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Thread: Linux on MacBook Pro

  1. #1

    Default Linux on MacBook Pro

    I have a MacBook Pro 13" early 2011 version and tried to install Ubuntu on it recently. I got a error about cannot find valid source or something similar. This happens with a live disk or during a proper install. Some googling revealing that its a problem with the installer being unable to read from the the optical drive due to a driver issue and you will have to have a bootable USB Ubuntu installer as well as a DVD/CD installer to get it to work. Also, I read that i'll have to use rEFIt to bypass the MacBooks use of EFI that prevents Linux from booting and blah, blah, blah.

    Is there a plain and simple way to either install Linux to a partition on my MacBook or use a LiveCD/DVD without having to jump through hoops? I've installed and used Linux on Windows desktops and laptops many times before and it was easier to setup than Windows. I've even tried custom versions of Debian and Ubuntu that claim to have built-in support for MacBooks but they fail to install with the same error. Any help is appreciated.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinodh View Post
    Is there a plain and simple way to either install Linux to a partition on my MacBook or use a LiveCD/DVD without having to jump through hoops? I've installed and used Linux on Windows desktops and laptops many times before and it was easier to setup than Windows. I've even tried custom versions of Debian and Ubuntu that claim to have built-in support for MacBooks but they fail to install with the same error. Any help is appreciated.
    Sadly no. The latest Macs have issues trying to install linux because of the issues you have mentioned. In some cases firmware updates have enabled it again (like for some of the mac mini's) However for the laptops your stil out of luck. Some folks have had success by booting the install from a USB key , or some usb external drives.

    Unfortunately there isnt an easy solution. Another solution is to boot the laptop in target mode (ie hold down T when it boots) and connected it as a firewire drive to an existing Linux system which you can then either clone, or use the standard linux tools to create a bootable partition.

    Apple have really screwed the pooch with regards to other operating systems on their later hardware

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by ithacapellin View Post
    Apple have really screwed the pooch with regards to other operating systems on their later hardware
    What's interesting is that Windows 7 and 8 installs with no issues. I'm busy getting more info on installing Linux Mint on my MacBook. I found a guide that I'll try tomorrow. Thanks anyway.

  4. #4

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    I am assuming your doing that via bootcamp That bit is designed to make Windows 7/8 work. Persevere. There are folks who have got it to work, so its definately possible.

  5. #5

  6. #6

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    Thanks for that but I had already read that guide before posting here. It also involves using refit and combining a CD install with a USB install. The Mint guide I tried failed with the same error as I mentioned in my first post despite installing refit. It seems like the biggest issue is EFI support on Linux. I will get this right. It's just going to take a fair amount of trial and error. I'll try the method for installing Debian later tonight if all else fails.

  7. #7
    Super Grandmaster ponder's Avatar
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    EFI & Linux works fine. Apple's crippled implementation is a different story.
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  8. #8
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    EFI was an annoying thing with my new motherboard, as it fudged my GRUB, but eventually I got it working. You just have to know how to get past that.
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  9. #9
    Super Grandmaster ponder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by froot View Post
    EFI was an annoying thing with my new motherboard, as it fudged my GRUB, but eventually I got it working. You just have to know how to get past that.
    Apple does not use a standard implementation of UEFI unfortunately.
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  10. #10

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    Why not just run Linux in a VM? Or is dual-booting essential?

    I would try and figure it out but I don't want to trash my current OSX install...
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  11. #11

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    I have a Time Machine backup just in case I trash OS X. I already used it a couple of times when I installed Snow Leopard and Windows 8. I did try using a VM for Linux but it's not as responsive. I was also struggling to get the display drivers to run in proper hardware mode.

  12. #12

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    Finally got it working. I was trying to install Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and 11.10. Both failed. Today I saw a YouTube video where someone used 12.04 LTS Beta 2 to install. I used bootcamp to create a partition, removed the Windows 7 DVD and booted to the Ubuntu disk. I manually partitioned the bootcamp partition to create the swap and system partitions and Ubuntu installed without any issues. I just need to figure out how to get wifi working...

  13. #13
    Super Grandmaster ponder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinodh View Post
    I just need to figure out how to get wifi working...
    Try posting in ubuntuforums, probably your best bet.
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  14. #14

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    A good starting point would be that debian wiki I linked to above.
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