Me and my friend decided to use his Macbook Pro 3.1 (Intel Core 2 Duo A1226) as a dedicated server for personal purposes. Our main goal is to install Debian. However as you might know, installing Linux on Mac can be a pain in the *** (self censor :)). We have 2 extra problems: Optical disk drive does not work, keyboard is broken so he uses Apple's wireless keyboard (which actually works even outside of OS).

We have tried so far, Bootable Ubuntu USB, which did not boot on Mac (by pressing Alt key continiously) We have tried rEFIt and rEFInd, where we could not boot and got the following error: "No bootable device" So we have tried the instruction on this (http://www.rodsbooks.com/ubuntu-efi/index.html) website, where we basically have created a BIOS Bootable Partition and expected to be able to boot Ubuntu Bootable USB with rEFInd, without success. In this case we see 2 options by the rEFIt/rEFInd: 1 Legacy OS Which returns following errors:

2 Ubuntu Here finally we have managed to see GRUB Loader, where we have 4 options (try ubuntu, install ubuntu, hardware (for manufacturers), ...) When we select "install ubuntu" screen goes black and we do not have any reaction and need to restart the Mac.

We have used dd to copy bootable USB to a partition and boot from there with rEFIt, without success.

We were wondering, whether there is another way? We also think about getting the HDD out and install the OS directly there, however EFI will still not recognize GRUB. Do you have any ideas how we can approach to have better chance?

Thanks a lot!

  • How did you create the bootable thumb drive? For it to be EFI bootable, it needs to use a compatible file system. Like FAT32. – Daniel B Apr 24 '14 at 22:31

I just did this on my late 2008 Macbook Pro laptop using Refit to boot between OS-X and Ubuntu. I did have to experiment some to figure out the best way to get Ubuntu running on the Apple hardware.

It seems like you could install from one of the working USB ports. One of the big things for me was to press a hot key to toggle the way the Ubuntu operating system was displayed. This tip I think I read either on ReFit's website or the official Ubuntu help page for installing Ubuntu on Apple hardware.

  • That is the hot key to be able to select between bootable partitions/drives. This works quite alright. However booting those is impossible. We get errors, for which I have pictures but cannot upload here as I do not have enough reputation :) – Genom Apr 27 '14 at 21:22
  • @Genom The hot key I was referring to is in regards to the 4th paragraph down from Boot Your Mac From the CD at this page: help.ubuntu.com/community/MactelSupportTeam/… . Basically, it amounts to pressing F6 when you see the man then selecting nomodeset for the boot option. Also, I had to use the latest version of Ubuntu for it to work. I hope this helps. :D Ubuntu is great. The keyboard even lights up with Ubuntu running on the Apple hardware as with OS-X. – user_loser Apr 28 '14 at 22:41
  • thanks a lot for the info. The solution was using nomodeset! I will write it as solution and reference you. If you write yourself I will mark your's as the solution. Thanks! – Genom May 6 '14 at 22:31
  • @Genom Ah no worries. I am glad you got it working! Cool. :D I think you are correct that selecting nomodeset does help support the Linux Ubuntu graphics on the Apple hardware, which is not a concern from my experience on IBM types of computers that normally run Windows out of the box. Although when I run Knoppix as a live disk on my Apple Macbook Pro this graphics issue is not a problem as with Ubuntu. – user_loser May 7 '14 at 23:27

We have somehow managed (cant trace those steps as it was my friend trying around - but we could boot from USB with rEFInd) to boot USB so we had the screen with: Try Ubuntu Install Ubuntu ... ..

There by pressing e or c you can edit boot options. There by adding nomodeset to parameters, we could start ubuntu. Apparently it has something to do with graphics.

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