C.0 Automatic Linux Installation and Configuration Using AutoYaST

AutoYaST is a system for installing one or more Novell® Linux Desktop (NLD) systems automatically and without user intervention. AutoYaST installations are performed using a control file with installation and configuration data. The control file can be created using the configuration interface of AutoYaST and can be provided to YaST2 during installation in different ways.

Regular installation of NLD is semi-automated by default. The user is requested to select the necessary information at the beginning of the installation (in most cases, language only), then YaST2 generates a proposal for the underlying system depending on different factors and system parameters. In most cases, and especially for new systems, such a proposal can be used to install the system and provides a usable installation.

The steps following the proposal are fully automated and the user is prompted only at the end of the installation to configure hardware and network services.

AutoYaST can be used where no user intervention is required or where customization is required. Using a control file, YaST2 prepares the system for a custom installation and avoids any interaction with the user unless specified in the file controlling the installation.

AutoYaST is not an automated GUI system. In most cases, many screens are skipped (that is, you never see the language selection interface). AutoYaST simply passes the language parameter to the subsystem without displaying any language-related interface.

Using AutoYaST, multiple systems sharing the same environment and similar, but not necessarily identical, hardware performing similar tasks can easily be installed in parallel and in a short time. A configuration file (referred to as a control file) is created using existing configuration resources. The control file can be easily tailored for any specific environment.

AutoYaST is fully integrated and provides various options for installing and configuring a system. The main advantage over other auto-installation systems is the ability to configure a computer by using existing modules and avoiding using custom scripts which are normally executed at the end of the installation.This chapter guides you through the three steps of auto-installation:

  1. Preparation

    All relevant information about the target system is collected and turned into the appropriate directives of the control file. The control file is transferred onto the target system where its directives are parsed and transformed to YaST2 conforming data.

  2. Installation

    Follows the instructions given in the control file and installs the base system.

  3. Configuration

    YaST, in addition to user-defined post-install scripts, completes the system configuration.