Kickstart Options

The following options can be placed in a kickstart file.

auth — Authentication Options

auth (required)

Sets up the authentication options for the system. It's similar to the authconfig command, which can be run after the install. By default, passwords are normally encrypted and are not shadowed.


Use md5 encryption for user passwords.


Turns on NIS support. By default, --enablenis uses whatever domain it finds on the network. A domain should almost always be set by hand (via --nisdomain).


NIS domain name to use for NIS services.


Server to use for NIS services (broadcasts by default).


Use shadow passwords.


Turns on LDAP support in /etc/nsswitch.conf, allowing your system to retrieve information about users (UIDs, home directories, shells, etc.) from an LDAP directory. To use this option, you must have the nss_ldap package installed. You must also specify a server and a base DN.


Use LDAP as an authentication method. This enables the pam_ldap module for authentication and changing passwords, using an LDAP directory. To use this option, you must have the nss_ldap package installed. You must also specify a server and a base DN.


The name of the LDAP server to use, if you specified either --enableldap or --enableldapauth. This option is set in the /etc/ldap.conf file.


The DN (distinguished name) in your LDAP directory tree under which user information is stored. This option is set in the /etc/ldap.conf file.


Use Kerberos 5 for authenticating users. Kerberos itself does not know about home directories, UIDs, or shells. So if you enable Kerberos you will need to make users' accounts known to this workstation by enabling LDAP, NIS, or Hesiod or by using the /usr/sbin/useradd command to make their accounts known to this workstation. If you use this option, you must have the pam_krb5 package installed.


The Kerberos 5 realm to which your workstation belongs.


The KDC (or KDCs) that serve requests for the realm. If you have multiple KDCs in your realm, separate their names with commas (,).


The KDC in your realm that is also running kadmind. This server handles password changing and other administrative requests. This server must be run on the master KDC if you have more than one KDC.


Enable Hesiod support for looking up user home directories, UIDs, and shells. More information on setting up and using Hesiod on your network is in /usr/share/doc/glibc-2.x.x/README.hesiod, which is included in the glibc package. Hesiod is an extension of DNS that uses DNS records to store information about users, groups, and various other items.


The Hesiod LHS ("left-hand side") option, set in /etc/hesiod.conf. This option is used by the Hesiod library to determine the name to search DNS for when looking up information, similar to LDAP's use of a base DN.


The Hesiod RHS ("right-hand side") option, set in /etc/hesiod.conf. This option is used by the Hesiod library to determine the name to search DNS for when looking up information, similar to LDAP's use of a base DN.


To look up user information for "jim", the Hesiod library looks up jim.passwd<LHS><RHS>, which should resolve to a TXT record that looks like what his passwd entry would look like (jim:*:501:501:Jungle Jim:/home/jim:/bin/bash). For groups, the situation is identical, except<LHS><RHS> would be used.

Looking up users and groups by number is handled by making "501.uid" a CNAME for "jim.passwd", and "501.gid" a CNAME for "". Note that the LHS and RHS do not have periods [.] put in front of them when the library determines the name for which to search, so the LHS and RHS usually begin with periods.

clearpart — Removing Partitions Based On Partition Type

clearpart (optional)

Removes partitions from the system, prior to creation of new partitions. By default, no partitions are removed.


Erases Linux (type 0x82, 0x83, and 0xfd [RAID]) partitions


Erases all partitions from the system.

device --opts

device (optional)

On most PCI systems, the installation program will autoprobe for Ethernet and SCSI cards properly. On older systems and some PCI systems, however, kickstart needs a hint to find the proper devices. The device command, which tells Anaconda to install extra modules, is in this format:

device <type> <moduleName> --opts <options>

<type> should be one of "scsi" or "eth", and <moduleName> is the name of the kernel module which should be installed.


Options to pass to the kernel module. Note that multiple options may be passed if they are put in quotes. For example:

--opts "aic152x=0x340 io=11"

Driver Disk

driverdisk (optional)

Driver disks can be used during kickstart installations. You will need to copy the driver disk's contents to the root directory of a partition on the system's hard drive. Then you will need to use the driverdisk command to tell the installation program where to look for the driver disk.

driverdisk <partition> [--type <fstype>]

<partition> is the partition containing the driver disk.


Filesystem type (for example, vfat or ext2).


firewall (optional)

Firewall options can be configured in kickstart. This configuration corresponds to the Firewall Configuration screen in the installation program.

firewall [--high | --medium | --disabled] [--trust <device>] [--dhcp] [--ssh]	[--telnet] [--smtp] [--http] [--ftp] [--port <portspec>]

Levels of security

Choose one of the following levels of security:

  • --high

  • --medium

  • --disabled

--trust <device>

Listing a device here, such as eth0, allows all traffic coming from that device to go through the firewall. To list more than one device, use --trust eth0 --trust eth1. Do NOT use a comma-separated format such as --trust eth0, eth1.

Allow incoming

Enabling these options allow the specified services to pass through the firewall.

  • --dhcp

  • --ssh

  • --telnet

  • --smtp

  • --http

  • --ftp

--port <portspec>

You can specify that ports be allowed through the firewall using the port:protocol format. For example, if you wanted to allow IMAP access through your firewall, you can specify imap:tcp. You can also specify numeric ports explicitly; for example, to allow UDP packets on port 1234 through, specify 1234:udp. To specify multiple ports, separate them by commas.


install (optional)

Tells the system to install a fresh system rather than upgrade an existing system. This is the default mode.

Installation Methods

You must use one of these four commands to specify what type of kickstart installation is being performed:


Install from the NFS server specified.

  • --server <server>

    Server from which to install (hostname or IP).

  • --dir <dir>

    Directory containing the Red Hat installation tree.

For example:

nfs --server <server> --dir <dir>

Install from the first CD-ROM drive on the system.

For example:


Install from a Red Hat installation tree on a local drive, which must be either vfat or ext2.

  • --partition <partition>

    Partition to install from (such as, sdb2).

  • --dir <dir>

    Directory containing the Red Hat installation tree.

For example:

harddrive --partition <partition> --dir <dir>

Install from a Red Hat installation tree on a remote server via FTP or HTTP.

For example:

url --url http://<server>/<dir>
url --url ftp://<username>:<password>@<servername>;/<dir>


keyboard (required)

Sets system keyboard type. Here's the list of available keyboards on i386 and Alpha machines:

azerty, be-latin1, be2-latin1, fr-latin0, fr-latin1, fr-pc, fr,
wangbe, ANSI-dvorak, dvorak-l, dvorak-r, dvorak, pc-dvorak-latin1,	      
tr_f-latin5, trf, bg, cf, cz-lat2-prog, cz-lat2, defkeymap,
defkeymap_V1.0, dk-latin1, dk. emacs, emacs2, es, fi-latin1, fi,
gr-pc, gr, hebrew, hu101, is-latin1, it-ibm, it, it2, jp106,
la-latin1, lt, lt.l4, nl, no-latin1, no, pc110, pl, pt-latin1,
pt-old, ro, ru-cp1251, ru-ms, ru-yawerty, ru, ru1, ru2, ru_win,
se-latin1, sk-prog-qwerty, sk-prog, sk-qwerty, tr_q-latin5, tralt,
trf, trq, ua, uk, us, croat, cz-us-qwertz, de-latin1-nodeadkeys,
de-latin1, de, fr_CH-latin1, fr_CH, hu, sg-latin1-lk450,
sg-latin1, sg, sk-prog-qwertz, sk-qwertz, slovene

Here's the list for SPARC machines:

sun-pl-altgraph, sun-pl, sundvorak, sunkeymap, sunt4-es,
sunt4-no-latin1, sunt5-cz-us, sunt5-de-latin1, sunt5-es,
sunt5-fi-latin1, sunt5-fr-latin1, sunt5-ru, sunt5-uk, sunt5-us-cz


lang (required)

Sets the default language for the installed system. The language you specify will be used during the installation and will be used to configure any language-specific aspect of the installed system. For example, to set the language to English, the kickstart file should contain the following line:

lang en_US

Valid languages codes are the following (please note that these are subject to change at any time):

cs_CZ, da_DK, en_US, fr_FR, de_DE, hu_HU, is_IS, it_IT,
ja_JP.eucJP, no_NO, ro_RO, sk_SK, sl_SI, sr_YU, es_ES,
ru_RU.KOI8-R, uk_UA.KOI8-U, sv_SE, tr_TR


lilo (required)

Specifies how the boot loader should be installed on the system. By default, LILO installs on the MBR of the first disk, and installs a dual-boot system if a DOS partition is found (the DOS/Windows system will boot if the user types dos at the LILO: prompt).

