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CentOS Kickstart Guide

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This guide will walk you through the process of creating a CentOS Kickstart file from scratch for custom / automated CentOS installations.

First of all if you have never seen a kickstart file before look in the /root dir you should see a file called “anaconda-ks.cfg” open it, you should see the parameters you entered during install.

There are various reasons for automating a CentOS install, the most common being automated server deployment for cloud CentOS servers.

Below is an example of a CentOS kickstart file I used when rolling out a bunch of Fedora (RHEL / CentOS should be similar) laptops with VMWare player installed and a couple of virtual machine images pulled in via wget. I chose to use a kickstart install with scripts over imaging software such as Symantec Ghost for the Linux installs as this enabled me to use the image on various types of hardware and with the tweak of a script I could greatly customise the installs in the future. Microsoft WDS / RIS or Ghost would not allow me this level of flexibility.

Example of a CentOS Kickstart file

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#version=DEVEL
text
install
cdrom
lang en_US.UTF-8
keyboard uk
timezone --utc Europe/London
rootpw  --iscrypted $$nndedddewfooofcerd3r434
selinux --disabled
# Custom user added
user --name=kevinmitnick --groups=users --password=HackThePlanet
authconfig --enableshadow --passalgo=sha512 --enablefingerprint
firewall --service=ssh
# The following is the partition information you requested
# Note that any partitions you deleted are not expressed
# here so unless you clear all partitions first, this is
# not guaranteed to work
clearpart --all --drives=sda
ignoredisk --only-use=sda

part /boot --fstype=ext2 --asprimary --size=500
part /OtherOS --fstype=ext4 --asprimary --size=10240
part swap --asprimary --size=2048
part pv.fedora1000 --grow --asprimary --size=500

volgroup fedora --pesize=32768 pv.fedora1000

logvol /centosVM --fstype=ext4 --name=centosVM --vgname=fedora --size=30720
logvol /home --fstype=ext4 --name=home --vgname=fedora --size=81920
logvol / --fstype=ext4 --name=root --vgname=fedora --size=25600
logvol /windowsVM --fstype=ext4 --name=windowsVM --vgname=fedora --size=40960

bootloader --location=mbr --driveorder=sda --append="nomodeset rhgb quiet"

# setup the network with DHCP
network --device=eth0 --bootproto=dhcp

# packages that will be installed, anything starting with an @ sign is a yum package group.

%packages
@admin-tools
@authoring-and-publishing
@base
@core
@development-libs
@development-tools
@dial-up
@editors
@education
@electronic-lab
@engineering-and-scientific
@eclipse
@fedora-packager
@fonts
@gnome-desktop
@gnome-software-development
@graphical-internet
@graphics
@hardware-support
@input-methods
@java
@java-development
@kde-desktop
@kde-software-development
@legacy-fonts
@office
@online-docs
@printing
@sound-and-video
@system-tools
@text-internet
@x-software-development
@base-x
kpackagekit
system-config-network
scribus
xfsprogs
mtools
gpgme
gpm
rpmdevtools
koji
mercurial
lua
pylint
rpmlint
plague-client
cmake
mock
bzr
pptp
kdeedu-marble
minicom
opencv
yum-priorities
plotutils
openoffice.org-opensymbol-fonts
qtcurve-gtk2
gvfs-obexftp
glibmm24-devel
gnome-vfs2-devel
libsigc++20-devel
libart_lgpl-devel
kdepim
konversation
ImageMagick
digikam
kipi-plugins
kdegraphics
gypsy
gpsd
hdparm
m17n-db-tamil
m17n-db-gujarati
m17n-db-kannada
m17n-db-hindi
gok
m17n-db-oriya
m17n-db-bengali
m17n-contrib-sinhala
m17n-db-assamese
m17n-db-punjabi
iok
m17n-db-telugu
m17n-db-malayalam
xorg-x11-fonts-ISO8859-1-100dpi
urw-fonts
ghostscript-fonts
kdepim
vorbis-tools
amarok
jack-audio-connection-kit
kaffeine
kdemultimedia
vbetool
gssdp
geoclue
createrepo
radeontool
PackageKit-command-not-found
obexftp
enca
festival
ntpdate
xsel
gupnp
rdesktop
fuse
ncftp
mesa-libGLU-devel
xorg-x11-apps
xscreensaver-gl-extras
gdm
xscreensaver-extras
xscreensaver-base
xterm
xorg-x11-resutils
gitk
git-gui
dia
tftp
python-crypto
boost-devel
valgrind
subversion
cvs
thunderbird-lightning
python-sqlite2
asciidoc
glibc-static
tcllib
python-psycopg*
ssh*
perl-ExtUtils-MakeMaker
perl-Net-Telnet
perl-HTML-FromText
libICE.so.6
libSM.so.6
libXmu.so.6
libXp.so.6
libXpm.so.4
libXt.so.6
help2man
cscope
ctags
git
kernel-devel
tftp-server
texlive-latex
texi2html
cmake
transfig
alsa-lib
libXScrnSaver
qt
qt-x11
libasound.so.2
libXss.so.1
libQtDBus.so.4
libQtGui.so.4
pulseaudio
alsa-plugins-pulseaudio
pulseaudio-esound-compat
pulseaudio-libs
pulseaudio-libs-glib2
pulseaudio-module-zeroconf
pulseaudio-libs-zeroconf
xmms-pulse
pulseaudio-module-gconf
wine-pulseaudio
xine-lib-pulseaudio
pulseaudio-utils
pulseaudio-module-bluetooth
padevchooser
paman
paprefs
pavucontrol
pavumeter
ncurses-devel.i686
%end
%post --log=/root/my-post-log
exec < /dev/tty3 > /dev/tty3
chvt 3
echo
echo "################################"
echo "# Running Post Configuration   #"
echo "################################"

