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A Linux kickstart file contains a list of configuration parameters which the anaconda installer uses to install the operating system without asking for user input. The file contains a variety of options for everything from partitioning, authentication, boot loader, firewall, language, hardware, passwords, users, services, software packages and more. When the installer is booted with a kickstart file specified in the "ks=" parameter, it performs the installation automatically with no user input required.
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Installing Kickstart Configurator
The Linux kickstart configurator, also known as system-config-kickstart, is a graphical tool for creating a kickstart installation file. It’s included in the Red Hat, Fedora and CentOS’ software repositories. To install it:
- Open the software installer by clicking “System” on the panel at the top of the screen, clicking “Administration” and clicking “Add/Remove Software.”
- Type “system-config-kickstart” into the search box at the top-left corner of the window and click “Find.”
- Click the checkbox to the left of “system-config-kickstart” in the search results and click “Apply.”
- Click “Continue” when asked to install additional software dependencies.
- Type your password into the box that appears and click “Authenticate.”
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Using Kickstart Configurator
Explore the categories on the left side of the kickstart configurator window to customize your kickstart installation file. Here are some examples of what you can do:
- Set a default root account password by clicking “Basic Configuration” and typing the password into the “Root Password” and “Confirm Password” boxes.
- Customize the software packages installed by default by clicking “Package Selection” and clicking the checkboxes for each software package category you want to install.
- Tell the installer to not install a graphical desktop environment by clicking “Display Configuration” and unchecking the “Install a Graphical Environment” checkbox.
After you’re finished, save the kickstart installation file by clicking “File” and “Save,” then clicking “Save” in the box that appears.
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Installing with Kickstart
After you create your “ks.cfg” file, you have to make it available on a network server, USB drive or the boot media. Then you simply insert the Linux installer disc into a computer and boot the computer, type “linux ks=path” at the boot prompt, and press “Enter” replacing “path” with the appropriate path to the ks.cfg file in one of the following formats:
NFS Server: “linux ks=nfs:[server]:/[path]”
Example: “linux ks=nfs:server.website.com:/directory/ks.cfg”
HTTP Server: “linux ks=http://[server]/[path]”
Example: “linux ks=http://server.website.com/directory/ks.cfg”
USB Drive, Floppy Disc or Other Disc Drive: “linux ks=hd:[device]:/[file]”
Example: “linux ks=hd:sda3:/mydir/ks.cfg” where “sda3” specifies the third partition on on the first disc drive. If you wanted the first partition on the third disc drive, you’d type “sdc1” instead.
Note: The drive must be formatted with either the FAT or EXT2 file systems.
Boot Disc: “linux ks=cdrom:/[path]”
Example: “linux ks=cdrom:/ks.cfg”
Note: You must create a modified Linux installer boot disc and add your own kickstart file to it.
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Red Hat: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Installation Guide - Chapter 32. Kickstart Installations, http://docs.redhat.com/docs/en-US/Red_Hat_Enterprise_Linux/6/html/Installation_Guide/ch-kickstart2.html
Red Hat: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Installation Guide - Chapter 33. Kickstart Configurator, http://docs.redhat.com/docs/en-US/Red_Hat_Enterprise_Linux/6/html/Installation_Guide/ch-redhat-config-kickstart.html
Red Hat: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Installation Guide - Chapter 32.10. Starting a Kickstart Installation, http://docs.redhat.com/docs/en-US/Red_Hat_Enterprise_Linux/6/html/Installation_Guide/s1-kickstart2-startinginstall.html
Screenshots provided by writer.