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Anybody ever try putting ubuntu on a mac?

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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-30-09 07:41 PM
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Anybody ever try putting ubuntu on a mac?
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moggie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-01-09 08:09 AM
Response to Original message
1. Way back in the G4 days, yes
After I replaced my old iMac G4, I stuck Ubuntu on it to play with. No problems that I recall. I suspect that's not relevant to you, though, since you'll probably be using more recent hardware and certainly a more recent release.

I've installed Ubuntu in a Fusion VM on a Mac, but the only Intel Linux distros I've installed on the bare metal are Red Hat (EL5.2) and Fedora 11. I've currently got my Pro dual-booting Leopard and Fedora 11. The Fedora installation went smoothly. It helps to have rEFIt.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-01-09 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I haven't had trouble with refit but the ubuntu installation on a spare drive screws up the
bootsector on the main drive, for reasons I don't understand. I finally recovered from this, using multiple backups but it's been a royal PITA
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-02-09 09:30 PM
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3. Here's what worked for me, using jaunty
Install barebones OSX on second drive
Partition the drive with Bootcamp: giving OSX minimal space
Install refit on a third drive
Boot Ubuntu from disk using the first noninstall option
Use the Administration partition tool to delete the bootcamp partition
Use the same tool to repartition the new free space into ext3 partition for ubuntu and swap partition
Run ubuntu installer, using the manual option
When partitioning, be sure to choose correct /dev/sdN with format box checked & mount point /
On the final install window, click advanced and choose correct location for GRUB installation
Reboot using the installer cd
Find about the grub problem from the help menu and fix it with grub, using root and setup commands
Reboot to the refit menu
Use the partitioning tool there to sync the partition tables
At this point, I can't boot ubuntu via refit but I can boot it from a drive that OSX misrecognizes as Windows






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moggie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-03-09 05:23 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Wow, that's convoluted
Maybe this weekend I'll try a one-disk install so I can see this MBR problem for myself.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-03-09 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Everybody sez: use rEFIt
Here are some things to watch out for:

If you have a Windows installation, the Ubuntu installer will want to install on the drive containing Windows: this can mess up, since (I think) Bootcamp doesn't want more than four partitions on a drive. That's the reason for choosing the "manual" option in the partition step during installation

If you fail to click advanced to choose correct location for GRUB installation on the final install window, you may modify the wrong bootsector. I did this once, and lost the ability to use my optical drive, which meant I couldn't recover from the installation disk. Luckily I had a copy of the installation disk on a thumb drive, could erase and reformat the disk with the damaged bootsector, and thus regained control of my optical drive

The final syncing of the partitions is apparently required because there is a known bug in the Ubuntu installer

I'll provide links if you want, but I pieced together what I did from several different instructions I found, and you might do better to sort it out yourself for your own machine. Gareful googling should provide you a variety of different instruction sets
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moggie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-03-09 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Thanks, I'll go in blind
It's more of an adventure that way!

No Windows. I have a VM for that, for the rare occasions when I need it. I wouldn't waste a partition on it.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-03-09 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. If you do a clean install on a single disk machine without multiple operating systems, you
may not have the problems I had. I found a number of different suggestions on the web about how to proceed, and some produced major FUBARS for me: between reinstalling damaged operating systems and restoring lost data, it took me three days to find a combo that worked. The ubuntu pages were helpful, but in a limited way

I'd love to hear what works for you! Best wishes
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moggie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-06-09 07:04 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Here's what I did
Since I was just doing this as an experiment, with no intention of keeping it, I swapped out my Whitebook's internal disk (immediately before Leopard came out I replaced the original 80 GB by a 120 GB, and kept the former around as a spare). So, I put the 80 GB back in, briefly got nostalgic about how Tiger looked, and then started:

Installed Leopard from DVD, and brought it up to date.

Installed rEFIt 0.13, and did a test boot to check. Also wrote rEFIt to bootable CD for good measure.

Used Boot Camp Assistant to create a partition for Windows, hitting 'quit and install later' when it asked for install media.

Booted from Leopard DVD, and ran Disk Utility from the utilities menu.

Created a new partition for Ubuntu between the Mac OS and Windows partitions (shrank the former for this). Formatted it as 'Mac OS extended (journaled)', though it won't stay this way for long.

Quit and rebooted, choosing the partitioning tool from the rEFIt menu. Let it update the MBR partition table, which was out of sync with GPT.

Rebooted from XP install media.

In Windows setup, selected the final partition (created by Boot Camp Assistant), which Windows calls drive C:

When Windows was installed and booted, inserted Leopard DVD and let it do its stuff installing drivers etc. If I intended to keep Windows, I'd have done software updates at this point.

When finished with Windows, booted from Ubuntu 9.04 CD and selected 'install'.

In the partitioner, selected /dev/sda3 (the partition between Leopard and Windows), and formatted it as ext3 for root. Ignored warning about lack of swap.

At the 'ready to install' screen, clicked on 'advanced' and selected /dev/sda3 for the boot loader location.

After Ubuntu install, created a swap file to make up for the lack of a swap partition (dd, mkswap, add to fstab, swapon -a).

Again, I'd have done software updates now if keeping this.

All done!

The four-partition limit is annoying. It's a consequence of the hybrid GPT/MBR partition tables needed to support legacy shit like Windows. GPT itself supports plenty of partitions, but when you run a hybrid GPT/MBR setup for the benefit of an OS like XP which needs an MBR partition table, this doesn't support extended partitions; and, since the Mac uses one for the EFI system partition, you're left with only one partition for all of Linux.

Since a swap file is less efficient than a swap partition, and needs to be avoided in backups, I suspect what I should have done (before installing Ubuntu) is to use parted from the live CD to shrink the Windows partition, and use the space reclaimed for a swap partition in the GPT table, leaving the GPT and MBR tables out of sync. Linux is GPT-aware, and Windows shouldn't even notice.

The Ubuntu Jaunty installer is quite pretty, but I was surprised to see no sign of LVM or RAID in the partitioner.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-07-09 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. Thanks!
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-02-09 11:11 PM
Response to Original message
4. Posting from ubuntu installation. So far it seems like a nice OS
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-18-09 07:00 PM
Response to Original message
11. I had Ubuntu and it was why I went Mac!
My scanner wasn't supported in ubuntu (Epson Perfection 4180) and terrific as Ubuntu otherwise legitimately is, OS X 10.5.6 boots up faster and feels more solid/complete. Doesn't feel like freeware either...

Why ditch OS X?
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-18-09 07:33 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. I didn't ditch OSX: I installed Vista on a second drive and Ubuntu on a third
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moggie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-20-09 08:22 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Some of us need more than one OS
For example, I spent part of this weekend working on our Red Hat deployment scripting - via Linux virtual machines on my MacBook.
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guyton Donating Member (370 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-21-09 01:30 PM
Response to Original message
14. just did on two different intel macs ...
on both, used disk utility to shrink the existing partition and make a big play area at the end of the disk.

booted ubuntu and told it to grab the free space at the end of the disk.

worked pretty well. only two problems ... on the laptop, the trackpad didn't work very well, but
both a normal and bluetooth mouse worked fine. And on the tower (with a two-connector video
card), I had to move the connection to the other port to see the screen.

Was only testing, so I didn't play with EFI hacks, just using the system picker (hold down option)
was enough to pick the os-x vs. unix boot (which showed up as windows to the picker).
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