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I have a 2011 MacBook Pro where I took out the optical drive and replaced it with a second hard drive, but I'm looking to dual boot Slackware. These machines can't boot from USB sticks for whatever reason, and the optical drive is out, so I'm wondering if anyone can give me some pointers on what to do here.

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migrated from Sep 10 '11 at 2:02

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

Buy a USB adapter to connect your optical drive. IDE or SATA to use adapters are cheap. – Zoredache Sep 10 '11 at 1:16
Your machine is capable of booting from a USB flash drive, the drive may not be formatted correctly. – Dustin G. Sep 10 '11 at 2:58
There's a lot of people who don't know how to format a USB flash drive. – wjl Sep 10 '11 at 3:11

If your machine can boot via PXE and you have another machine hooked in a cabled LAN, you can install Slackware following this great tutorial:

Out of the box PXE install server in Slackware 13.37

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I found an excellent tutorial on installing Linux from Windows without any Optical Drives or USB drives. But, many things still apply if you start from OSX. You'll just have to "translate" a bit.

If you are interested, here it is:

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I'm not exactly familiar with how OS X handles dualbooting, but i'd give unetbootin a look - it should let you download and boot from an ISO, which you should be able to bootstrap an install from, and supports OS X.

While its primarily for creating liveusb, least on the other two OSes it supports, booting off an existing hard drive is supported

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