[Beowulf-announce] new release FAI 2.3

Thomas Lange lange at informatik.uni-koeln.de
Thu Apr 11 10:36:02 PDT 2002

FAI release 2.3 available !

FAI is an automated system to install a Debian GNU/Linux operating system on a PC cluster. You can take one or more virgin PCs, turn on the power and after a few minutes Linux is installed, configured and running on the whole cluster, without any interaction necessary. Thus it's a scalable method for installing and updating a Beowulf cluster or a network of workstations unattended with little effort involved. FAI uses the Debian distribution and a collection of shell- and Perl-scripts for the installation process. Changes to the configuration files of the operating system are made by cfengine, shell and Perl scripts. Using FAI, an unattended and fully automated installation of a Linux cluster which consists of 16 dual Pentium PC's and a Beowulf cluster with 20 AMD 1 GHz nodes was performed.

The next release of FAI is available. FAI 2.3 is tested with Debian
3.0 aka woody. There are many improvement included. The documentation
is not yet up to date, but this will come next.

The package is available at the FAI homepage


and also on the Debian mirrors in a few hours/days. Many thanks to all
how helped me with bug fixes, questions and testing! Have a look at
the THANKS file.

P.S: Debian 2.2 aka potato is only supported by FAI 2.3pre available at the
fai homepage.

New in FAI 2.3

    - all default configurations are for Debian 3.0 aka woody
    - /etc/fai.conf moved to /etc/fai/fai.conf
    - moved some variables from fai.conf to class/*.var
    - add FAI_DEBOOTSTRAP_OPTS to fai.conf
    - temporary files are stored to $LOGDIR (default to /tmp/fai/),
      can be set in fai.conf using mktemp if desired
    - log files for every new run are stored in a separate directory,
      last-$FAI_ACTION is pointing to the last log directory 
    - if a task is skipped, also all its hooks are skipped
    - uname -s in uppercase is also a default class
    - all class/S[0-9]*.source scripts are sourced
    - hooks that end in .source are sourced (formerly .sh), so they
      can define variables
    - new adddivert routine; make a diversion for a file and add it to
      the list of all diversions; you need not care about removing the
      diversion; the finish task will do this for you
    - class/*.mod files can now define variables
    - new examples class/S30menu.source (was hook/install.MENU)
    - /fai can be a different location using $FAI in fai.conf
    - /fai can be retrieved from a CVS repository: (see variables
    - /etc/apt/preferences will be copied to nfsroot
    - additional manual pages for fai-setup, make-fai-nfsroot,
      make-fai-bootfloppy, install_packages
    - setup_harddisks: called with option -d (DOS alignment)
      support for ext3 and disk controllers using /dev/ida/, /dev/rd/
      and /dev/cciss (Compaq SMART2 raid array and Mylex DAC960 PCI
      RAID controller)
    - make-fai-bootfloppy can write to a file, creates environment for
      DHCP using pxelinux, does not copy System.map to floppy (now
      more space left for the kernel image), new option -s
    - bootpc and dhcp request will use only active network devices
      ($netdevices_up determined by netdevice_info()) by default,
      which can be overwritten with $netdevices 
    - add a hint how to set up the kernel automounter for scratch
    - fcopy skips CVS directories, executes postinst script if file
      was copied, new options -L and -P
    - added prtnetgr script which prints a flat list of all hosts
      belonging to a netgroup
    - execute all /fai/scripts/$class/S[0-9]* scripts if this
      directory exists, so it's possible to execute multiple scripts
      for one class; see examples in scripts/NETWORK/ and scripts/DEFAULT/
    - use shm (was tmpfs) for ramdisk if available
    - mkdebmirror uses passive ftp mode
    - task sysinfo calls kudzu
    - added THANKS file

Gruss Thomas

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