FAI Guide (Fully Automatic Installation)

Revision History
Revision 3.0.6Thu, 21 Jul 2011 11TL
31:35 +0200

Table of Contents

2. Introduction
2.1. Availability
2.2. Motivation
2.3. Overview and concepts
2.4. How does FAI work
2.5. Features
3. Quickstart - For the impatient user
4. Installing FAI
4.1. Requirements
4.2. How to create a local Debian mirror
4.3. Setting up FAI
4.4. Troubleshooting the setup
5. Preparing booting
5.1. Booting from network card with a PXE conforming boot ROM
5.2. Creating a boot floppy
5.3. Booting from a CD-ROM
5.4. Booting from USB stick
5.5. Collecting Ethernet addresses
5.6. Configuration of the DHCP daemon
5.7. Boot messages
5.8. Collecting other system information
5.9. Checking parameters from DHCP servers
5.10. Rebooting the computer
6. Overview of the installation sequence
6.1. Monitoring the installation
6.2. Booting the kernel
6.3. Start and set up FAI
6.4. Defining classes, variables and loading kernel modules
6.5. Partitioning local disks, creating file systems
6.6. Installing software packages
6.7. Site specific customization
6.8. Automated tests
6.9. Save log files
6.10. Reboot the new installed system
7. Plan your installation, and FAI installs your plans
8. Installation details
8.1. The configuration space
8.2. The default tasks
8.3. The setup routines of the install clients
8.4. The class concept
8.5. Defining classes
8.6. Defining variables
8.7. Hard disk configuration
8.8. Software package configuration
8.9. Customization scripts in $FAI/scripts
8.10. Changing the boot device
8.11. Hooks
8.12. Looking for errors
8.13. Log files
9. How to build a Beowulf cluster using FAI
9.1. Planning the Beowulf setup
9.2. Set up the master server
9.3. Tools for Beowulf clusters
9.4. Wake on LAN with 3Com network cards
10. FAI on other architectures
10.1. How to install i386 systems from an amd64 system
10.2. FAI on PowerPC
10.3. FAI on IA64
10.4. Installing other distributions using a Debian nfsroot
10.5. FAI for Ubuntu, Suse, Redhat and Gentoo
10.6. FAI on SUN SPARC hardware running Linux
10.7. FAI for Solaris
11. Advanced FAI
11.1. Creating chroot and virtualization environments
11.2. Using FAI for updates
12. Various hints


This documentation describes FAI version 3.3. Read /usr/share/doc/fai-doc/NEWS.Debian.gz for later changes.



FAI is a non-interactive system to install, customize and manage Linux systems and software configurations on computers as well as virtual machines and chroot environments, from small networks to large infrastructures and clusters.

This manual describes the Fully Automatic Installation package. This includes the installation of the package, planning and creating of the configuration and how to deal with errors.

(c) 2000-2011 Thomas Lange

(c) 2005 Henning Glawe

Copyright. This manual is free software; you may redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option) any later version.

This is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but without any warranty; without even the implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

A copy of the GNU General Public License is available as /usr/share/common-licenses/GPL in the Debian GNU/Linux distribution or on the World Wide Web at the GNU website You can also obtain it by writing to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA