Fedora4all-core4-x86 64

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Warning.png Warning

This environment has not been updated to work on the new clusters of Grid'5000 and is no longer supported by the technical staff

This page describes the minimal environment based on Fedora distribution. It intends to explain how this environment was built and how to use it with Kadeploy.


Identification sheet


Kernel version 2.6.14-1.1656_FC4smp from Red Hat for x86_64


  • Remote console: enabled on ttyS0 at 34800 bps
  • Services: ldap:no, nfs:no
  • Accounts: root:grid5000, g5k:grid5000


See complete installed package list



Here are explanations on how the system was installed, how it was tuned and finally how the image was generated.


The environment was installed from a Fedora Core 4 Release DVD for x86_64. The following Kickstart file summaries the installation properties:


lang en_US.UTF-8
langsupport --default=en_US.UTF-8 en_US.UTF-8 en_US en en_US.UTF-8 en_US en en_US.UTF-8 en_US en
keyboard fr-latin9
xconfig --card "NVIDIA GeForce 2 MX (generic)" --videoram 8192 --hsync 31.5-37.9 --vsync 50-70 \
  --resolution 800x600 --depth 16
network --device eth0 --bootproto dhcp
network --device eth1 --bootproto dhcp
rootpw --iscrypted $1$sVkoCVvf$diaPafbKILytFouxr8bAL1
firewall --disabled
selinux --disabled
authconfig --enableshadow --enablemd5
timezone --utc Europe/Paris
bootloader --location=none

# The following is the partition information you requested
part / --fstype ext3 --onpart sda5
part swap --noformat --onpart sda13

@ language-support

Post installation


In order to provide an easy way for user to install packages, like it is required for minimal environments, APT have to be installed. APT is preferred to YUM, which is the default package manager under Fedora, because many Grid'5000 sites already have an APT proxy configured. With this choice only one proxy will be used for the two main distributions.


APT for x86_64 is not available in official Fedora package repository, but we can find it on third-party repository:

$ wget http://dag.wieers.com/packages/apt/apt-0.5.15cnc6-4.rf.src.rpm
$ rpmbuild --rebuild apt-0.5.15cnc6-4.rf.src.rpm
$ rpm -Uvh apt-0.5.15cnc6-4.rf.x86_64.rpm


APT non-availability for x86_64 in official Fedora package repository comes from x86_64 possibility to mix packages for x86_64 and i386. APT does not know how to manage two installed packaged with identical name and version, which only differ from their processor architecture.

So, in /etc/apt/apt.conf, we must told APT to let these packages coexist:

    Allow-Duplicated-Warning "false";

Some repositories must be specified inside /etc/apt/sources.list.d definition files, according to local apt-cacher. Here is Nancy's configuration:

rpm http://apt.nancy.grid5000.fr/apt-cacher/ayo.freshrpms.net fedora/linux/4/x86_64 core updates extras
rpm http://apt.nancy.grid5000.fr/apt-cacher/ayo.freshrpms.net fedora/linux/4/x86_64 freshrpms
Warning.png Warning

Before using a new repository, you must check that it does not have conflicts with another one. Many Fedora third-party repositories offer same packages, so APT can easily get disturbed.

Upgrade packages

Fedora Core 4 was released on may 2005. Since this time, lot of bugs have been upgraded and lot of security holes have been fixed. Packages are freshen this way:

$ apt-get update
$ apt-get upgrade

For kernel, you have to specify the exact version, say the last one. Moreover, we do not want to bother with multiple kernel version: previous one will be removed.

$ apt-get install kernel-smp#2.6.14-1.1656_FC4
$ rpm -e kernel-2.6.11-1.1369_FC4
$ rpm -e kernel-smp-2.6.11-1.1369_FC4
Warning.png Warning

It seems that kernels later than 2.6.14-1.1656_FC4 have problems with remote console using /dev/ttyS2. So, be aware that you can have problems if you upgrade kernel.

Add packages

We need some supplementary packages:

  • Text editors
$ apt-get install emacs vim-enhanced jed
  • Compiler
$ apt-get install gcc
  • Ruby interpreter
$ apt-get install ruby


NTP service have to be installed on the environement to synchronize time with site's NTP server.

