NAIS is a free, non-interactive, network automated installation system for
Linux on ix86 machines. It is based on the Debian GNU/Linux distribution.
This project is part of the ScALE project (Scientific Applications on a
Department for Computer Science, Prof. Dr. E. Speckenmeyer.
NAIS now has completely moved to sourceforge. For information
you cannot find on this page, newest CVS files and much more, see the
project info page
NAIS was written by Mattias Gärtner, Lech Nieroda, Jens Rühmkorf,
Klaus Schiwinsky and Esben Haabendal Sørensen.
- June 2000, release for Debian GNU/Linux 2.2
to install Debian GNU/Linux 2.2. This archive contains all neccessary
scripts and binaries, check the resource section of the user's manual
for additional utilities.
- initial RAM disk -
this RAM disk image is necessary for successful operation.
- MD5sum.txt -
128-bit checksums for authentication.
- NAIS Documentation
- NAIS is a non interactive system to install a Debian GNU/Linux
operating system on a PC cluster. For people who are involved in administrating
networks of Linux computers installing or configuring computers is an everyday
task. Whenever manual interaction is involved to set up and configure a computer,
it is likely that you miss something which will lead to mistakes. Moreover, it is
rather boring to perform the same task again and again. Thus it is clear that a
system that lets you perform a non-interactive, network based automatic installation
will surely save you a lot of time in the long run. That is what NAIS lets you do
- Available formats:
You may find some further information in the technical report on automatic
installation by Mattias Gärtner, Thomas Lange and Jens Rühmkorf.
The Linux distribution you use for your server does not need to be
Debian or even Potato. We have set up a fully functional server
system on SuSE 6.3 as well as on Debian 2.1 using the same scripts.
You can use the same kernel for installation that you use for running
the client. The kernel just needs ramdisk- and initrd-support compiled
in as well as the network device support to work.
The use of initrd makes it possible to automatically install clients
with "unusual" network interfaces, such as PCMCIA, whose support cannot
be compiled into the kernel yet. NOTE: The initrd.gz we use does not
support PCMCIA as it is, you have to add the needed binaries and
modules yourself to make it work.
There is no second reboot required -- pretty much the same like some
other distributions do it (and like Debian/GNU Linux did it for 1.3).
Uses a convenient "class" concept for configuring.
The tool setup_harddisks lets you specify general rules for
partitioning and formatting the client's local hard disks; preserving
already created partitions is possible as well.
All parameters are passed to the client using DHCP.
We took care to keep everything RFC-compliant so you should be able
to use etherboot, netboot, pxelinux or bpbatch to boot over
A sysinfo mode that just gathers some significant information
about the client and gives you a shell (remember, telnet client
2323 instantly reboots the client, so you can care less about the
shell). Other modes possible but not implemented yet.
The sysinfo and install mode let you establish a secure terminal
session to the "install-client" using ssh (once sshd is up and running).
Idea from Thomas Gebhardt :)
You can request your client via tcp to reboot, at any time,
in case the installation fails. Gets quite handy when the client
you want to install is 400 meters away ;)
- If you have questions or comments about NAIS, please feel free to mail us at
welcome any suggestions or criticisms. If you find a mistake within the documentation
or experience any problems using NAIS, please let us know so we can correct it in the
next version. If you have questions about configuring NAIS or getting it to work we prefer
you use the mailing list nais-devel
since your request might be useful to others as well. Thanks.
- To get the latest news about NAIS subscribe to our mailing list
you are already subscribed to nais-devel, there is no need to subscribe
to nais-announce as well).
Here you may subscribe to one of
the above mentioned mailinglists or access
the list archives.
If you think NAIS is a nice tool and want to join us, go right ahead! Use either one of the above
mentioned email addresses to get in contact with us.