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Right now, to do a remote re-install or upgrade on a running Fedora system, you could do something like this:

  1. Copy images/pxeboot/vmlinuz and images/pxeboot/initrd.img to the target system and massage /boot/grub/grub.conf to include a section for them with the appropriate anaconda options.
  2. Reboot the system.
  3. Either remotely control the install with VNC, or pray that kickstart works correctly.

HP-UX has a tool called Ignite-UX which, among other things, can be used to start and monitor remote installs. It makes it possible to easily manage dozens of installs. explains how, with screenshots.

Fedora currently has kickstart support in anaconda for automating installs and the system-config-kickstart GUI for building kickstart configs. All that Fedora is lacking to have a tool like Ignite-UX is a basic GUI (that probably could be based on system-config-kickstart) and some way of getting status from anaconda remotely. A way to also control anaconda remotely (to do things like abort an install/upgrade, answer certain prompts, etc.) would be ideal.

With a system like this, a remote re-install or upgrade would be as simple as this:

  1. Add the system to the GUI as a target.
  2. Select install/upgrade in the GUI.
  3. Answer some basic questions (for example, pick a install type such as server/workstation/whatever).
  4. Sit back and watch.

It seems like there should be a way to manage (or at least monitor) random PXE installs (not started from the GUI) as well.

It might be interesting to look into sharing ideas/code with some of the Xen provisioning tools.

- StevenPritchard