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Old 06-18-2007, 11:00 PM   #1
Joe_Wulf
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Registered: Jun 2007
Location: Baltimore, Md
Distribution: RHEL AS5
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kickstart; how-to info needed for multiple instances of RH OS's and multiple unique v


I'm currently in a pickle regarding how to move forward with kickstart, and the documentation
much less the manpage doesn't begin to answer my questions.

Lets say I use FC6 as my kickstart/NFS/DNS/DHCP server. I take the /root/anaconda-ks.cfg
file from that same FC6 system and use it (along with all the other steps) to tailor a
network-based build of FC6. I do basically understand how to do that now. Great.

I have that FC6 server built, kickstart is configured and I can successfully build an FC6
system, via kickstart from it.

Next, I copied all of the following OS's into/onto that same FC6 kickstart server, with a
unique directory for each:
RHEL WS3u0 x32
RHEL WS3u1 x32
RHEL WS3u2 x32
RHEL WS3u3 x32
RHEL WS3u4 x32
RHEL WS3u5 x32
RHEL WS3u6 x32
RHEL WS3u7 x32
RHEL WS3u8 x32
RHEL WS3u9 x32 {And conceivably back to the 2.1 versions as well}

RHEL WS3u0 x64
RHEL WS3u1 x64
RHEL WS3u2 x64
RHEL WS3u3 x64
RHEL WS3u4 x64
RHEL WS3u5 x64
RHEL WS3u6 x64
RHEL WS3u7 x64
RHEL WS3u8 x64
RHEL WS3u9 x64 {And conceivably back to the 2.1 versions as well}


RHEL WS4u0 x32
RHEL WS4u1 x32
RHEL WS4u2 x32
RHEL WS4u3 x32
RHEL WS4u4 x32
RHEL WS4u5 x32

RHEL WS4u0 x64
RHEL WS4u1 x64
RHEL WS4u2 x64
RHEL WS4u3 x64
RHEL WS4u4 x64
RHEL WS4u5 x64
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


RHEL ES3u0 x32
RHEL ES3u1 x32
RHEL ES3u2 x32
RHEL ES3u3 x32
RHEL ES3u4 x32
RHEL ES3u5 x32
RHEL ES3u6 x32
RHEL ES3u7 x32
RHEL ES3u8 x32
RHEL ES3u9 x32 {And conceivably back to the 2.1 versions as well}

RHEL ES3u0 x64
RHEL ES3u1 x64
RHEL ES3u2 x64
RHEL ES3u3 x64
RHEL ES3u4 x64
RHEL ES3u5 x64
RHEL ES3u6 x64
RHEL ES3u7 x64
RHEL ES3u8 x64
RHEL ES3u9 x64 {And conceivably back to the 2.1 versions as well}

RHEL ES4u0 x32
RHEL ES4u1 x32
RHEL ES4u2 x32
RHEL ES4u3 x32
RHEL ES4u4 x32
RHEL ES4u5 x32

RHEL ES4u0 x64
RHEL ES4u1 x64
RHEL ES4u2 x64
RHEL ES4u3 x64
RHEL ES4u4 x64
RHEL ES4u5 x64
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


RHEL AS3u0 x32
RHEL AS3u1 x32
RHEL AS3u2 x32
RHEL AS3u3 x32
RHEL AS3u4 x32
RHEL AS3u5 x32
RHEL AS3u6 x32
RHEL AS3u7 x32
RHEL AS3u8 x32
RHEL AS3u9 x32 {And conceivably back to the 2.1 versions as well}

RHEL AS3u0 x64
RHEL AS3u1 x64
RHEL AS3u2 x64
RHEL AS3u3 x64
RHEL AS3u4 x64
RHEL AS3u5 x64
RHEL AS3u6 x64
RHEL AS3u7 x64
RHEL AS3u8 x64
RHEL AS3u9 x64 {And conceivably back to the 2.1 versions as well}


RHEL AS4u0 x32
RHEL AS4u1 x32
RHEL AS4u2 x32
RHEL AS4u3 x32
RHEL AS4u4 x32
RHEL AS4u5 x32

RHEL AS4u0 x64
RHEL AS4u1 x64
RHEL AS4u2 x64
RHEL AS4u3 x64
RHEL AS4u4 x64
RHEL AS4u5 x64
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


RHEL AS5u0 x32

RHEL AS5u0 x64
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


FC1 x32
FC2 x32
FC3 x32
FC4 x32
FC5 x32
FC6 x32
Fedora 7 x32

FC1 x64
FC2 x64
FC3 x64
FC4 x64
FC5 x64
FC6 x64
Fedora 7 x64
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


How do I dynamically build OS-specific kickstart anaconda-ks.cfg files for EACH of them
without having to waste hundreds of hours manually installing each one???

I seek to devote more of my time to the post-installation area(s) than basic OS building.
These are all for the Intel architecture, as that is all I have available. I'd do other
architectures too (zSeries, Itanium and S/390) if someone wishes to loan me the equipment
for the next year or so. <smile>

I basically have the disk resources to support hosting all the native files for each of the
OS's I've listed above. Additionally, I've the disk resources to support hosting each of
the OS's as they get built, to include snapshots and checkpoints. I have all the ISO's for
them as well. I have a 64 bit Intel system for virtual building of OS's. I have a task
which requires testing various capabilities against each of them, thus this is why I'm
approaching kickstart from such a broad perspective.

