Automating the installation process can save system administrators a lot of time and effort during an initial deployment, upgrade, or maintenance cycle by managing multiple computers at one time. Ubuntu offers a highly automated installation technique called kickstart which can be used for unattended installation of Linux.
Ubuntu's kickstart installation uses a single configuration file with a special, extensive syntax on a server, boot floppy, or other medium to install Ubuntu via CD/DVD, a hard drive partition, or a network connection. Using kickstart is easy and involves passing a kernel argument to the Ubuntu Linux boot kernel. The various arguments tell the boot kernel to look for a configuration file on floppy, a designated server, via a network, specific file, or CD/DVD.
You can use kickstart to install Ubuntu on one or more computers at the same time. First, set up a web or FTP server with Ubuntu's installation files. For directions, see the "Installing Using a Network" section in Chapter 3. Next, create a network boot floppy using the techniques described in the next section. Follow the directions given here (choosing an FTP install) and then copy the custom kickstart file to the network boot floppy. You can then use this floppy (and copies) to boot one or more PCs to a network install using your FTP server.
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