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I'm having a server with some obsolete linux installed. I want to wipe everything out, have a basic Ubuntu installed, and get the IP of the server, and a default username and password.

From there I'll use SSH to manage it.

Can I do that automatically, without attaching any console (screen and keyboard) to the server?

Edit: See here for an up to date answer for Ubuntu.

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This question has been asked on serverfault.com [1]: serverfault.com/questions/21255/headless-linux-install – yakamok Apr 15 '12 at 8:14
No hint for how to get the IP of the computer later, without a screen attached to the headless desktop. – Elazar Leibovich Apr 15 '12 at 9:02
install nmap to scan all the ips on your network, with "namp 192.168.x.x/24", assuming your have a standard subnet. This will show all the devices on your network. you can also check your router to see which devices are attached, if you know your machines MAC address it will be easy to spot on your router and what ip it has. – yakamok Apr 15 '12 at 9:08
up vote 3 down vote accepted

As noted above, the tool you want is Kickstart. See Ubuntu notes on Kickstart for important tips.

To get the IP address of the newly installed server, one simple approach might be to just put something in the Kickstart Post-Install Script that could be as simple as hitting a web server you control with a bogus request (you'd see the IP address in the Apache logs, for example) or something much fancier, like running ifconfig to get the IP address and emailing it to you, etc.

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