Red Hat Bugzilla – Bug 154842
'interactive' token in kickstart attempts autopartition
Last modified: 2010-10-21 22:53:41 EDT
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Description of problem:
We are trying to make a 'guided' installation of RHEL 4 for our campus subscription which will set defaults for the installer based on our network, using an embedded ks.cfg on a cdrom.
We want to specify a set of package groups in the ks.cfg file, but still allow the user to check/uncheck groups as they wish. This would require the 'interactive' keyword so that the installer does not skip package selection entirely.
However, if you insert the token 'interactive' in the ks.cfg, the installer will die at the first screen with the error "Partitioning failed: Could not allocate partitions as primary partitions." and then reboots. It appears that for some reason the installer is trying to autopartition?! Even if there is no partitioning information in the ks.cfg.
Version-Release number of selected component (if applicable):
Steps to Reproduce:
1. Create a ks.cfg file with the token 'interactive' in the header.
2. Boot RHEL 4 disc 1, with an url pointing to that ks.cfg
Actual Results: The installer's first screen gives the error "Partitioning failed: Could not allocate partitions as primary partitions." and reboots the system, on systems that have a disk with a non-empty partition table.
Expected Results: The installer should have gone to the partitioning option screens like a regular install.
kickstart implies auto-partitioning with the partitioning information given in
the kickstart config. Sorry, side effect of the implementation. If you specify
a default in the ks.cfg (with a clearpart line), then people should be able to
modify what gets created.
Hmm, This is the first time I have reopened a bug and then attached the relevant
issue tracker. Seems like just attaching the issue-tracker ticket does not
automatically submit all the IT notes to the bugzilla. So, I'm pasting those
Paritioning modes differ from when using a kickstart in "interactive" mode vs.
no kickstart install from CD media. The kickstart.py file in
/mnt/runtime/usr/lib/anaconda is skipping the partitionmethod and
partitionmethodsetup methods if self.interactive (which comes from "interactive"
set in the kickstart)... this causes a problem when there are partitions using
the whole disk (i.e. a "dual boot" configuration) or a previous install when all
disk space is used. The CD media install lets them use Disk Druid and wipe away
/ change any partitions for dual boot or clean install. Other .img files are
probably the same way with the same kickstart.py file. In the kickstart.py file
from netstg2.img (RHEL4U4), the line numbers in question are 1381-1382.
Commenting these two lines fixes the problem for us in our test environment. Not
having those lines commented causes an error message to pop up stating "Could
not allocate requested partitions: Partitioning failed: Could not allocate
partitions as primary partitions. Press 'OK' to reboot your system."
Is there a reason these two lines are commented out? A user (knowledgeable user)
under the current setup would have to either do ALT-F2 from the install, which
gets them to a shell and then run fdisk... or use the full CD install media,
stopping after it lets them repartition the drive and then load the boot media
and specify to use the kickstart file again. Not very user friendly!
I don't believe this is something that the anaconda maintainers are going to fix.
It appears someone else ran into this with RHEL4 in the following bugzilla and
our maintainer gave them a workaround. Let me know if this will / won't work in
Unfortunately, specifying a default partitioning in the ks.cfg (with a clearpart
line) is not a work-around when there is no free disk space or enough free disk
space, and no partition should be deleted without user selection.
Again, installing from CDs works fine in this situation, but we have not found a
solution for a kickstart install without modifying netstg2.img for text installs
and stage2.img for graphics installs. That's not a viable option when using the
distribution on the RHNSS because a satellite sync wipes out the modifications
made to the images.
Aside from modifying kickstart.py, I havent found a way to get around this yet,
either without issuing a clearpart which, like you said, wipes the disk.
I'll see what engineering has to say.
This appears to have been a problem for a while, but I'm doubt this is something
that we're going to fix in anaconda.
If you try to do an interactive kickstart, and there are partitions using the
whole disk, the user is presented with the error:
"Could not allocate requested partitions: Partitioning failed: Could not
allocate partitions as primary partitions. Press 'OK' to reboot your system."
..instead of being presented with the partitioning option screens like a regular
The only way the customer was able to work around it was to comment out lines
1381 and 1382 of the kickstart.py file in netstg2.img and stage2.img. Doing that
will allow the users to change their partitions however they wanted.
According to BZ 154842, the error apparently is a side effect of the kickstart
implementation and the suggested workaround was to use "clearpart" in the
ks.cfg. This won't work if the customer wishes to preserve any existing
So, are there any other workarounds that may work besides modifying the
kickstart.py files in stage2 / netstg2.img (which, the customer claims, get
overwritten during a sat-sync) or issuing a clearpart?
Steps to Reproduce:
1. Create a ks.cfg file using the interactive option (I've attached one that
reproduced for me).
2. Boot up cd 1 and point to the ks.cfg file. If possible, make sure the system
has a previous installation on it where all disk space is used.
You should get the error: "Partitioning failed: Could not allocate partitions as
primary partitions." and reboots the system, on systems that have a disk with a
non-empty partition table."
Engineering: This sounds like a reasonable request. I would argue against the
earlier comment in the bugzilla, because the 'interactive' token implies that
the installer should prompt for details that are missing in the ks.cfg. An
example of this behavior is when the installer prompts for the network info.
when the attached ks.cfg is used for network based (http in this case) installation.
With the 'interactive' token, the absence of a clear partitioning scheme in the
kickstart file should imply a prompt for partitioning details.
I have not looked at the anaconda code much, but if engineering thinks this
should be doable without disrupting too much, I would gladly try providing a patch.
Created attachment 144706 [details]
ks.cfg with missing partitioning scheme
Created attachment 147017 [details]
partition error from interactive install
This request was evaluated by Red Hat Product Management for inclusion in a Red
Hat Enterprise Linux maintenance release. Product Management has requested
further review of this request by Red Hat Engineering, for potential
inclusion in a Red Hat Enterprise Linux Update release for currently deployed
products. This request is not yet committed for inclusion in an Update
We don't have the resources for fixing this in 4.6, so I'm NAKing.
*** Bug 424221 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***