Scripted Install of Ubuntu Linux on old hardware

(Andy Wootton) #1

History: I used to be a specialist in ‘system management’ (sysadmin) of Digital VAX/VMS systems. I started using Linux with the intention of re-training to Unix sysadmin and joined Wolves Linux User Group where I encountered the shiny new Ubuntu. I’ve used it ever since but a change in career direction meant I never actually became any good at Linux sysadmin. I use it because it.s as easy as anything else and I enjoy the greater Freedom.

I’ve noticed that people here install things on hardware and VMs using all manner of tools that I have no experience of. I’ve always been below the threshold number of similar systems that justify the effort of automation BUT:

I have a couple of boxen that no longer meet the Ubuntu minimum hardware spec. I want Ubuntu with LXDE but not the LXDE apps. I’m going to have to do custom builds that might need to be repeated until I get them right. Can anyone recommend a good way of approaching this? Which Ubuntu base would you start from and how would you script it? If I wanted to move it to a Cloud etc. platform later, could I or do you do things differently there? I suspect you start with a pre-built system.

(Andy Wootton) #2

On Slack #devops, @alexrussell said: to answer quite quickly, I’m pretty sure the “usual” provisioning tools like puppet, ansible and chef will do the kind of things you want. I’ve never used any of these personally and only know of them being used to get a VM from freshly-installed to production-like environment for development in a Vagrant situation before, but my recommendation here would be Ansible.

But there’s also automatic installation built into Ubuntu ( and a tool that generates a custom Ubuntu instllation ISO for you (

The auto-install was my first thought but I don’t have the resources to do a standard install to create a ‘pattern’ that I can modify.