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documentation.suse.com / SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro Documentation / AutoYaST Guide / Understanding and creating the AutoYaST control file / Creating an AutoYaST control file
Applies to SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro 5.4

3 Creating an AutoYaST control file

3.1 Collecting information

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

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

3.2 Creating/editing a control file manually

You need to create the control file manually and ensure that it has a valid syntax. To verify if the file has a valid XML structure, you can 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-micro. 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). .

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.

3.3 Creating a control file via script with XSLT

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

3.4 Checking a control file

Depending on the use case, creating an AutoYaST profile can be difficult, especially if you build a dynamic profile using rules/classes, ERB templates or pre-scripts. For more information, see Part III, “Managing mass installations with dynamic profiles”.

Starting with SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro 5.1, AutoYaST validates the profile during the installation, reporting any problem found to the user. Although it is recommended to check whether the profile is correct or not, you can disable this behavior by setting the YAST_SKIP_XML_VALIDATION boot parameter to 1.

Moreover, to simplify the testing and debugging process, AutoYaST offers the check-profile command, which takes care of fetching, building and, optionally, importing the profile to detect any potential problem.

Note: Results may vary

Although this command uses the same approach as the installation, the results may vary depending on the differences between the current system and installation media: YaST package versions, architecture, etc.

Warning: Use only trusted profiles

You must be careful when running this command because pre-installation scripts and ERB code would run as the root user. Use only profiles that you trust.

3.4.1 Basic checks

The simplest way to use this command is just to read and validate the profile:

> sudo  yast2 autoyast check-profile filename=autoinst.xml output=result.xml

The result.xml file contains the result of evaluating the profile. Bear in mind that, even if you do not use any advanced feature, the content of autoinst.xml and result.xml may differ. The reason is that AutoYaST does some cleaning up when it processes the profile.

check-profile can deal with remote files too:

> sudo  yast2 autoyast check-profile filename= output=result.xml

3.4.2 Running pre-scripts

Optionally, AutoYaST can run the scripts that are included in the profile, reporting any error found during the execution. This is especially relevant if you are using a pre-installation script to modify the profile. To enable this feature, you need to set the run-scripts option to true.

> sudo  yast2 autoyast check-profile filename= output=result.xml run-scripts=true
Warning: Scripts run as root

You must be careful when enabling the run-scripts option, because the scripts will run as root and they may affect the current system.

3.4.3 Importing the profile

It is possible to face some problems when importing a valid profile, even if it is correct. The reason is that AutoYaST does not perform any logic check when fetching, building and validating the profile.

To anticipate such problems, the check-profile command imports the profile and reports problems that it has detected. As it may take a while, you can disable this behavior by setting the import-all option to false.

> sudo  yast2 autoyast check-profile filename= output=result.xml import-all=false

Importing the profile is a safe operation and does not alter the underlying system in any way.