Archive | July 2012

Kickstart Autodetection

Some Fedora users don’t just pop in a disk and install.  Instead, they use something called Kickstart.  With Kickstart, you can write a file that tells Anaconda what choices you want it to make, you can just hook it all up, turn it on, walk away, and come back with your machine installed exactly like you asked. It’s a great tool, especially if you have a lot of machines that you want configured identically.  With the new UI for Anaconda, Kickstart’s about to get a whole lot cooler.  It’ll still work the way it has always worked, but it will also now be able to accompany a traditional graphical install and pre-fill all the selections with what you’ve picked out.  The problems we ran into here include: What if someone has multiple Kickstart files?  How can the person be sure they have the right file?  What if someone only wants part of the Kickstart file?

We came up with the following four images to represent a potential screen layout.  There’s a different screen for multiple Kickstart files detected than there is for only one, because the drop-down would be a waste of screen space if there was only one choice.  If you click the little plus box for “More Options” you can choose which parts (roughly) you want to use of the Kickstart file; you can turn off everything in %post if you want, or everything in %packages, for example.  There’s no good way to differentiate between separate sections of the same type, so you cannot choose one %post and another %post.  You can use all of the %post sections or none of the %post sections.  If you click on an item in the list on the left, you can read the relevant portion on the right so you don’t accidentally use the wrong Kickstart file, and you can review what you’ve chosen before you put it into effect.