In previous chapters, you learned to install Linux from local and remote sources. There are many ways to customize Red Hat Linux; all require extensive user input. Thus, if you re an administrator responsible for installing Red Hat Linux on a group of computers, you could spend a lot of time installing and customizing Linux on every last computer. For this reason, Red Hat has developed the Kickstart system to automate the installation process. With it, you can manage the installation of package groups, or even individual RPM packages, on each of your computers.
As you ve seen in Chapters 3 and 4 , packages are collected together in groups such as the GNOME Desktop Environment and Graphics. These package groups are organized in the comps .xml file on the first Red Hat installation CD, in the /RedHat/base directory. We ll examine this file in detail; you can edit the file to customize how your users install Red Hat Linux.
You ve learned about dependencies. The software in some packages and package groups won t work unless other software is installed. These dependencies are also documented in comps.xml .
When you install Red Hat Linux 9 on your computer, Anaconda leaves a default Kickstart file, anaconda-ks.cfg , in your /root directory. You can use this file to create a standard Kickstart file for your other computers. In addition, Red Hat includes the detailed GUI Kickstart Configurator, which can help you customize the Kickstart file that you need.
Once you ve created a Kickstart file, you can set it up on a boot floppy. All you need to do is reboot your computer with the floppy. Once the basic kernel is loaded, it can get Red Hat Linux installation files locally or through your network. This chapter covers the following topics: