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I'm toying with using kickstart config files to do automated installations for both Fedora & Ubuntu, and using post-installation commands to run Ansible configs to produce fully provisioned machines with no or little user input.

I'd love to be able to do this for Elementary, as I am keen to get some friends/family on this ideal distro, and I'd like to be able to spin up tailored installations quickly and effortlessly.

Even just being able to set all of the usual options in the installer without any input would be great.

Is anything like this possible?

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elementary OS currently (5.1) uses the Ubuntu Ubiquity installer. So if you have a method of producing automated installs for Ubuntu images, then this should in theory work for elementary OS images too. Though this isn't a use case the development team tests or verifies, so it's possible you may hit snags along the way.

However, the currently unreleased elementary OS 6.0 version will use a different installer, so your method probably won't work in future versions.

The usual way to do this kind of thing is to install the OS once with the desired settings and then produce a disk image from this that you can deploy to other locations.

In theory, if you delete the user you created during installation (so there are no users left), the login screen should guide you through creating a user and doing initial settings. Though I wouldn't recommend testing this on your production system! So it would be possible to create an image of elementary OS in this state to give a fresh "first run" experience.

  • Thanks very much for the info! When you suggest creation of a custom image, does one usually do this with Clonezilla or the like? – Mike Williams Nov 10 '20 at 22:55
  • Yes, Clonezilla is a good option. It's not always the most user-friendly thing, but I've used it in the past to create fully automated images that can be network or USB booted to deploy an image in a hands-off fashion. – David Hewitt Nov 11 '20 at 9:35
  • It's a good tip. I've used it in the past to make backup images of my main machine, so I'm aware of its capabilities, but it hadn't occurred to me to use it this way. Now that I think of it in the back of my mind I knew of the use of disk imaging software for OS deployments. I was just stuck on this idea of automating installation from a fresh ISO. But I suppose it's not overly onerous to install & image Elementary at each new release and see if I can fully automate everything from the image with Clonezilla. Thanks again! – Mike Williams Nov 11 '20 at 9:53

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