Chapter 6. Starting Kickstart installations

You can start Kickstart installations in multiple ways:

  • Manually by entering the installation program boot menu and specifying the options including Kickstart file there.
  • Automatically by editing the boot options in PXE boot.
  • Automatically by providing the file on a volume with specific name.

Learn how to perform each of these methods in the following sections.

6.1. Starting a Kickstart installation manually

This section explains how to start a Kickstart installation manually, which means some user interaction is required (adding boot options at the boot: prompt). Use the boot option inst.ks=location when booting the installation system, replacing location with the location of your Kickstart file. The exact way to specify the boot option depends on your system’s architecture.

Prerequisites

  • You have a Kickstart file ready in a location accessible from the system to be installated

Procedure

  1. Boot the system using a local media (a CD, DVD, or a USB flash drive).
  2. At the boot prompt, specify the required boot options.

    1. If the Kickstart file or a required repository is in a network location, you may need to configure the network using the ip= option. The installer tries to configure all network devices using the DHCP protocol by default without this option.
    2. Add the inst.ks= boot option and the location of the Kickstart file.
    3. In order to access a software source from which necessary packages will be installed, you may need to add the inst.repo= option. If you do not specify this option, you must specify the installation source in the Kickstart file.
  3. Start the installation by confirming your added boot options.

    The installation begins now, using the options specified in the Kickstart file. If the Kickstart file is valid and contains all required commands, the installation is completely automated from this point forward.

6.2. Starting a Kickstart installation automatically using PXE

AMD64, Intel 64, and 64-bit ARM systems and IBM Power Systems servers have the ability to boot using a PXE server. When you configure the PXE server, you can add the boot option into the boot loader configuration file, which in turn lets you start the installation automatically. Using this approach, it is possible to automate the installation completely, including the boot process.

This procedure is intended as a general reference; detailed steps differ based on your system’s architecture, and not all options are available on all architectures (for example, you cannot use PXE boot on IBM Z).

Prerequisites

  • You must have a Kickstart file ready in a location accessible from the system to be installated.
  • You must have a PXE server which can be used to boot the system and begin the installation.

Procedure

  1. Open the boot loader configuration file on your PXE server, and add the inst.ks= boot option to the appropriate line. The name of the file and its syntax depends on your system’s architecture and hardware:

    • On AMD64 and Intel 64 systems with BIOS, the file name can be either default or based on your system’s IP address. In this case, add the inst.ks= option to the append line in the installation entry. A sample append line in the configuration file looks similar to the following:

      append initrd=initrd.img inst.ks=http://10.32.5.1/mnt/archive/RHEL-8/8.x/x86_64/kickstarts/ks.cfg
    • On systems using the GRUB2 boot loader (AMD64, Intel 64, and 64-bit ARM systems with UEFI firmware and IBM Power Systems servers), the file name will be grub.cfg. In this file, append the inst.ks= option to the kernel line in the installation entry. A sample kernel line in the configuration file will look similar to the following:

      kernel vmlinuz inst.ks=http://10.32.5.1/mnt/archive/RHEL-8/8.x/x86_64/kickstarts/ks.cfg
  2. Boot the installation from the network server.

    The installation begins now, using the installation options specified in the Kickstart file. If the Kickstart file is valid and contains all required commands, the installation is completely automated.

Additional resources

6.3. Starting a Kickstart installation automatically using a local volume

You can start a Kickstart installation by putting a Kickstart file with a specific name on a specifically labelled storage volume.

Prerequisites

Procedure

  1. Boot the system using a local media (a CD, DVD, or a USB flash drive).
  2. At the boot prompt, specify the required boot options.

    1. If a required repository is in a network location, you may need to configure the network using the ip= option. The installer tries to configure all network devices using the DHCP protocol by default without this option.
    2. In order to access a software source from which necessary packages will be installed, you may need to add the inst.repo= option. If you do not specify this option, you must specify the installation source in the Kickstart file.
  3. Start the installation by confirming your added boot options.

    The installation begins now, and the Kickstart file is automatically detected and used to start an automated Kickstart installation.