This spec discusses implementing fully automated installations (FAIs) so that large deployments can quickly and easily install Ubuntu onto many machines, whose end-users will find all they need to be productive out-of-the-box.

This includes package installation, planning and creating of configurations, and how to deal with errors.


Many system administrators would prefer to use an automated installation method to install Ubuntu on their machines. The preseed feature of debian-installer answers this need, as does Kickstart, and both are available in Hoary. However, some people want to deploy networks including other GNU/Linux distributions. FAI (Fully Automated Installation, an automated system for installing Debian on clusters) is another popular system here, but so far requires third-party patches to support Ubuntu.

Scope and Use Cases

An automated installation includes:

  • Language and country selection
  • Mouse configuration
  • Keymap selection
  • Boot loader installation
  • Disk partitioning
  • Network configuration
  • Selection of authentication methods
  • Firewall configuration
  • Custom package selection
  • X Window System configuration

Use cases include:

  • Jeff wants to install Ubuntu onto fifty computers all at once and have them all networked out of the box
  • Jane also has fifty computers but wants subtly different Ubuntu implementations on twenty of them due to different hardware configurations. But she only wants to set up one mass-install

Implementation Plan

Community members have already sent patches for FAI to make it work with Ubuntu. We will integrate those patches, and work with the upstream author.

FAI currently requires special kernels with NFS-root support. We hope that NFSRoot work in Breezy will make this obsolete, and will work on confirming this and fixing any other issues that arise so that FAI can use stock kernels.

We will add the following features to our Kickstart implementation:

  • Add support for more authentication methods, e.g. LDAP.
  • Enhance partitioning of multiple drives.
  • Consider adding firewalling support; only firewall --disabled works so far.

  • NFS installation. At the moment you can retrieve the Kickstart file over NFS using 'ks=nfs:<server>:/<path>', but booting with plain 'ks' doesn't work, nor does retrieving the base system over NFS.

  • Add RAID/LVM partitioning support. There are some bugs and unimplemented bits in partition handling.
  • Support for bootloader passwords.

Data Preservation and Migration


Packages Affected

  • fai

  • fai-kernels

  • kickseed

  • partman-auto

  • partman-auto-lvm

  • system-config-kickstart

User Interface Requirements

system-config-kickstart already exists to create Kickstart files, but will need to be maintained and extended.

Outstanding Issues

We need a proper administration interface to manage the installations, e.g. backup, mail settings, network settings, pushing security updates to the clients (, handling images, and so on.

UDU BOF Agenda

UDU Pre-Work

Implementation Status

2005-06-06 ColinWatson: Bootloader passwords implemented in kickseed, thanks to a grub-installer patch from Timo Aaltonen.

CategoryUdu CategorySpec

UbuntuDownUnder/BOFs/AutomatedInstallations (last edited 2008-08-06 16:25:20 by localhost)