How to kickstart a system from cloned channel on Satellite 5?

Solution Verified - Updated -


  • Red Hat Satellite 5


  • No trees found when trying to create a kickstart profile associated with a cloned/custom channel.
  • When selecting the operating system in 'Kickstart Details' > 'Operating System' and using the 'customised' base channel in the drop down box, the message displayed is 'No trees were found for the selected channel' in the 'Available trees' area. How to fix it?
  • How to kickstart a system from a cloned channel?


  • There are 2 methods which can be used to install a system from cloned/custom channel:

  • 1) You kickstart a system from a Red Hat Enterprise Linux GA channel with @ Base mentioned under %packages. Under the same kickstart you specify an activation key which would subscribe to the cloned channels as well as under packages section of the activation key mention the packages which you wish to install from the cloned channel.

With this, the system would initially be installed from RHEL Base channel with initial and minimal packages and then according to your requirements you can create an activation key and have the system updated through the kickstart.

  • 2) If you wish to kickstart the system directly from your cloned channel then you can need to create a Distribution Tree for your cloned channel. So the steps are:

Assuming you have a cloned channel from RHEL 5.4 x86_64 then:

# cd /var/satellite/rhn/kickstart/
# mkdir custom-distro-rhel5
# cd custom-distro-rhel5
# cp -rpv ../ks-rhel-x86_64-server-5-u4/* .

Ensure that the permissions for the newly created directory and files are as below :
644 apache.apache for all files
755 apache.root for all directories

Login to the Satellite's web-interface -> Systems -> Kickstart -> Distribution -> create new distribution ->

Distribution Label*: custom-distro-rhel5
Tree Path*: /var/satellite/rhn/kickstart/custom-distro-rhel5/
Base Channel*: <select your custom base channel>
Installer Generation*: <RHEL Version>

and click on "Create Kickstart Distribution".

For more details on this, please see the Reference Guide

With this you will be able to create a kickstart profile with base channel as your cloned channel and kickstart tree as the one which you created above. It is not possible to select the custom channel as base channel and existing rhel channel's distribution tree. New distribution trees have to be created for custom channels.


For RHEL6 systems, to have them registered and subscribed to the cloned channel from which they were kickstarted, you need to create an Activation Key selecting the base channel as the clone channel and use that activation key in the kickstart. With this the newly kickstarted system from clone channel will be registered and subscribed to clone channel. There is a (private) Feature Request#845519 to make this automatic without use of an activation key. If you wish to know more about this feature or current status contact Red Hat Support.

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These instructions are incomplete and a inaccurate.  For this to work for us, I had to copy ALL of the folder whose content I had cloned, i.e.

cp -pr ../ks-rhel-x86_64-server-5-u4/* .

(also, the line in your example omits a space between "-r" and "..")

Article has been updated to reflect the same. Thank You for the feedback !

Although the above comment will technically get the job done and solve the problem at hand, it's not necessary.

Kickstart trees don't get created when cloning a Red Hat repository; this is expected behavior.

Instead, the user should use a Red Hat base channel when creating a Kickstart profile. Activation keys should be used to then reassign the base channel from the Red Hat base channel to the cloned base channel, being careful to use the same Red Hat base channel from which the cloned channel was cloned from.

Hello dear Redhat support,

we fixed the problem by cloning from the original RH base channel, creating an activation key, and then used our custom channel/kickstart.

kind regards
Thomas Kreis

Contrary to previous comments, if you use cloned channels for change control you do need to create a distribution tree that refers to your cloned channel -- we were hit by the issue in because we didn't.