--append <params>

Specifies kernel parameters.


Use the linear LILO option; this is only for backwards compatibility (and linear is now used by default).


Use the nolinear LILO option; linear is now used by default.


Specifies where the LILO boot record is written. Valid values are the following: mbr (the default) or partition (installs the boot loader on the first sector of the partition containing the kernel). If no location is specified, LILO is not installed.


lilocheck (optional)

If lilocheck is present, the installation program checks for LILO on the MBR of the first hard drive, and reboots the system if it is found — in this case, no installation is performed. This can prevent kickstart from reinstalling an already installed system.


mouse (required)

Configures the mouse for the system, both in GUI and text modes. Options are:

--device <dev>

Device the mouse is on (such as --device ttyS0).


If present, simultaneous clicks on the left and right mouse buttons will be recognized as the middle mouse button by the X Window System. This option should not be used if you have a two button mouse.

After options, the mouse type may be specified as one of the following:

alpsps/2, ascii, asciips/2, atibm, generic, generic3,
genericps/2, generic3ps/2, geniusnm, geniusnmps/2,
geniusnsps/2, thinking, thinkingps/2, logitech,
logitechcc, logibm, logimman, logimmanps/2, logimman+,
logimman+ps/2, microsoft, msnew, msintelli, msintellips/2,
msbm, mousesystems, mmseries, mmhittab, sun, none

If the mouse command is given without any arguments, or it is omitted, the installation program will attempt to autodetect the mouse. This procedure works for most modern mice.


network (optional)

Configures network information for the system. If it is not given and the kickstart installation does not require networking (in other words, it's not installed over NFS), networking is not configured for the system. If the installation does require networking, the Red Hat Linux installation program assumes that the installation should be done over eth0 via a dynamic IP address (BOOTP/DHCP), and configures the final, installed system to dynamically determine its IP address. The network option configures networking information for kickstart installations via a network as well as for the installed system.


One of dhcp, bootp, or static (defaults to DHCP, and dhcp and bootp are treated the same). Must be static for static IP information to be used.

--device <device>

Used to select a specific Ethernet device for installation. Note that using --device <device> will not be effective unless the kickstart file is a local file (such as ks=floppy), since the installation program will configure the network to find the kickstart file. Example:
network --bootproto dhcp --device eth0


IP address for the machine to be installed.


Default gateway as an IP address.


Primary name server, as an IP address.


Netmask for the installed system.


Hostname for the installed system.

There are three different methods of network configuration:

  • DHCP


  • static

The DHCP method uses a DHCP server system to obtain its networking configuration. As you might guess, the BOOTP method is similar, requiring a BOOTP server to supply the networking configuration.

The static method requires that you enter all the required networking information in the kickstart file. As the name implies, this information is static, and will be used during the installation, and after the installation as well.

To direct a system to use DHCP to obtain its networking configuration, use the following line:

network --bootproto dhcp

To direct a machine to use BOOTP to obtain its networking configuration, use the following line in the kickstart file:

network --bootproto bootp

The line for static networking is more complex, as you must include all network configuration information on one line. You'll need to specify:

  • IP address

  • Netmask

  • Gateway IP address

  • Nameserver IP address

Here's an example static line:

network --bootproto static --ip --netmask --gateway --nameserver

If you use the static method, be aware of the following two restrictions:

  • All static networking configuration information must be specified on one line; you cannot wrap lines using a backslash, for example.

  • You can only specify one nameserver here. However, you can use the kickstart file's %post section (described in the section called %post — Post-Installation Configuration Section) to add more name servers, if needed.


part (required for installs, ignored for upgrades)

Creates a partition on the system. Partition requests are of the form:

part <mntpoint> --size <size> [--grow] 
[--onpart <partc>] [--ondisk <disk>] 
[--onprimary <N>] [--asprimary]

The <mntpoint> is where the partition will be mounted and must be of one of the following forms:


For example, /, /usr, /home


The partition will be used as swap space.


The partition will be used for software RAID (see the raid command later).