# prevent future yum updates pulling down & install new kernels (and breaking VMware & video drivers).
echo "exclude=kernel*" >> /etc/yum.conf

# update the system
yum update -y

# install rpm fusion repo
rpm -Uvh \
https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-stable.noarch.rpm \
https://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-stable.noarch.rpm

# disable rpmfusion repo, to prevent a yum update contaminating the system with rpmfusion rpms.
sed -i 's/enabled=1/enabled=0/g' /etc/yum.repos.d/rpmfusion-*

# install video drivers - enabling rpmfusion repos on the command line.
yum -y --enablerepo=rpmfusion-nonfree --enablerepo=rpmfusion-free  --enablerepo=rpmfusion-free-updates --enablerepo=rpmfusion-nonfree-updates install kmod-nvidia xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.i686 xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.x86_64 akmod-nvidia

# start akmods on boot
chkconfig akmods on

# add pcadmin to sudoers
echo "kevinmitnick ALL=(ALL)       ALL" >> /etc/sudoers

# set perms on vmware partitions so users in the users group can create vm's 
chown :users /windowsVM && chmod 775 /windowsVM
chown :users /centosVM && chmod 775 /centosVM

# Make sure the system boots X by setting the system to run level 5
sed -i 's/id:3:initdefault:/id:5:initdefault:/g' /etc/inittab

# install openvpn & configure
wget ftp://$host/pub/VPN/OpenVPN/Linux/openvpnclient-custom-settings-1.6-3.i386.rpm
rpm -ivh openvpnclient-custom-settings-1.6-3.i386.rpm
cd /etc/openvpn/
rm client.conf-*
wget ftp://$host/pub/VPN/OpenVPN/Linux/64bit/client.conf-1
mv client.conf-1 client.conf-0
rm -f /openvpnclient-custom-settings-1.6-3.i386.rpm

# add Kevin Mitnick to group users
usermod -a -G users kevinmitnick

# pull down vmware images
cd /windowsVM/
wget --user=magicinstaller --password=hacktheplanet ftp://magicinstaller:[email protected]$host.com/images/windowsVM.tar.gz
tar -xvzf windowsVM.tar.gz
cd /centosVM/
wget --user=magicinstaller --password=hacktheplanet ftp://magicinstaller:[email protected]$host.com/images/centosVM.tar.gz
tar -xvzf centosVM.tar.gz

# create symlink as instructed
cd /usr/lib; ln -s libtinfo.so libtermcap.so.2

# confirm perms are set correctly
chown -R :users /windowsVM && chmod -R 775 /windowsVM
chown -R :users /centosVM && chmod -R 775 /centosVM

# swap to console 1
chvt 1

Obviously you will need to modify your CentOS kickstart file to suit your requirements however you should be able to get a feel for what you can achieve with a kickstart file. If you are wondering how I got VMWare Player installed, I had to do this manually due to the VMWare licensing agreement in the script.

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