How-To Install Ubuntu 8.10 on a White MacBook

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Installing Ubuntu (or any other Linux) on a Macintosh is a slightly different process than installing Ubuntu on a more traditional PC. Various differences in the hardware, particularly the use of the EFI firmware system, mean that some extra effort is required to get your favourite distro up and running on your favourite hardware.

This tutorial is inspired and somewhat derived from the Ubuntu Mactel Community Documentation, as well as my own experience of this process.

So let’s take a look at the steps involved, before we dive in.

Overview

We can divide the installation process into these major steps:

  1. Make free space
  2. Install rEFIt boot loader
  3. Run Ubuntu installer (setting GRUB boot loader location)
  4. Sync MBR with rEFIt
  5. Boot the system and uninstall rEFIt

I will be installing Ubuntu 8.10 on a late 2006 white MacBook, so this guide may be somewhat specific to the white MacBook, but should be fairly similar on most Intel Macs.

Why?

Because the MacBook is a really nice piece of hardware. Many bits and pieces of the MacBook hardware work out of the box, including:

  • Graphics
    • Intel GMA 950 and Intel GMA X1300 integrated graphics have open source drivers, so everything 'just works’ out of the box, including desktop effects.
    • The newer NVIDIA 9400M-based MacBooks will require the installation of the NVIDIA proprietary driver for full graphics support.
  • WiFi
    • Support for the WiFi chip used in the MacBook is built right into recent revisions of the Linux kernel. The result? WiFi 'just works’. Seriously.
  • Bluetooth
  • Audio
    • After a little fiddle with the audio volume levels.

Backup, Backup, Backup

Before you do anything, make a full backup of your system. Anything you care about must be kept somewhere else as well, just in case this process goes wrong. A Time Machine backup should be fine, as long as you don’t forget to also backup the exceptions to your Time Machine backup separately if you don’t want to lose them.

Once you are completely confident that you could restore the entire system in a snap, or are convinced that you don’t care about anything on the machine, go ahead and continue with this tutorial.

Make Free Space

The first step is to make enough free space on your disk for Ubuntu to exist within. There are essentially two ways to achieve this. Unless you’re reinstalling Mac OS X from scratch anyway, it is probably a better idea to use the Boot Camp method, as you don’t have to delete everything to do so.

Using Boot Camp Assistant

Screenshot of Boot Camp Assistant

Despite being designed for dual booting Windows and Mac OS X, Boot Camp Assistant is very useful to us as it automatically repartitions the hard drive on the fly, without deleting any of your data.

The space that you allocate to 'Windows’ in this screen will, obviously, be the space that Ubuntu will occupy, so give yourself as much space as you think you will need.

Once you’ve clicked Partition, simply choose Quit and Install Later, as we won’t actually be installing Windows.

Now Boot Camp Assistant very helpfully formatted the partition as FAT32. Um, great, but we actually want free space. We’ll fix this from the Ubuntu side later.

By Reinstalling

If you happen to be reinstalling OS X anyway, you can use Disk Utility from within the Mac OS X Installer (in the Utilities menu) to partition the disk, manually creating a Mac OS Extended partition for OS X and deliberately leaving some space as unformatted.

Install rEFIt Boot Loader

In order to fix the system’s Master Boot Record (MBR) after the Ubuntu install is complete, we need to briefly install rEFIt, a custom bootloader for EFI-based computers, including Intel Macs.

Go ahead and download the Mac disk image and run the installer package.

rEFIt Installer

Once it is complete, reboot the Mac and verify that you get a screen that looks something like the following (it won’t have a Tux icon yet and shouldn’t have a Windows icon either).

rEFIt boot screen

OK, we’re finally ready to kick off the Ubuntu install.

Run Ubuntu Installer

For the most part, this process is exactly the same as you would do on a PC. There are, however, two crucial steps you must get right.

Before getting started on the install, however, we need to get rid of the FAT32 formatting of the Boot Camp partition. Pop the Ubuntu CD into your computer and reboot. At the rEFIt boot menu, you can choose to boot Linux from CD. I recommend you plug in a USB mouse at this point so you can right-click.

Select Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer to get into the full Ubuntu interface. Once the system boots, go to Applications > Accessories > Terminal.

$ sudo gparted

This opens the partition editor, so we can go ahead and wipe that partition.

Partition editor screenshot

You’ll want to find the FAT32 partition labelled 'Boot Camp’ (NOT the one labelled 'EFI’ at the start), right-click it and choose Delete. Apply the changes.

Once the changes are applied, you can continue with the installation, as normal, except the following two things which must be set correctly:

Choose 'Largest Continuous Free Space’

When you are asked by the installer how you want to partition the disk, choose Guided – use largest continuous free space. Since you just made sure you have a large chunk of free space earlier, by deleting the Boot Camp FAT32 partition, it will recognise that and use the space for Ubuntu.

If you are desperate to partition it yourself and know what you are doing, just make sure the bootable partition is the first one. Don’t put your swap before your data on the disk, or the Mac will try to boot from the swap partition.

Install GRUB on sda

At the final page of the installer, 'Ready to install’, where you are shown all the settings for the install, make sure you click the Advanced button and choose to install GRUB onto /dev/sda3.

Sync MBR with rEFIt

So, the installation should finish and you will be told to reboot. When the system comes back up, do not jump straight away into the new Linux option on your rEFIt boot menu.

rEFIt boot screen

Instead, select the Partition Tool icon. It should tell you that the Master Boot Record need to be synced and offer to do so. Press the Y key to accept this and you will return to the boot screen.

I recommend at this point you select the option to shut down your Mac, give it a few seconds to clear everything out and then turn it back on. This avoids a lockup I experienced right after you perform the MBR sync.

Boot the System and Uninstall rEFIt

At this point, you should be ready to go. At the rEFIt boot menu, choose the Linux option and Ubuntu should boot. At this point, everything should be just the same as it would be on a PC.

You can now uninstall rEFIt if you desire, or you can leave it intact and use it each time the system boots to choose your operating system. The choice is entirely up to you.

If you remove it, you can boot into Ubuntu with the Mac’s native boot loader by holding down the Option key at startup and choosing the disk entitled 'Windows’.

Conclusion

And that’s it. After you’ve done this little bit of fiddling to get it installed, and perhaps once you have configured some components that don’t work out of the box, you have a very nice little Ubuntu machine.

Avatar for peter Peter Upfold - http://peter.upfold.org.uk/

Peter Upfold is a technology enthusiast from the UK. Peter’s interest in Linux stems back to 2003, when curiosity got the better of him and he began using SUSE 9.0. Now he runs Linux Mint 9 on the desktop, runs a CentOS-based web server from home for his personal website and dabbles in all sorts of technology things across the Windows, Mac and open source worlds.

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Discussion: How-To Install Ubuntu 8.10 on a White MacBook

  1. Silvio (guest)

    # Posted on 26 March 2009 at 01:29 PM

    There are many models of White and Black MacBooks and different tutorials for each. First you have to run this in the terminal: sudo dmidecode -s system-product-name And depending on the hardware model, you will have to use the according tutorial.

    Examples: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MacBook2-1/Intrepid https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MacBook4-1/Intrepid https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MacBook5-1/Intrepid

    For the Macbook5,2 model there are still some unresolved issues. Please see this bug for more information in case you have this model: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/341230 Please post if you have something worth mentioning.



  2. Sunny (guest)

    # Posted on 27 March 2009 at 08:56 PM

    Nice tutorial. Tried it out and it worked fine. I just have one question. I want to increase the linux partition size how should I do that using the Disk Utility in Mac?



  3. # Posted on 27 March 2009 at 09:28 PM

    Sunny said:

    Nice tutorial. Tried it out and it worked fine. I just have one question. I want to increase the linux partition size how should I do that using the Disk Utility in Mac?

