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#1 2008-10-31 11:01:41

Dieter@be
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2006-11-05
Posts: 1,959
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AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

Hi all,
I would like to present to you: "AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework"

Goals:
1) to allow you to install Arch Linux in more flexible and powerful ways by using profiles, and combining logic from different profiles (also some common profiles like base,server etc could be delivered with the program already)
2) write an automated (unattended) installer for specific needs.
3) Provide functionality you can (re)use so you don't need to reinvent the wheel and make it more easy to maintain code, (eg the code in the official installers is very useful, but was not ready to be used by other scripts. this is why other users write install scripts from scratch or expect you to run the official installer first and then their script)
4) Still be very simple!

There are 4 phases (preparation, basics, system, finish), which can each invoke workers (to
get a package list, install packages, install boot loader etc etc).  The
workers and phases can be overridden by creating profiles.  You can also inject some things into variables, which will be picked up by the workers
(eg if you need svn for your automated installer, just stick it in the runtime packages variable)
Common functionality will be available to your profiles (eg the code from the official /arch/setup and /arch/quickinst are exposed as functions)
So the whole idea is you can create whatever installation procedure you like
(prescripted, autodetection, interactive,...) and you can combine
functionality from different profiles and you can reuse lots of code.

Sources & Documentation :
http://github.com/Dieterbe/aif


Keep it mind it's still very, very early in development.  It doesn't
work yet, but if you look at the code you'll see the basic ideas (and
the code is maybe simpler then the explanation).

Right now I'll focus on building an automated, prescripted installer for
myself, while making the functionality of the official installers more generic and reusable.
When we get that far, creating your own installation methods by reusing whatever you want (or even just porting the official installer to fifa) will be easy.

What about these similar projects?:
- http://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=56863&p=3 "Automatic installer" -> aimed for 1 installer that compromises between letting user decide some basic things and automatically guessing specific 'under-the-hood' settings.  The author has shown some interest in my project, but I'm still awaiting more info from him
- http://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=56133 'Tweaker' -> an automated installer similar to the prescripted installer part of fifa, but created to be run *after* the official installer.  So you need to go through the official installer first.  I also don't agree with some design choices (eg hardcoding package lists etc in the scripts, throwing lots different things together in 1 script etc)

update: name change fifa -> aif

Last edited by Dieter@be (2008-11-15 16:03:36)


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#2 2008-11-14 12:48:20

Dieter@be
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2006-11-05
Posts: 1,959
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

bump.  Lot's of stuff has changed.

The /arch/setup is now ported to the new framework and most of the big refactoring is done.
I've been trying different combinations in virtualbox (cdrom / ftp install, automatic partitioning / manual partitioning/mounting, 'crazy' fs'es like xfs, jfs etc...) and it all seems to work.  (eg the new installer produces an arch installation that boots and works in all tested procedures)

The arch devs are pretty enthousiastic and would like this to become the new default installer in the future ( See thread http://www.nabble.com/Fifa:-Flexible-In … 56427.html )
We're not quite there yet though.  I need people to look at the code, try it out and give me feedback/report bugs.  (bugs can be reported here, there is no category on flyspray yet)

The code & docs are still at http://github.com/Dieterbe/aif
I made a README which explains a lot I think, and also a HOWTO that explains how you can test it when booted from the official install cd. (on a real system or under virtualbox)

Thanks,
Dieter

Last edited by Dieter@be (2008-11-15 16:04:03)


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#3 2008-12-14 20:32:34

Dieter@be
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2006-11-05
Posts: 1,959
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

Some teasers for the upcoming release...
features:
- working support for LVM and dm_crypt
- rollback functionality: if you change your mind after formatting, creating LVM etc. everything can get rolled back automatically so you can start over ( still need to fix a few glitches)
- fully transparant UI code, so you can run installers in dialog (ncurses) and CLI mode.
- and more...

aif-alpha_0.6-disks-overview-dia.png
aif-alpha_0.6-disks-processing-dia.png
aif-alpha_0.6-autoprepare_processed-cli.png

Last edited by Dieter@be (2008-12-14 20:55:20)


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#4 2008-12-14 21:19:04

fukawi2
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From: .vic.au
Registered: 2007-09-28
Posts: 5,304
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

Wow, looks good mate... Will have to give this a short next time I have a box to install smile

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#5 2008-12-17 09:28:50

Dieter@be
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2006-11-05
Posts: 1,959
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

fukawi2 wrote:

Wow, looks good mate... Will have to give this a short next time I have a box to install smile

Thanks, and good smile The installer will be included on the next arch release smile

I released alpha-0.6.  For the full announcement, see http://dieter.plaetinck.be/new_AIF_release
I also created a new screenshot which shows off the rollback feature:
aif-alpha_0.6-disks-rollback-dia.png

Last edited by Dieter@be (2008-12-17 09:30:16)


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#6 2009-01-21 20:17:47

LTSmash
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From: Aguascalientes - Mexico
Registered: 2008-01-02
Posts: 348
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

So, is this already working?


