User FAQ

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FAQs for new users

I'm new to FAI. How should I start ?

  • Read the FAI guide and this FAQ.
  • Start with the simple examples by copying them to FAI_CONFIGDIR.
  • Install the stable distribution on your first clients!

What's the official website for FAI?

Where do I find the FAI mailing list ?

There's info on mailing lists and archives in this Wiki: Linux-fai mailing list infos sanso 10:30, 11 Aug 2005 (CEST)

There also is a section "Mailing list" on the FAI homepage at Please use your favorite search engine to search for your questions before posting to the list. Also don't post complete logs. Most times it's sufficient to describe the setup (which version of fai, which version of debian on the fai server and which version to be installed with fai) and to post the part of the log(s) where the error occurs. It's the first error that matters. Or provide logfiles on a webserver and post a link.

More technical stuff / troubleshooting

I try to install testing or sid/unstable and something goes wrong. Why?

testing and unstable sid change every day. So it's possible that your problems are solved today or tomorrow. You should try again. It's recommendable to use a local mirror and freeze it when you found a working install. But we also recommend to use stable and local backport repositories whenever possible.

As for sid - that's why it's called unstable You might want to get used to things braking.

You should only try to install unstable or testing if You know what you're doing and You know You definitely need something other than stable

sanso 10:20, 11 Aug 2005 (CEST)

What order are scripts executed in?

Scripts are executed in class definition order, and in numerical order within each class.

For example, if the classes FOO and BAR were defined (in that order), and $FAI_CONFIGDIR/scripts/FOO contained S20 and S40, and $FAI_CONFIGDIR/scripts/BAR contained S30, the order of execution would be:

  1. $FAI_CONFIGDIR/scripts/FOO/S20
  2. $FAI_CONFIGDIR/scripts/FOO/S40
  3. $FAI_CONFIGDIR/scripts/BAR/S30

make-fai-nfsroot dies silently, Why?

Restarted it with more debug output (-v) and (-r) to recover yielded: Reading Package Lists...

E: Dynamic MMap ran out of room E: Error occured while processing 
netsaint (NewPackage) E: Problem with MergeList 
_debian_dists_unstable_main_binary-i386_Packages E: The package lists or
status file could not be parsed or opened.

Reason: As I my default /etc/apt/sources.list read in stable, testing and unstable, apt-get needs a lot of space for its internal tables. Therefore I had also a special apt.conf which is missing in the nfsroot of FAI. This is a known problem of apt.

Solution: Copied /etc/apt/sources to /etc/fai/sources.list, then minimised it to contain just one version (e.g. stable) of Debian

Why does the system reboot after entering ctrl-c following an installation?

The default actions for FAI do not allow you to get a shell since it is insecure and it will reboot on <ctrl-c> by design.

If you want to get a shell you need to change FAI's actions by adding 'createvt' to the FAI_FLAGS variable that is passed to the kernel on startup. You can do this via fai-chboot (e.g. fai-chboot -iFv -k "FAI_ACTION=install" hostname) for network installs or for floppy installs you can use something similar to make-fai-bootfloppy "FAI_FLAGS=verbose,createvt,sshd".