[nycbug-talk] BSD Auto-Deployment Solutions

Miles Nordin carton at Ivy.NET
Sun Jun 7 22:38:53 EDT 2009

>>>>> "hg" == H G <tekronis at gmail.com> writes:

    hg> Rehat has Kickstart, SuSE has AutoYast, Solaris has Jumpstart

haven't used the other two but Jumpstart is a pain in my ass.  It's
very possible to install Solaris by:

 1. netboot installee off another Solaris box

 2. partition disk, installboot, then fssnap+ufsrestore or 'zfs recv'
    filesystem from any other working Solaris box

however you cannot get the ufsdump / 'zfs send' image in any trivial
way---the only way to unlock the bits is to cold-boot the installer on
raw hardware, or use liveupgrade.  Instead of being a simple .tar.gz,
the distribution format of Solaris is a mess of SVR4 packages with
dependencies expressed in multiple legacy ways---for example you must
install in ``package cluster'' granularity, then individual packages
depend on each other in some way noted within the package but
incompletely, then there are ``language options'' (which are further
grouped into ``geographic'' clusters), and finally it matters in what
*ORDER* the packages are installed because they have pre/post-install
shell scripts that do arbitrarily complicated things.  

Jumpstart is this repository of rickety ancient abandonware that
accomplishes all these hairy rules to turn a wheelbarrow of chaotic
packages into, basically, a .tar.gz of '/'.  If it really did JUST
this transformation, .iso -> .tar, it would merely be baroque and
silly, but it does more---it checks for disk space, partition layout,
``non-removeable'' disks (which are defined in a completely arbitrary
way and completely orthogonal to ``hot swap''), amount of free RAM,
u.s.w., and it insists on running on a cold-booted machine not from a
shell prompt.  The whole thing looks to me like an excuse to keep QA
people employed.

Once you've jumpstarted one system, it's totally possible to
sys-unconfig it and replicate it onto other systems using
tar/cpio/dumprestore/sendrecv.  You can do it yourself with no help
from their ``tools'', but they even have an official (cpio-based I
think) facility for doing this called FLAR.  Jumpstart can use flar,
but does not have to.  The fact that both FLAR and jumpstart exist, I
find the height of ridiculousness---if you have FLAR already,
jumpstart ought to be made out of:

 1. an understandable set of commands for installing from [bag of
    packages] into /export/newsystem

 2. FLAR, with ability to create archives from /export/newsystem

however this is not the case!

but whatever.  In Germany you have to do a 5-year apprenticeship to
sweep chimneys, and here you have to learn Jumpstart and FLAR to get a
Solaris job.  I did both in one saturday.  complete waste of time.
all moy Solaris boxes running now are made from 
ufsdump/ufsrestore/installboot media, on filesystems and partition
layouts that the official installer would reject.

oh did i mention there is also liveupgrade.

and for opensolaris they have thrown out the whole bag of this stuff
(jumpstart, flar, and liveupgrade) and replaced it with some ian
murdock retardedness that installs systems which are missing all kinds
of man pages.

these tools are meant to pander to retards, and it's really a disaster
for everyone else.  don't wish for same.  just wish for proper pxe
booting and the possibility to install into a chroot.
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