So you want to preseed Ubuntu? Fine. You’ve probably read this article. Maybe you’ve seen the scripts, too. However, there are still some gaps wide enough to stumble into. Here’s a quick overview over how to create an unattended install CD. If you want to add customized packages, you’re a bit more adventurous than I was – but this might give you a head start, anyway.
Getting the files out of the ISO
Here’s your first stop. Go grab everything that’s on the original CD image (no need to burn it, the is is just fine if you do this):
mkdir loopdir mount -o ubuntu_whatever.iso loopdir # you might need a "modprobe loop" first
Now, grab everything inside and copy it to a place where you can modify it:
mkdir cd cp -a loopdir/* cd/ cp -a loopdir/.d* cd/
(Others might find a…
rsync -a -H loopdir/ cd
…more elegant. Whatever you do, don’t miss the “.disk” directory – otherwise, you’ll end up with annoying errors when booting from the final CD – which say that it cannot find a live file system).
The preseed configuration file
Now, you’re here. That’s a lot of nice things you can configure there – but the main thing missing in the 8.xx docs is the part about Ubiquity. Here’s an excerpt from my preseed.cfg (you might use that as a quick start – but note that I’ve preseeded a German installation):
# make sure we get over page 6 of the installation questions: ubiquity ubiquity/summary note # disable this for one single click before reboot: ubiquity ubiquity/reboot boolean true # the rest should be quite self-explanatory: ubiquity languagechooser/language-name select German ubiquity countrychooser/shortlist select DE ubiquity countrychooser/countryname select Germany ubiquity countrychooser/country-name string Germany debconf debconf/language string de ubiquity console-keymaps-at/keymap select de ubiquity tzconfig/gmt boolean false ubiquity time/zone select Europe/Berlin ubiquity debian-installer/country string DE ubiquity debian-installer/language string de ubiquity debian-installer/locale select de_DE.UTF-8 console-setup console-setup/layoutcode select de console-setup console-setup/modelcode select pc105 console-setup console-setup/layout select Germany console-setup console-setup/variant select Germany ubyquity localechooser/supported-locales multiselect\ de_DE.UTF-8 en_US.UTF-8 # this is what the "late_command" in d-i does. I prefer a trick like # this to do some setup work on the freshly installed machine - # this script gets pulled from 192.168.1.1 via http and should # disable itself after execution. Comment this away if you don't # want it! ubiquity ubiquity/success_command string wget \ http://192.168.1.1/ubuntu_deploy -O /target/etc/init.d/S99deploy; ln -s\ /etc/init.d/S99deploy /target/etc/rc2.d/S99deploy; chmod ugo+x /target/etc/init.d/S99deploy
Modify boot command line
I prefer the elegant way: I modify menu.cfg in the isolinux dir. Add these lines to the position you like (add it to text.cfg if you want to have it in between the rest of the options):
label unattended menu label Unattended auto install kernel /casper/vmlinuz append file=/cdrom/preseed/my.seed boot=casper initrd=/casper/initrd.lz debian-installer/locale=de_DE \ automatic-ubiquity noprompt quiet splash --
Modify the locale and name of the preseeding file. Make sure you boot into “automatic-ubiquity”. Use noprompt if you want to use ubiquity’s reboot-option in the preseed file.
Create the ISO
At this point, I don’t go any further. If you want to add packages, do so. But be warned that all the gpg stuff mentioned in the docs apply in that case.
mkisofs -o my_iso_file.iso -r -J -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table -b isolinux/isolinux.bin -c isolinux/boot.cat ./cd
Use Virtualbox for extensive testing. Burn at will. And: have fun!