Proud Ex-Arch user.
Still an ArchLinux lover though.

Currently on Kubuntu 9.10

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#7 2009-01-21 20:55:42

ndlarsen
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From: Denmark
Registered: 2005-11-02
Posts: 157

Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

I'm really looking forward to this, sure looks like you did a great job.


I made it long
as I lacked the time to make it short...

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#8 2009-01-22 21:44:40

Dieter@be
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2006-11-05
Posts: 1,959
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

LTSmash wrote:

So, is this already working?

Well I tested it in various combo's (cd install/ftp install/automatic disk partioning/manual with lvm/encrypt/normal etc) and it works for me.
There are probably some bugs in it, but since aif will be included on 2009-01 you'll be able to test it yourself (actually you can test it already by booting 2008-05 and installing the aif package on it)


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#9 2009-01-22 21:45:49

Dieter@be
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From: Belgium
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Posts: 1,959
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

ndlarsen wrote:

I'm really looking forward to this, sure looks like you did a great job.

Thanks!


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#10 2009-02-22 08:59:41

Dieter@be
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2006-11-05
Posts: 1,959
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

I successfully installed the first "production" box using 2009.02 & AIF yesterday smile
A few blown LVM install for my mom (who is self employed).  I had one little issue with the grub menu.lst entry not being updated automatically (known bug) but other than that, it worked great big_smile


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#11 2009-03-14 10:24:35

Dieter@be
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2006-11-05
Posts: 1,959
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

For those interested: you can now also do fully automatic installations with aif
I made a generic sample config ( see http://projects.archlinux.org/?p=aif.gi … perimental )

If you run it (aif -p automatic -d -c /usr/share/aif/examples/generic-install-on-sda ) it will install a full base install on your /dev/sda.

PS: aif is on track to be the new official installer on the next release.


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#12 2009-03-14 12:17:15

Daenyth
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From: Boston, MA
Registered: 2008-02-24
Posts: 1,244

Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

Keep up the awesome prolific work Dieter! big_smile

Very nice, I suspect that the next time I need to install arch, AIF will be on the install media... should be quite good by then.

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#13 2009-03-22 16:17:10

smartboyathome
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From: $HOME
Registered: 2007-12-23
Posts: 334
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

I tried building a package for aif-git today, and it seems that the PKGBUILD is broken, as I get "cp: cannot stat `src/runtime': No such file or directory". Perhaps the PKGBUILD needs to be fixed?

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#14 2009-03-22 16:27:09

Dieter@be
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2006-11-05
Posts: 1,959
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

Oops, you're right.  It's fixed now.


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#15 2009-03-22 16:37:08

Xyne
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Registered: 2008-08-03
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

*subscribes*

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#16 2009-04-12 19:34:07

Dieter@be
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2006-11-05
Posts: 1,959
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

There is a new package in extra now (2009.04.08), so on any arch installation medium you can just do "pacman -Sy aif" to try out the most recent aif stable release.


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#17 2009-07-09 20:45:48

Anonymo
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Posts: 421
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

Any newer step by step pictures of this installer, I see the alpha images are ready, might try them out this weekend if there is time.

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#18 2009-07-10 16:04:38

Dieter@be
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2006-11-05
Posts: 1,959
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

Anonymo wrote:

Any newer step by step pictures of this installer

no. UI wise not much has changed.


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#19 2009-09-29 02:15:25

kdas
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Registered: 2009-09-29
Posts: 3

Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

Awesome!!
I am suprised that this forum has been hit a million times. I wanna show my support and i would also like to make a request. The request is that aif should have a lil script that can grab the state of your box and make a profile out of it. If you like i can work with you on it. I am swamped with school but any free time i have i will help. Also, I would like to help with a gui.

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#20 2009-09-29 11:35:13

Nezmer
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Registered: 2008-10-24
Posts: 559
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

kdas wrote:

Awesome!!
I am suprised that this forum has been hit a million times. I wanna show my support and i would also like to make a request. The request is that aif should have a lil script that can grab the state of your box and make a profile out of it. If you like i can work with you on it. I am swamped with school but any free time i have i will help. Also, I would like to help with a gui.

http://bugs.archlinux.org/index.php?project=6
http://mailman.archlinux.org/mailman/li … rch-releng


English is not my native language .

