op­tions

Fig­ure 5: User con­fig­u­ra­tion

Fig­ure 4: Net­work con­fig­u­ra­tion

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