--size <size>

The minimum partition size in megabytes. Specify an integer value here such as 500. Do not append the number with MB.


Tells the partition to grow to fill available space (if any), or up to the maximum size setting.

--maxsize <size>

The maximum partition size in megabytes when the partition is set to grow. Specify an integer value here, and do not append the number with MB.


Tells the installation program not to format the partition, for use with the --onpart command.

--onpart <part> or --usepart <part>

Tells the installation program to put the partition on the already existing device <part>. For example, partition /home --onpart hda1 will put /home on /dev/hda1, which must already exist.

--ondisk <disk>

Forces the partition to be created on a particular disk. For example, --ondisk sdb will put the partition on the second disk on the system.

--onprimary <N>

Forces the partition to be created on the primary partition <N> or fail. <N> can be 1 through 4. For example, --onprimary=1 specifies that the partition is to be created on the first primary partition.


Forces automatic allocation of the partition as a primary partition or the partitioning will fail.


<N> represents the number of bytes per inode on the filesystem when it is created. It must be given in decimal format. This option is useful for applications where you want to increase the number of inodes on the filesystem.


Sets partition type to <X>, where <X> is a numerical value.

All partitions created will be formatted as part of the installation process unless --noformat and --onpart are used.


If --clearpart is used in the ks.cfg file, then --onpart cannot be used on a logical partition.


If partitioning fails for any reason, diagnostic messages will appear on virtual console 3.


raid (optional)

Assembles a software RAID device. This command is of the form:

raid <mntpoint> --level <level> --device <mddevice><partitions*>

The <mntpoint> is the location where the RAID filesystem is mounted. If it is /, the RAID level must be 1 unless a boot partition (/boot) is present. If a boot partition is present, the /boot partition must be level 1 and the root (/) partition can be any of the available types. The <partitions*> (which denotes that multiple partitions can be listed) lists the RAID identifiers to add to the RAID array.

--level <level>

RAID level to use (0, 1, or 5).

--device <mddevice>

Name of the RAID device to use (such as md0 or m1). RAID devices range from md0 to md7, and each may only be used once.

The following example shows how to create a RAID level 1 partition for /, and a RAID level 5 for /usr, assuming there are three SCSI disks on the system. It also creates three swap partitions, one on each drive.

part raid.01 --size 60 --ondisk sda
part raid.02 --size 60 --ondisk sdb
part raid.03 --size 60 --ondisk sdc
part swap --size 128 --ondisk sda part swap --size 128 --ondisk
sdb part swap --size 128 --ondisk sdc
part raid.11 --size 1 --grow --ondisk sda part raid.12 --size 1
--grow --ondisk sdb part raid.13 --size 1 --grow --ondisk sdc
raid / --level 1 --device md0 raid.01 raid.02 raid.03 raid /usr
--level 5 --device md1 raid.11 raid.12 raid.13


reboot (optional)

Reboot after the installation is complete (no arguments). Normally, kickstart displays a message and waits for the user to press a key before rebooting.


rootpw (required)

rootpw [--iscrypted] <password>

Sets the system's root password to the <password> argument.


If this is present, the password argument is assumed to already be encrypted.


skipx (optional)

If present, X is not configured on the installed system.


timezone (required)

timezone [--utc] <timezone>

Sets the system time zone to <timezone> which may be any of the time zones listed by timeconfig.


If present, the system assumes the hardware clock is set to UTC (Greenwich Mean) time.


upgrade (optional)

Tells the system to upgrade an existing system rather than install a fresh system.


xconfig (optional)

Configures the X Window System. If this option is not given, the user will need to configure X manually during the installation, if X was installed; this option should not be used if X is not installed on the final system.


Don't probe the monitor.

--card <card>

Use card <card>; this card name should be from the list of cards in Xconfigurator. If this argument is not provided, Anaconda will probe the PCI bus for the card.

--monitor <mon>

Use monitor <mon>; this monitor name should be from the list of monitors in Xconfigurator. This is ignored if --hsync or --vsync is provided. If no monitor information is provided, the installation program tries to probe for it automatically.

--hsync <sync>

Specifies the horizontal sync frequency of the monitor.

--vsync <sync>

Specifies the vertical sync frequency of the monitor.