$ apt-get install ntp
Note.png Note

NTP configuration file /etc/ntp.conf does not have to be modified, even by deployment post-installation process. This file is automatically updated by dhclient at boot time if DHCP server offers ntp-servers statement.

By default, the NTP server is not started at boot time, so:

$ chkconfig --levels 2345 ntpd on


Fedora system installation is a big black box. So a lot of packages are installed and a lot of services are enabled, without administrator consent. Creating minimal environment makes cleaning the installed system necessary.

Unwanted packages

Many of the installed packages are intended to a workstation use, so they are useless for a cluster compute node. Removing these packages improves system autonomy.

Workstation use packages:

$ rpm -e autofs
$ rpm -e NetworkManager
$ rpm -e cpuspeed
$ rpm -e eject
$ rpm -e bluez-hcidump bluez-libs bluez-utils
$ rpm -e pcmcia-cs
$ rpm -e irda-utils
$ rpm -e isdn4k-utils
$ rpm -e ppp wvdial rp-pppoe
$ rpm -e kudzu system-config-mouse system-config-network-tui

Some package management:

$ rpm -e up2date rhnlib
$ rm -f /etc/sysconfig/rhn/up2date-uuid.rpmsave

Printing subsystem:

$ rpm -e redhat-lsb cups cups-libs
$ rm -rf /var/log/cups

Mail subsystem and its dependencies:

$ rpm -e procmail sendmail hesiod mailcap
$ rm -f /var/log/mail/statistics.rpmsave

RAID subsystem:

$ rpm -e mdadm dmraid

Name server subsystem:

$ rpm -e bind bind-libs bind-utils caching-nameserver
$ rm -f /etc/rndc.key.rpmsave

Local Boot loader:

$ rpm -e grub
$ rm -rf /boot/grub


$ rpm -e ksh

Unwanted services

Many services start at boot time and few of them are useless for a cluster compute node. They have to be disabled:

$ chkconfig auditd off
$ chkconfig iptables off
$ chkconfig netfs off
$ chkconfig gpm off

Boot kernels

For the environment to walk throught Grid'5000, its kernels must have all the disk drivers used in their ramdisk image at boot time. To include all these drivers into initrd files, /etc/modprobe.conf has to contain their name. So this file looks like:

alias eth0 tg3
alias eth1 tg3
# Sun V20Z
alias scsi_hostadapter mptspi
# HP DL145
alias scsi_hostadapter sata_nv
# IBM e326
alias scsi_hostadapter sata_sil
# IBM e326m
alias scsi_hostadapter sata_svw
Note.png Note

IDE disk modules are not available for Fedora packaged kernels. Configuration files of these kernels, available in /boot/ prove it. So, specifying amd74xx or serverworks module in /etc/modprobe.conf is unecessary.

Warning.png Warning

Be aware that Sun V20z Ultra320 SCSI interface use the mptspi kernel module since the 2.6.13 release instead of mptscsih. mptscsih is still used, but it is a dependence of mptspi.

This way, each mkinitrd initrd build will automatically include modules referenced as scsi_hostadapter. So kernel upgrade on this image will use a well formed initrd from the start. We only have to update already installed kernel's initrd.

$ mkinitrd -f /boot/initrd-2.6.14-1.1656_FC4smp.img 2.6.14-1.1656_FC4smp


Here is various hints that make the system compliant to minimal environment conventions.

Max open file descriptors

To make some experiments possible, max open file descriptors limit must be lifted. This is done modifying /etc/security/limits.conf, as it is described on the related tuning page.

TCP bandwidth

On a grid, network kernel settings must be tuned to maximize inter-site connections bandwidth. This is done by editing /etc/sysctl.conf, as it is described on the related tuning page.

g5k user

A default user is added to make non-root connections possible:

$ groupadd --gid 1000 g5k
$ useradd --gid g5k --home-dir /home/g5k --create-home --uid 1000 g5k
$ echo "grid5000" | passwd --stdin g5k

Remote console

Serial console use mgetty under Fedora. Using serial console implies defining its device properties inside /etc/mgetty+sendfax/mgetty.config.

