How many ways can you install Linux? Quite a few. You can install via:
Technically InstaLinux is really just another way of doing a network installation. InstaLinux is a web-based service that allows you to choose some of the specifics of what you want on your installation and then it creates an ISO image that will handle the network install specifics. Using InstaLinux automates your installation so you just pop in the CD, boot the machine, and let the installation take place. Let's take a look at the specifics.
You don't need much. You need to be able to point your browser to the InstaLinux site and you need to have a CD burner to burn the network-install CD InstaLinux will create. You will also need a DHCP server (or router) able to hand out DHCP addresses if you don't want to set this machine up with a static address. Once you have everything you need, you can go ahead and start building your install CD.
The first step (shown in Figure 1) asks the following:
* Select a hostname (not required, especially if you are building a desktop distribution or using DHCP).
* Select if you want to force DHCP and use the configured hostname (using DDNS).
* Select a distribution to build upon.
* Select the version of the distribution.
Select the architecture the distribution will be built upon.
This next step is all about the installation method. In this step you need to configure:
* System profile: Most likely you will only have one option to choose here (Custom).
* Install method: Again, you will most likely have only one option (HTTP).
* Boot image: This will depend upon which distribution you have chosen. For example, if you choose Debian you will see the Debian preseed boot image as your only choice.
* Network Interface: Choose which networking interface will be used to download the install files.
* Proxy server: Configure your proxy if necessary.
This step is all about localization for your installation. Here you will configure:
* Waystation: Where you will download from.
* Hardware clock set to UTC: Yes/No
* Console layout: Language for the console.
This step is where you choose the type of installation you will want as well as the individual packages you want to install. Note the lack of menus or clickables for packages. That's right. In the text area you list the packages you want to install. Because of this you will need to know exactly what you want installed on your machine. You will really only need this feature if you know there are packages that are not on the default package list for your system. For example, here you can see a listing of the packages involved in a Ubuntu Desktop installation. You will also have to choose your partitioning method. If you want to have a fully automated installation you will need to select any of the methods but the last one.
This is the final step before confirmation. Here you need to choose where the install will go. On my system this is hda or the first IDE drive. This choice will depend upon your hardware.
Once you have made this choice click the "Continue" button which will reveal to you the confirmation screen. Go over the information presented to you and, if it is correct, click the "Go for it!" button. Once the InstaLinux system is done creating your ISO image you can click on the link to download the image. This image should be less than 30 Mb.
I have used this for a couple of different distributions. For the Debian install image I was prompted to create a root and user loging/password. For the Ubuntu desktop I was not. So some of the distribution steps will be a little different than others. The steps you see above were for a Ubuntu Desktop image.
Also remember you will pulling a lot of packages down from the net, so make sure you have a fast, solid connection.
Once you have burned your image onto CD, put the CD into the drive you want to install the operating system on, boot the machine, and at the prompt type "install" (no quotes). The installation of your Linux distribution should be fully automated.
If you are looking for a simple way to create an automated Linux installation, InstaLinux makes this process as simple as it gets. Give it a go and let us know what your experience is like.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.