A kickstart file must be placed in one of the following locations:
On a boot diskette
On a boot CD-ROM
On a network
Normally a kickstart file is copied to the boot diskette, or made available on the network. The network-based approach is most commonly used, as most kickstart installations tend to be performed on networked computers.
Let us take a more in-depth look at where the kickstart file may be placed.
To perform a diskette-based kickstart installation, the kickstart file must be named ks.cfg and must be located in the boot diskette's top-level directory. Refer to the section Making an Installation Boot Diskette in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Installation Guide for instruction on creating a boot diskette. Because the boot diskettes are in MS-DOS format, it is easy to copy the kickstart file under Linux using the mcopy command:
mcopy ks.cfg a:
Alternatively, you can use Windows to copy the file. You can also mount the MS-DOS boot diskette in Red Hat Enterprise Linux with the file system type vfat and use the cp command to copy the file on the diskette.
To perform a CD-ROM-based kickstart installation, the kickstart file must be named ks.cfg and must be located in the boot CD-ROM's top-level directory. Since a CD-ROM is read-only, the file must be added to the directory used to create the image that is written to the CD-ROM. Refer to the Making an Installation Boot CD-ROM section in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Installation Guide for instruction on creating a boot CD-ROM; however, before making the file.iso image file, copy the ks.cfg kickstart file to the isolinux/ directory.
Network installations using kickstart are quite common, because system administrators can easily automate the installation on many networked computers quickly and painlessly. In general, the approach most commonly used is for the administrator to have both a BOOTP/DHCP server and an NFS server on the local network. The BOOTP/DHCP server is used to give the client system its networking information, while the actual files used during the installation are served by the NFS server. Often, these two servers run on the same physical machine, but they are not required to.
To perform a network-based kickstart installation, you must have a BOOTP/DHCP server on your network, and it must include configuration information for the machine on which you are attempting to install Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The BOOTP/DHCP server will provide the client with its networking information as well as the location of the kickstart file.
If a kickstart file is specified by the BOOTP/DHCP server, the client system will attempt an NFS mount of the file's path, and will copy the specified file to the client, using it as the kickstart file. The exact settings required vary depending on the BOOTP/DHCP server you use.
Here is an example of a line from the dhcpd.conf file for the DHCP server:
filename "/usr/new-machine/kickstart/"; next-server blarg.redhat.com;
Note that you should replace the value after filename with the name of the kickstart file (or the directory in which the kickstart file resides) and the value after next-server with the NFS server name.
If the filename returned by the BOOTP/DHCP server ends with a slash ("/"), then it is interpreted as a path only. In this case, the client system mounts that path using NFS, and searches for a particular file. The filename the client searches for is:
The <ip-addr> section of the filename should be replaced with the client's IP address in dotted decimal notation. For example, the filename for a computer with an IP address of 10.10.0.1 would be 10.10.0.1-kickstart.
Note that if you do not specify a server name, then the client system will attempt to use the server that answered the BOOTP/DHCP request as its NFS server. If you do not specify a path or filename, the client system will try to mount /kickstart from the BOOTP/DHCP server and will try to find the kickstart file using the same <ip-addr>-kickstart filename as described above.