--defaultdesktop=GNOME or --defaultdesktop=KDE

Sets the default desktop to either GNOME or KDE (and assumes that GNOME and/or KDE has been installed through %packages).


Use a graphical login on the installed system.

zerombr — Partition Table Initialization

zerombr (optional)

If zerombr is specified, and yes is its sole argument, any invalid partition tables found on disks are initialized. This will destroy all of the contents of disks with invalid partition tables. This command should be in the following format:

zerombr yes

No other format is effective.

%packages — Package Selection

Use the %packages command to begin a kickstart file section that lists the packages you'd like to install (this is for installations only, as package selection during upgrades is not supported).

Packages can be specified by component or by individual package name. The installation program defines several components that group together related packages. See the RedHat/base/comps file on any Red Hat Linux CD-ROM for a list of components. The components are defined by the lines that begin with a number followed by a space and then the component name. Each package in that component is then listed, line-by-line. Individual packages lack the leading number found in front of component lines.

Additionally, there are three other types of lines in the comps file:

Architecture specific (alpha:, i386:, and sparc64:)

If a package name begins with an architecture type, you only need to type in the package name, not the architecture name. For example:

For i386: netscape-common you only need to use the netscape-common part for that specific package to be installed.

Lines beginning with ?

Lines that begin with a ? are used by the installation program and should not be altered.

Lines beginning with --hide

If a package name begins with --hide, you only need to type in the package name, without the --hide. For example:

For --hide KDE Workstation you only need to use the KDE Workstation part for that specific package to be installed.

In most cases, it's only necessary to list the desired components and not individual packages. Note that the Base component is always selected by default, so it's not necessary to specify it in the %packages section.

Here's an example %packages selection:

@ Networked Workstation
@ C Development
@ Web Server
@ X Window System

As you can see, components are specified, one to a line, starting with an @ symbol, a space, and then the full component name as given in the comps file. Specify individual packages with no additional characters (the bsd-games line in the example above is an individual package).


You can also direct the kickstart installation to use the workstation- and server-class installations (or choose an everything installation to install all packages). To do this, simply add one of the following lines to the %packages section:

@ Gnome Workstation
@ KDE Workstation
@ Server
@ Everything

%pre — Pre-Installation Configuration Section

You can add commands to run on the system immediately after the ks.cfg has been parsed. This section must be at the end of the kickstart file (after the commands) and must start with the %pre command. Note that you can access the network in the %pre section; however, name service has not been configured at this point, so only IP addresses will work. Here's an example %pre section:

# add comment to /etc/motd
echo "Kickstart-installed Red Hat Linux `/bin/date`" > /etc/motd
# add another nameserver
echo "nameserver" >> /etc/resolv.conf

This section creates a message-of-the-day file containing the date the kickstart installation took place, and gets around the network command's limitation of only one name server by adding another name server to /etc/resolv.conf.


Note that the pre-install script is not run in the change root environment.

%post — Post-Installation Configuration Section

You have the option of adding commands to run on the system once the installation is complete. This section must be at the end of the kickstart file and must start with the %post command. Note, you can access the network in the %post section; however, name service has not been configured at this point, so only IP addresses will work. Here's an example %post section:

# add comment to /etc/motd
echo "Kickstart-installed Red Hat Linux `/bin/date`" > /etc/motd
# add another nameserver
echo "nameserver" >> /etc/resolv.conf

This section creates a message-of-the-day file containing the date the kickstart installation took place, and gets around the network command's limitation of one name server only by adding another name server to /etc/resolv.conf.


Note that the post-install script is run in a chroot environment; therefore, performing tasks such as copying scripts or RPMs from the installation media will not work.


Allows you to specify commands that you would like to run outside of the chroot environment.

The following example copies the file /etc/resolv.conf to the filesystem that was just installed.
%post --nochroot
cp /etc/resolv.conf /mnt/sysimage/etc/resolv.conf

--interpreter /usr/bin/perl

Allows you to specify a different scripting language, such as Perl. Replace /usr/bin/perl with the scripting language of your choice.

The following example uses a Perl script to replace /etc/HOSTNAME.
%post --interpreter /usr/bin/perl

# replace /etc/HOSTNAME
open(HN, ">HOSTNAME");
print HN " an.ip.address\n";