RedHat Linux version 5 comes with a a little-known (and until now, not hugely documented) feature called KickStart. This lets you automate most/all of a RedHat Linux installation, including:
Eagle eyed RedHat users will probably have realised by now that these are essentially the main steps involved in the manual installation of a RedHat Linux system. KickStart makes it possible for you to script the regular installation process, by putting the information you would normally type at the keyboard into a configuration file.
But wait - there's more :-)
Having finished the normal installation process, KickStart also lets you specify a list of shell level commands which you would like to be executed. This means that you can automatically install extra local software not distributed as part of RedHat Linux (yes, there are even more free software programs than the ones you get with the RedHat distribution. Some can't be distributed by RedHat on legal grounds, e.g. the
PGP encryption systems) and carry out any tidying up you may need to do in order to get a fully operational system.