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Anaconda Updates

anaconda has the capability to incorporate updates at runtime to fix any bugs or issues with the installer. These updates are generally distributed as a disk image file (referred to as updates.img from here on out). The updates.img can be used in a few different ways.

Updates types

There are a number of sources for the updates.

Updates from a disk image

The most common way of using an updates.img is to put it on a block device (either a floppy or a USB key). For a floppy drive, insert your floppy and then run

 dd if=updates.img of=/dev/fd0 bs=72k count=20

to put the contents of the image on your floppy. Then, boot the installer with

 linux updates

and you will be prompted to provide the location of your update disk.

You can also use a USB key or flash media -- just replace /dev/fd0 with the device that your USB key is at.

Updates from the Tree

If you're doing a network installation, you can also put the updates.img in your tree to be picked up by all installs from that tree. For Fedora Core 6 and later, put the file as images/updates.img in your Fedora installation tree. Earlier releases look in Fedora/base/updates.img.

Updates from the Network

If you're doing a network install and cannot modify your installation tree, you can place an updates.img in another location and boot with

 linux updates=

to load the updates.img from a remote web server.

If you have multiple network interfaces, anaconda will first prompt you to select one (unless you have used the ksdevice= boot parameter). It will then attempt to configure this link using DHCP. If you require other networking configuration, you will need to use various options. ksdevice= can be used to specify a different network device, and the ip= option (along with others for gateway, nameserver, and so forth) can be used for static configuration. All anaconda config options are described elsewhere .

How to Create an Anaconda Updates Image

If you are working on anaconda or looking at a bug and want to test your own bug fixes, it's easy to create your own updates.img file. There are two formats for the updates.img file. The first, and most common, is a gzip-compressed ext2 filesystem. The second is a gzip-compressed cpio archive.

Just do the following steps.

For a compressed ext2 filesystem image (requires root privileges):

  •  dd if=/dev/zero of=updates.img bs=1k count=1440

mke2fs updates.img

mount -o loop updates.img /mnt

  • Drop updated anaconda python files in a flat directory structure
  • umount /mnt

For a compressed cpio archive (does not require root privileges):

  • Drop updated anaconda files in a flat directory structure, eg: /tmp/updates
  •  (cd /tmp/updates ; find -type f | cpio -c -o) | gzip -c9 > updates.img

And then you have an updates.img!

How to Examine an Anaconda Updates Image

updates.img files provided by the Fedora project are ext3 filesystem images. To examine one of these files complete the following steps:

1. Obtain an updates.image:


1. Mount the file using looopback:

mount -o loop updates-f7t2.img /misc

To examine a cpio updates.img complete the following steps:

1. create a top level directory to hold the updates.img contents:

 mkdir /tmp/updates

2. unpack the updates into the directory:

 zcat updates.img | (cd /tmp/updates ; cpio -ivd)