Automating FreeBSD Installation(s)...

Atle Veka atlev at
Mon Sep 20 16:45:05 PDT 2004

I put together a setup for work a while back that make OS installs
a breeze and avoids the problem of install differences (we used to do
manual installs by the way of step by step documentation).

Basically what it consists of is a stripped down kernel that supports
whatever hardware we may have, kern and mfsroot images for the
distribution in question, and an install.cfg sysinstall config. The
scripts either build floppy images for a new machine install that doesn't
require user input; or a FreeBSD package that you apply, reboot, and when
you log in again the system has a fresh FreeBSD install. The latter comes
in handy when reinstalling machines 4000 miles away without any remote
hands. :)

The sysinstall config lets you specify what type of install you want
(kernel source install, X install, etc) or you can build your own. You can
also add individual packages.

The setup has worked very well for us, a typical install/reinstall takes
about 5 minutes.

Flying Crocodile Inc, Unix Systems Administrator

On Sun, 19 Sep 2004 freebsd-questions-request at wrote:

> Message: 16
> Date: Sat, 18 Sep 2004 16:11:06 -0400
> From: Forrest Aldrich <forrie at>
> Subject: Automating FreeBSD Installation(s)...
> To: freebsd-questions at
> Message-ID: <414C965A.6060101 at>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> I've read several articles out there that address different means to
> automate (or standardize, for internal purposes) FreeBSD
> installations.   One article (which was older) spoke of scripting
> sysinstall via an install.cfg with some custom pkg modules to do
> edits.   The other, exploiting the PXE capability of the newer (Intel) NICs.
> I'm interested in what people are doing now - what has had the better
> success rate, etc.    I realize this is all dependent upon one's
> environment - mine will be more ISP-related, but will require some
> flexibility for different servers.
> I've also heard of people utilizing GNU CFEngine for this type of
> procedure, which I find interesting - it's a complex package, but seems
> to be very functional if you have time/patience to apply it.
> Thanks...

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