Before preparing a new FAI release, I had to debug a nasty boot problem in FAI. Booting a FAI CD on a notebooks only hang when no ethernet cable was connected. This was strange, because the automatic installation does not need a network connection and gets all packages from the installation media.

Since FAI is using dracut (a replacement for initramfs-tools) and we use the kernel cmdline option rd.neednet, dracut only boots if it can set up at least one ethernet device. Without using this option, dracut does not activate the network at all and FAI cannot configure the /etc/network/interface. There's no option to tell dracut just to try to activate network device, but do not rely on being successful. In the end the fix was to edit a dracut script, so dracut does not wait forever for devices to come up. It was just a simple sed -e 's/exit 1/exit 0/'. Nice.

After this fix the new FAI release 5.7.4 was uploaded. Support for installing notebooks is now improved.


  • network-manager-gnome is now installed for class XFCE

  • the network device config is now correct if NetworkManager is installed

  • Booting does not hangs any more when installing a notebook without the ethernet being connected

New FAI ISO images are available from [1]. Then can install Debian 9 using XFCE or GNOME or just a server installation without any desktop. We also have a Ubuntu version of the ISO, and CentOS can be installed.

The FAIme build service [2] for customized cloud and installation images also uses the newest FAI version.



FAI dracut