"Official Ubuntu Server Book" on Amazon. If you use Ubuntu Server, this really is a terrificly written and broad book. It's not even THAT dated (very little talk of Upstart) and has few grammatical errors. My tutorial below is from what I learned from this book.
It has an entire chapter on automating and customizing Ubuntu installations.
Also, the last "System Administration" Linux Journal (March or April 2010, I think) had a similar article from start to finish, well written, on the same topic.
Edit: Apparently, their articles are free online after a few months.
Here's the article: Economy Size Geek - Installation Toolkit
Three keywords to look into:
Hope this helps.
I'm only covering getting netboot installed, not making custom installs with Kickstart/Preseeding. I'm assuming you know DHCP configuration. It's not that difficult.
1)You'll need your DHCP server (you need one) configured with several new options in
a. Inside the subnet declaration, have
range dynamic-bootp lowip highip
Basically, add the "dynamic-bootp" option in your range config.
b. Next, in global settings OR in your specified subnet, add the following two options:
2) Install the
tftpd-hpa package on the netboot server. Make sure UDP port 69 is opened there.
3)Grab the netboot images.
The following is made easy by the fact that Ubuntu preconfigures a lot of the setup, so you'll be ready to go with a simple setup quickly.
$ cd /var/lib/tftpdboot
$ sudo wget http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/lucid/main/installer-amd64/current/images/netboot/netboot.tar.gz
$ sudo tar -xzvf netboot.tar.gz`
There are many different ways to tweak all these programs, netboot installation options, etc. to make it a very powerful, customized tool. What I've described is the bare bones.
you can plug a computer into your network, boot it from LAN (via BIOS, or hotkey at POST) and install Ubuntu. It will be grabbing a lot of packages from the Internet, so be ready for that. You can set up mirrors or apt-cache servers to alleviate this problem, but as I said, this is only the simple setup.