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#21 2009-09-29 14:32:37

smartboyathome
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From: $HOME
Registered: 2007-12-23
Posts: 334
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

kdas wrote:

Awesome!!
I am suprised that this forum has been hit a million times. I wanna show my support and i would also like to make a request. The request is that aif should have a lil script that can grab the state of your box and make a profile out of it. If you like i can work with you on it. I am swamped with school but any free time i have i will help. Also, I would like to help with a gui.

You can always use Larchify (part of Larch) to do that. smile

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#22 2009-09-29 19:29:44

Dieter@be
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2006-11-05
Posts: 1,959
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

smartboyathome wrote:
kdas wrote:

Awesome!!
I am suprised that this forum has been hit a million times. I wanna show my support and i would also like to make a request. The request is that aif should have a lil script that can grab the state of your box and make a profile out of it. If you like i can work with you on it. I am swamped with school but any free time i have i will help. Also, I would like to help with a gui.

You can always use Larchify (part of Larch) to do that. smile

I don't think larchify does that, but i never used it.

anyway, what I do: i keep my $HOME and /etc in svn, and i have a script that generates a package list, list of installed rubygems etc. and puts that data in svn as well.
based on all that i can do an automatic install with a profile like this http://github.com/Dieterbe/aif/blob/mas … ticprofile (this is still a work in progress!)


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#23 2009-10-01 15:48:09

V01D
Member
Registered: 2006-07-18
Posts: 128

Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

Hi,
I'm the author of the agonizing project named "archcluster". The idea of that project was to add support to arch to enable automated installations a-la kickstart (from redhat). I had this need because I work as a HPC cluster sysadmin and originally RocksClusters (CentOS based) was installed and I've wanted to get rid of it because of multiple reasons. Currently my "archcluster" system is running the cluster, but it is a pain when I need to perform an upgrade (I do this every 6 or 12 months to reduce problems).

Now, it seems that I could use AIF to do the same thing. The only feature I would be missing is a way for the machine to be installed to retrieve the configuration file from external media (I currently boot from PXE an initial ramdisk that autodetects network and then retrieves the configuration file from a webserver, which is dynamically generated based on the MAC address of the node) and start the installation with it. I'm aware I could easily do this on my own (in fact, that is what I've been doing so far) but the maintenance effort is greater than I can handle.
So what I'm asking is that if there is any interest on providing this feature? Specifically, I'm talking about the image that simply autodetects network and uses wget or something to retrieve the configuration file over the network. The part related to the dynamical generation of the configuration file I can handle easily (I've written some simple Ruby CGI scripts that read XML configuration files to determine how to create the final configuration file read by the installer).

Matt

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#24 2009-10-01 20:07:18

Dieter@be
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2006-11-05
Posts: 1,959
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Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

V01D wrote:

Hi,
I'm the author of the agonizing project named "archcluster". The idea of that project was to add support to arch to enable automated installations a-la kickstart (from redhat). I had this need because I work as a HPC cluster sysadmin and originally RocksClusters (CentOS based) was installed and I've wanted to get rid of it because of multiple reasons. Currently my "archcluster" system is running the cluster, but it is a pain when I need to perform an upgrade (I do this every 6 or 12 months to reduce problems).

Now, it seems that I could use AIF to do the same thing. The only feature I would be missing is a way for the machine to be installed to retrieve the configuration file from external media (I currently boot from PXE an initial ramdisk that autodetects network and then retrieves the configuration file from a webserver, which is dynamically generated based on the MAC address of the node) and start the installation with it. I'm aware I could easily do this on my own (in fact, that is what I've been doing so far) but the maintenance effort is greater than I can handle.
So what I'm asking is that if there is any interest on providing this feature? Specifically, I'm talking about the image that simply autodetects network and uses wget or something to retrieve the configuration file over the network. The part related to the dynamical generation of the configuration file I can handle easily (I've written some simple Ruby CGI scripts that read XML configuration files to determine how to create the final configuration file read by the installer).

Matt

Well I'm not sure what exactly your problem is.  It's definitely easy to have an AIF profile and let it wget/svn export/.. a config file from somewhere.  "Autodetecting network" should only be a matter of doing a 'dhcpcd eth0' during boot. (which you should be able to do to configure dhcp for eth0 in rc.conf in the image and having 'network' in the DAEMONS array)
you will need to build custom (pxe) images to do that stuff automatically, but i guess that's not your problem as you already succeeded at that.


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#25 2009-10-02 00:57:00

kdas
Member
Registered: 2009-09-29
Posts: 3

Re: AIF: the Arch Linux Installation Framework

Is there a place where there some documentation? I looked through arch-wiki and did not find anything of how to create automatic profiles etc.

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