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I need three OSs. I have a MacBook Pro. I need Mac for IPhone development, Windows 7 for .net and Silverlight and genuine Linux (Red Hat or Ubuntu) for fooling with the Linux kernel.

I am the computer science program at a nationally known magnet school, hence my need for versatility. And I'd like to do it on a single box.

Your kind advice would be appreciated in a big way. Is it best to virtualize? Create partitions and use grub? What is the sense out there?

Thanks for your kind suggestions!

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migrated from Jun 8 '11 at 1:00

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Don't use GRUB! You need the default boot loader to be able to boot into OSX. – tylermwashburn Jun 8 '11 at 0:59
This I figured. Mac does not support grub and Windows is disgusting and does not behave respectfully in a partition. Bratty children under the same roof. – ncmathsadist Jun 8 '11 at 1:12
@tylermwashburn: are you sure about it? Doesn't GRUB supersedes various bootloaders? I have a fourfold boot machine (Ubuntu, Win XP, OSX and testing GNU/Linux) that boots up with GRUB2: no problems on that. Probably you are talking about GRUB the first, because GRUB2 works just fine for me (even with BURG on top of that). – dag729 Jun 8 '11 at 1:14
Here's a helpful guide. – AndrejaKo Jun 8 '11 at 1:19
@AndrejaKo: nice guide, although I never used the rEFIT method. – dag729 Jun 8 '11 at 1:32
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You're going to need rEFIt, it will allow you to have more than OSX and Windows installed. This is the guide I used about a year ago:

Have you thought about virtualization though? You could use VirtualBox or a commercial program like Parallels or VMWare and will allow a fairly seamless experience and the VM's are very responsive... much like being an a dedicated machine - usually that's the concern with most users that are not acclimated to such products. This configuration would also allow you to mess the the Kernel and allow you to roll back, especially if you seriously break something or want different configurations.

Grub support on Mac hardware is not that great and will take more work and is less seamless than rEFIt, I have used it and it works great.

Here is another step-by-step article:

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This looks interesting. Anyone have experience? Problems???? – ncmathsadist Jun 8 '11 at 1:21
I agree with you especially about the possibility to mess with everything without worries; but I would not reccomend virtualization if the OP wants to use full power with the machine (I for one use XP just for gaming and virtualization doesn't fits my needs) – dag729 Jun 8 '11 at 1:23
I need native muscle in all of these OSs. – ncmathsadist Jun 8 '11 at 1:25
@ncmathsadist: for native muscles I suggest to go with partition and installation. Avoid virtualization (and trust me: GRUB does this job: just google for it) – dag729 Jun 8 '11 at 1:29
The only lack of "muscle" you're going to see is on 3d acceleration... both commercial products are pretty good with that. If you have enough RAM and are either building in .net or tinkering with the kernel in Linux, you won't notice the difference other than the OS running in a window... but you can go full-screen. – Dustin G. Jun 8 '11 at 1:54

Here the steps I'd follow:

  1. create 5 partitions, that is one / for each OS, one swap and one data (optional);
  2. install OSX on one partition
  3. install windows on another partition
  4. THEN install your linux distro of choice

NOTE that GRUB should take care of the other OSes installed and provide you with a simple menu for you to choose.

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Windows does not respect partitions and often corrupts is neighbors. It seems one must keep it in an iron box, lest it corrupt its companions – ncmathsadist Jun 14 '11 at 1:18

I think you can either use Bootcamp or as I did: create your partitions via some Linux Boot CD. Try out GPT partition maps and later on, you will need to install rEFIt



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