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Re: kickstart configuration file testers?



> > Does anyone know of a good way (or better yet, a tool!) to test kickstart 
> > configuration files without having to reboot and rebuild a machine?  It's 
> > extraordinarily time consuming to reboot a machine with a kickstart 
> > configuration file that may not work.
> 
> Yes, the pykickstart package (which is in FC5test1 and is what
> implements the kickstart parsing) includes a ksvalidator program.  This
> program can check the syntax of your kickstart file, that you're
> providing required options, and so forth.  It cannot check the validity
> of your package set, correctness of any scripts you have, or that your
> partition layout works.

For those areas where a validator won't solve the problem, a better
approach to writing kickstart scripts can help.

Over some years, I've seen just about everything possible go wrong with
kickstart scripts, even those that have been working fine for a long
time.  You WILL spend a lot of time rebooting to troubleshoot new
kickstart scripts, or new problems with existing kickstart scripts, if
you don't allow interactive opportunities in kickstart in the event of
errors.  (I think this should be formalized and built into kickstart
handling, perhaps as an option.)

It saves enormous time and effort in the long run, if you check for
errors and desired outcome at every step of your kickstart script, and
in the event of failure or unexpected results, open up an interactive
shell.  

Someone better than me should do this in a pretty way with exception
handlers and python and dialog windows.  I just switch to the text
console on alt-F3 for my %post and %pre sections, and run sh in the
event of a problem, usually with a suggestion as to what failed, what
might be tried.  You get a command prompt and can find out what went
wrong, perhaps right it then and there, and very possibly finish the
install successfully with an accurate idea of how to change your
kickstart file for the next time. 

I can't imagine going back to the 'blackbox' kickstart file.  I really
believe every kickstart developer's quality of life would improve if
this capability were native and configurable in kickstart/anaconda.  

-Ed


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