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I spent the past few hours getting the Debian installer to finally boot from a USB drive. I had to install rEFIt to get that working. So I installed debian, deleted the Mac OS X installation in the process, and now I can't boot into Debian because rEFIt is no longer on the drive since it got erased with Mac OS X it seems. So now I have a Macbook with no CD drive, and no bootable operating system.

I've got a USB flash drive, a windows PC, and a linux PC at my disposal. How the heck can I fix this?

I want the final product to be a Macbook with Debian on it, and nothing else.

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Exactly which MacBook? – Spiff Mar 12 '12 at 1:22
And do you have a Mac OS X install DVD anywhere? One that's valid for that revision of MacBook? – Spiff Mar 12 '12 at 1:25
Spiff: The first Intel Macbook, iirc. Also, I don't have the original disc, but I could burn one. – Doug Mar 12 '12 at 2:00
Also, is there anyway to make a bootable USB drive of mac os x from windows or linux? I could use that to get mac os x working again on the laptop, then retry linux. – Doug Mar 12 '12 at 2:15
Does either your Windows or Linux PC have FireWire (a.k.a. IEEE 1394 Serial Bus, i.LINK, sometimes even labeled "DV bus")? – Spiff Mar 12 '12 at 2:47

I don't have any direct experience with EFI Macs, but this should work:

  1. Install rEFIt to the USB drive (you might need to format to HFS+ first).
  2. Use the USB drive to boot Debian.
  3. Once you're in Debian, install rEFIt and GRUB 2 to the internal drive (according to this page).
share|improve this answer
How can I format the drive with HFS+ or install rEFIt without access to a Mac? – Doug Mar 12 '12 at 1:55
Heh. Good question. I guess you could use another Linux box if you have one (or a live CD). There's a commercial program for Windows called "MacDrive" that claims to be able to create HFS+ volumes, but I've never used it. – user55325 Mar 12 '12 at 2:00
Even if I get it formatted, I don't think rEFIt installer will run on anything but OS X :s – Doug Mar 12 '12 at 2:16
It looks like the 'installer' is just sudo bless --folder "$DIR" --file "$DIR/$LOADERNAME" --labelfile "$DIR/refit.vollabel where $DIR is . and $LOADERNAME is refit.efi, so you could probably do the same thing with hfsutils on Linux and have it work (I have done this on a PowerPC Mac and it worked fine (with yaboot, not rEFIt), so it might work for the x86 Mac too.) – user55325 Mar 12 '12 at 2:31
I don't think so, "bless" is a Mac OS X command that sets boot options. Although I do have a bit of an idea. I'm going to try running Mac OS X in virtualbox on my PC to install rEFIt on the flash drive. It may just work... – Doug Mar 12 '12 at 2:40

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