For example, if your site serial console is bound to /dev/ttyS0, its properties can be defined this way:

port ttyS0
   speed 38400
   direct yes
   data-only yes
   toggle-dtr yes
   need-dsr yes
   port-owner root
   port-group root
   port-mode 600
   login-prompt @ \P login:\040
   login-time 60
   term vt100

After that, login must be enabled by adding one line to /etc/inittab:

s0:2345:respawn:/sbin/mgetty ttyS0

Finally, root is allowed to login via remote console by adding into /etc/securetty:


Create image file

Now, a valid minimal environment has been build. Its corresponding image file has to be generated.


At this point, the environment contains few configuration that depends of the site which installs it. Various files have to be removed or updated to create an image file as neutral as possible.

This is done by the insip4all toolkit:

$ /root/insip4all/insipid.sh

As explained on its dedicated page, this toolkit:

  • Replaces specific configuration files by their neutral version or remove them
  • Runs scripts to clean some databases, like APT's one

Generating image

As described in environment conventions, making image of a system using udev, as Fedora does, requires a special hint:

$ mount -o bind -t ext3 / /mnt/
$ cd /mnt
$ tar --numeric-owner -zcf /fedora4all-core4-x86_64.tgz --exclude fedora4all-core4-x86_64.tgz *
Note.png Note

For creation to be compliant with those made on non-udev system, "*" must be specified instead of ".". Without this hint, all tar archive files are prefixed by "./" and some Kadeploy versions do not like this.


The image archive file is now created. A postinstall archive must be associated to it and the overall environment must be recorded into Kadeploy's database, in order to deploy the Fedora based minimal environment.

Kadeploy's postinstall

Postinstall archive is not unique for a system image, because postinstall depends of each site. Only requirements, for the image to run, can be expressed here.


Filesystems static informations have to be well defined for a Fedora to correctly boot up. In opposition of Debian based system, the devpts virtual filesystem properties will not be guessed by Fedora at boot time. So, if it is not defined into /etc/fstab, /dev/pts will not be mounted and SSH will be able to create valid connections.

Here is a Fedora well defined postinstall /etc/fstab:

proc            /proc           proc   defaults   0       0
sysfs           /sys            sysfs  defaults   0       0
devpts          /dev/pts        devpts gid=5,mode=620 0   0
tmpfs           /dev/shm        tmpfs  defaults   0       0
Note.png Note

Others partitions, like swap or /tmp, are site specific. So, do not forget to had their lines into your postinstall /etc/fstab file. Finally, do not add root filesystem to this file, because it is automatically added to /etc/fstab by every valid postinstall script.


In this directory, files describe repositories to use with APT to download packages. So for APT to work, some file named repository.list, where repository must be replaced by repository name, must be placed into this directory.

For example, to use base distribution repository hosted at ayo.freshrpms.net and cached by apt.nancy.grid5000.fr, you have to put inside a os.list file:

rpm http://apt.nancy.grid5000.fr/apt-cacher/ayo.freshrpms.net fedora/linux/4/x86_64 core updates extras

dhclient generated files

Some configuration files are automatically generated or modified by dhclient according to informations offered by DHCP server. So it not necessary to include these files into Kadeploy postinstall archive. These files are:


Recording environment

Recording environment can be done from a description file. So we create fedora4all-core4-x86_64.dsc:

name = fedora4all-x86_64
description = fedora based minimal environment
author = xavier.delaruelle@loria.fr
filebase = file://IMAGE_PATH/fedora4all-core4-x86_64.tgz
size = 1000
initrdpath = /boot/initrd-2.6.14-1.1656_FC4smp.img
kernelpath = /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.14-1.1656_FC4smp
fdisktype = 83
filesystem = ext3

With karecordenv, the new environment can be known by Kadeploy:

karecordenv -fe fedora4all-core4-x86_64.dsc
Note.png Note

If your cluster default architecture is X86_64, you can also record this environment with the name fedora4all.

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