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Applies to openSUSE Leap 15.2

3 Creating an AutoYaST Control File Edit source

3.1 Collecting Information Edit source

To create the control file, you need to collect information about the systems you are going to install. This includes hardware data and network information among other things. Make sure you have the following information about the machines you want to install:

  • Hard disk types and sizes

  • Graphical interface and attached monitor, if any

  • Network interface and MAC address if known (for example, when using DHCP)

Also verify that both autoyast2-installation and autoyast2 are installed.

3.2 Using the Configuration Management System (CMS) Edit source

To create the control file for one or more computers, a configuration interface based on YaST is provided. This system depends on existing modules which are usually used to configure a computer in regular operation mode, for example, after openSUSE Leap is installed.

The configuration management system lets you easily create control files and manage a repository of configurations for use in a networked environment with multiple clients.

Configuration System
Figure 3.1: Configuration System

3.2.1 Creating a New Control File Edit source

The easiest way to create an AutoYaST profile is to use an existing openSUSE Leap system as a template. On an already installed system, start YaST › Miscellaneous › Autoinstallation. Now select Tools › Create Reference Profile from the menu. Choose the system components you want to include in the profile. Alternatively, create a profile containing the complete system configuration by running sudo yast clone_system from the command line.

Both methods will create the file /root/autoinst.xml. The version created on the command line can be used to set up an identical clone of the system on which the profile was created. However, usually you will want to adjust the file to make it possible to install several machines that are very similar, but not identical. This can be done by adjusting the profile using your favorite text/XML editor.

With some exceptions, almost all resources of the control file can be configured using the configuration management system. The system offers flexibility and the configuration of some resources is identical to the one available in the YaST control center. In addition to the existing and familiar modules new interfaces were created for special and complex configurations, for example for partitioning, general options and software.

Furthermore, using a CMS guarantees the validity of the resulting control file and its direct use for starting automated installation.

Make sure the configuration system is installed (package autoyast2) and call it using the YaST control center or as root with the following command (make sure the DISPLAY variable is set correctly to start the graphical user interface instead of the text-based one):

/sbin/yast2 autoyast

3.3 Creating/Editing a Control File Manually Edit source

If editing the control file manually, make sure it has a valid syntax. To check the syntax, use the tools already available on the distribution. For example, to verify that the file is well-formed (has a valid XML structure), use the utility xmllint available with the libxml2 package:

xmllint <control file>

If the control file is not well formed, for example, if a tag is not closed, xmllint will report the errors.

To validate the control file, use the tool jing from the package with the same name. During validation, misplaced or missing tags and attributes and wrong attribute values are detected.

jing /usr/share/YaST2/schema/autoyast/rng/profile.rng <control file>

/usr/share/YaST2/schema/autoyast/rng/profile.rng is provided by the package yast2-schema. This file describes the syntax and classes of an AutoYaST profile.

Before going on with the autoinstallation, fix any errors resulting from such checks. The autoinstallation process cannot be started with an invalid and not well-formed control file.

You can use any XML editor available on your system or any text editor with XML support (for example, Emacs, Vim). However, it is not optimal to create the control file manually for many machines and it should only be seen as an interface between the autoinstallation engine and the Configuration Management System (CMS).

Tip: Using Emacs as an XML Editor

The built-in nxml-mode turns Emacs into a fully-fledged XML editor with automatic tag completion and validation. Refer to the Emacs help for instructions on how to set up nxml-mode.

3.4 Creating a Control File via Script with XSLT Edit source

If you have a template and want to change a few things via script or command line, use an XSLT processor like xsltproc. For example, if you have an AutoYaST control file and want to fill out the host name via script for any reason. (If doing this often, you should consider scripting it.)

First, create an XSL file:

Example 3.1: Example File for Replacing the Host Name/Domain by Script
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<xsl:stylesheet xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform"
  <xsl:output method="xml" encoding="UTF-8" indent="yes" omit-xml-declaration="no" cdata-section-elements="source"/>

  <!-- the parameter names -->
  <xsl:param name="hostname"/>
  <xsl:param name="domain"/>

  <xsl:template match="/">
    <xsl:apply-templates select="@*|node()"/>

  <xsl:template match="y2:dns">
      <!-- where to copy the parameters -->
      <domain><xsl:value-of select="string($domain)"/></domain>
      <hostname><xsl:value-of select="string($hostname)"/></hostname>
      <xsl:apply-templates select="@*|node()"/>

  <xsl:template match="@*|node()" >
      <xsl:apply-templates select="@*|node()"/>


This file expects the host name and the domain name as parameters from the user.

<xsl:param name="hostname"/>
<xsl:param name="domain"/>

There will be a copy of those parameters in the DNS section of the control file. This means that if there already is a domain element in the DNS section, you will get a second one, which will cause conflicts.

For more information about XSLT, go to the official Web page www.w3.org/TR/xslt

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