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I installed Centos 5.5 on a headless server. The BIOS supports console redirection, so all I needed to do was: 1) Connect over a serial cable, 2) adjust the BIOS, 3) put the CD in, and 4) at the boot prompt, type:

linux console=ttyS0,115200n8    

On Ubuntu 10.10, I tried the same technique. Even before the boot: prompt, I received an error message:

graphics initialization failed
Error setting up gfxboot

and when I tried to the same command as on Centos, I received the error:

Could not find kernel image: linux

I then looked at the isolinux directory on the CD, and all the boot menus had something like /install/vmlinuz, so I tried:

/install/vmlinuz console=ttyS0,115200n8

But that fails with a kernel panic

[    3.271958] Kernel panic - not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on unknow
[    3.280699] Pid: 1, comm: swapper Not tainted 2.6.35-22-generic #33-Ubuntu

Farther up the console output, I saw the error:

[    3.185400] VFS: Cannot open root device "(null)" or unknown-block(104,1)
[    3.192380] Please append a correct "root=" boot option; here are the availab
le partitions:

I'm going to keep trying, but I would welcome any advice on how to get Ubuntu 10.10 installed on my headless server.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Looking at the isolinux .cfg files, I came up with something to try:

/install/vmlinuz console=ttyS0,115200n8 file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu-server.seed initrd=/install/initrd.gz quiet --

It worked. I got a text based set of install menus.

I actually prefer seeing all the output when the system boots, so I also successfully used:

/install/vmlinuz console=ttyS0,115200n8 file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu-server.seed initrd=/install/initrd.gz

As an aside, if you need to run in rescue mode

/install/vmlinuz console=ttyS0,115200n8 initrd=/install/initrd.gz rescue/enable=true 
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