So, how do I manage kickstart building for any OS I wish to pick, and have it work correctly
for the chosen OS? Do the kickstart tools in existence today facilitate this (it doesn't
seem like they do)? If not, what manual method is needed? Is there a resource or two on
the net that would facilite what I'm seeking to learn?

Thank you very much in advance for your help.

R,
-Joe Wulf
 
Old 06-20-2007, 06:33 PM   #2
hob
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Registered: Mar 2004
Location: Wales, UK
Distribution: Debian, Ubuntu
Posts: 1,075

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Kickstart files are just text, so you can write scripts to generate them with any language. The system-config-kickstart tool lets you create and edit them from within a graphical interface.

AFAIK the format has not changed between RHEL versions, so the only part that is really version-specific is the package list.

For the sake of your own sanity though, I would suggest only maintaining build facilities for supported versions of RHEL and Fedora. I believe that support has expired for FC4 and all previous versions of Fedora. Similarly, supporting old Update versions means supporting builds that may have security issues, and that RH themselves probably wouldn't fix bugs for.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that Anaconda specifically supports downloading Kickstart files from CGI scripts, so that you can use a Web server and your choice of programming language to write something that dynamically generates tailored Kickstart files. At least one in-house script that does this has been published on the Internet, but it's so long ago that I can't remember who released their code for doing this.

Last edited by hob; 06-20-2007 at 06:38 PM.
 
Old 06-21-2007, 01:27 AM   #3
Joe_Wulf
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Registered: Jun 2007
Location: Baltimore, Md
Distribution: RHEL AS5
Posts: 5

Original Poster
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I'm sure that once I understand the peculiarities for each of the OS's mentioned, that I could write unique kickstart files for each one....... I'm at the point today of seeking knowledge and experience (and pitfalls to avoid???) in doing so from those who've tackled exactly this kind of problem. I appreciate your insights, it helps.

From what I can see so far, there is no clue, no indicator, no method to 'point' (for lack of a better description) system-config-kickstart at any specific OS. So for the newer OS's supporting LVM, to manage that, as opposed to the old ext3 FSs, or the exact package list for the OS in question (eventually ALL of them)

My sanity is challenged because I cannot find an organized method to do what should be (at least it seems like it should be) a simple and straightforward task of just use the OS I want it to do configuration for THIS time. My task, for the security work I'm doing is to explore all the OS's listed. I'm not putting things into production, but developing a security approach for those who do.

You mentioned a script..... is THAT something, developed either by you or someone else, that would be available that has the smarts to do all the things system-config-kickstart does, AND specifically tailor its build to the OS in question that I point it to??????? Sending me to where that is available would be awesome. oh and documentation would be lovely, as well.

Thank you for your input so far, I do appreciate it.

R,
-Joe Wulf
 
Old 06-21-2007, 02:45 PM   #4
hob
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Registered: Mar 2004
Location: Wales, UK
Distribution: Debian, Ubuntu
Posts: 1,075

Rep: Reputation: 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_Wulf
From what I can see so far, there is no clue, no indicator, no method to 'point' (for lack of a better description) system-config-kickstart at any specific OS. So for the newer OS's supporting LVM, to manage that, as opposed to the old ext3 FSs, or the exact package list for the OS in question (eventually ALL of them)
It's been some time since I did anything with Kickstart, and I could be wrong, but I think that your base assumption here is not correct. The vast majority of Kickstart directives are not dependent on the version, to the point where (I believe) the Debian-derived Ubuntu can process them.

The only sections that will vary are the partitioning, and the package lists. This means that you can create a template file with placeholders for these sections, and have a script generate as many Kickstart files as you like by switching out the placeholders. IIRC, stock installations used package groups, so you didn't need to list individual packages.

The operating system version is determined by the set of packages from the repository. More precisely, it is just a number in a file provided by the "release" package.

Quote:
My sanity is challenged because I cannot find an organized method to do what should be (at least it seems like it should be) a simple and straightforward task of just use the OS I want it to do configuration for THIS time. My task, for the security work I'm doing is to explore all the OS's listed. I'm not putting things into production, but developing a security approach for those who do.
I guess that I don't understand the purpose of testing against, say RHEL 3ESu2, when upstream would now prefer to support u9 of that series. From a security standpoint, the best solution for unmaintained Fedora releases these days is, well, to migrate the system to a supported OS - Fedora Legacy has shut down, so there is no support community to carry such systems. Again, I'm more puzzled than anything.

Kickstart files are just plain-text files, rather like .ini files, so they are easy to edit. IIRC, the directives are listed in one of the Red Hat manuals, all of which you can download from their Website. There is also a mailing list:

http://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/kickstart-list
 
Old 06-21-2007, 11:18 PM   #5
Joe_Wulf
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Registered: Jun 2007
Location: Baltimore, Md
Distribution: RHEL AS5
Posts: 5

Original Poster
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Hob, you've made interesting statements in order to help me out, and I'm not sure right now what to do. I'll think on this and come back to it. Maybe do a bit more experimenting and see what I can come up with. I appreciate, also, the link you shared and I've signed up for the kickstart mailing list.... thank you.

R,
-Joe Wulf
 
  


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