I’ve posted recently about doing local debian pxe preseed installs and using apt-mirror for multiple architectures. I went back today and had the network install failing because I had removed the release file to get an additional repository working that I had created for locally maintained debs like a vmware-server created with a backport of vmware-package.
There just isn’t good information out there on creating the Release file. You’ll need:
d-i debian-installer/allow_unauthenticated string true
in your preseed file or the installer will fail with an error that doesn’t make sense until you look at the log on vty4 and see it’s not finding the Release.gpg signature. This seemed infinitely easier than trying to get signing working locally and then pushing out the public in the initrd. Since the initrd comes from the same server, elite haxors have already won the chicken or the egg problem anyways, and if they want to try that hard they can and I’ll go get a beer instead.
Originally I took the Release file and removed everything from MD5Sum: down, modified the architecture and components line, but I was getting a “bad d-i packages file” error from the installer. Recreating from the original release file then simply changing these two lines and leaving all of MD5Sum: in worked okay. I didn’t bother looking at the code to see why. This just worked for me and most of the posts on the internet about “bad d-i packages file” referred to bad installs from CDs that were bad burns.