Using  Sysinstall's install.cfg to Automate FreeBSD Installations

FreeBSD has a handy, little used scripting tool built into its sysinstall system installation utility.  This can allow you to automate FreeBSD installations, similar to the way one can automate Solaris installations via Jumpstart.

To start with, you must build an install.cfg file.  Here is mine. It was built using the example in /usr/src/release/sysinstall/install.cfg  file as a template.

You'll notice that one of the packages (ari-0.0) is not a "standard" package, rather its a customized package written to configure our group's FreeBSD machines at the end of the installation process.  It contains the following files:
And,  most importantly, an installation script.  The contents of this script are used to set verious options in /etc/rc.conf.  Things such as  enabling NIS,  turning on linux emulation,  adding entries for other network interfaces, adding statically-mounted NFS filesystems to the /etc/fstab file, etc.  To learn how to create a package, read the pkg_create(1) manual page.

Using this method, it takes less than 20 minutes from uncrating a new Pentium II to having a fully installed and configured FreeBSD workstation up and running.

Other local FreeBSD links.