    As far as I know, the only way to achieve this would be to first delete the Ubuntu partition(s) from Disk Utility under OS X, which, obviously, means you lose everything under Ubuntu, and then repeat the installation procedure from the Boot Camp bit (giving yourself more space this time).

    I suppose in theory it is possible to resize the OS X partition on the fly, and then grow the Ubuntu partition into the freed space, but I haven't tried it and would likely be a much more complicated procedure.



  4. Dan (guest)

    # Posted on 27 March 2009 at 11:20 PM

    I've been doing the steps indicated by the guide, and after I clicked install, it went about 25% and gave me an error saying that my hard drive may be old, or there may be a problem with it, or something. It said to try burning the live CD again at a lower speed, or to clean the optical drive, or move to a cooler environment, or something. Now, when I go back to try the install again, it shows the /dev/sda3 partition is filled. . . I'm not sure what happened and how to proceed. Help would be appreciated.



  5. Dan (guest)

    # Posted on 28 March 2009 at 12:06 AM

    This was the exact message:

    [Errno 5] Input/output error - This particular error is often due to a faulty CD/DVD disk or drive, or a faulty hard disk. It may help to clean the CD/DVD, to burn the CD/DVD at a lower speed, to clean the CD/DVD drive lens (cleaning kits are often available from electronics suppliers), to check whether the hard disk is old and in need of replacement, or to move the system to a cooler environment.



  6. Dan (guest)

    # Posted on 28 March 2009 at 01:22 AM

    Okay, I don't know what it was, but I tryed a few more times and cleaned the disk, and it worked. Thanks for the guide!



  7. akhil (guest)

    # Posted on 30 March 2009 at 05:41 PM

    how to delete the whole setup and get back to the old system without loosing any data? pls help



  8. # Posted on 01 April 2009 at 10:44 AM

    akhil said:

    how to delete the whole setup and get back to the old system without loosing any data? pls help

    Try going into Boot Camp Assistant on Mac OS X and there should be an option to delete the 'Windows' partition.

    Note - I haven't looked into this myself, so I'm not sure if this produces the intended result with the Ubuntu setup. Try at your own risk (with a full backup), unfortunately.



  9. Andreas (guest)

    # Posted on 01 April 2009 at 06:30 PM

    Hello, i have come to the point where you should delete Fat32 but i cant find the fat32 labelled boot camp...only the efi one



  10. andy (guest)

    # Posted on 03 April 2009 at 12:34 AM

    is this the same process with mac books late 08



  11. Renjith (guest)

    # Posted on 04 April 2009 at 08:49 AM

    i would like to change my os from windows to ubuntu what are the steps for installation & by doing that if i lost my datas that i am stored at that harddisk



  12. Sunny (guest)

    # Posted on 04 April 2009 at 09:18 AM

    How to delete the Ubuntu partition using disk utility it doesn't seems to get deleted.



  13. Alex (guest)

    # Posted on 11 April 2009 at 11:28 AM

    I did something very wrong...i installed the osx on my brand new macbook pro 2.53 and after that installed boot camp so i could boot the kubuntu alternate cd ... Everything worked just fine so i didnt even bothered to install install refit :)) so the kubuntu instalation finished succesfully but now after i realized what have i done to my macbook because i think the master boot record was destroyed so every time i start my macbook up i get a blue screen and right after that the macbook reboots itself and it goes into kubuntu.i tryed rebooting holding C ,the option key and any other freekin key i thought about or read about and still nothing.my os x instalation cd wont boot and neyther the os x .i just want to restore my os x on my mac i dont care about loosing data what should i do??can i boot a usb flash stick? I have no ideea .i know this hole story sounds very noobish but i got my macbook yesturday and i rushed into installing linux on it and missed some criticall steps ... Please be kind enough and give me a solution...anybody? Thanks



  14. Mark (guest)

    # Posted on 12 April 2009 at 06:24 PM

    Perfect, typing from a freshly installed copy of ubuntu now. Great tutorial many thanks.

    Alex, my guess is that you have wiped the main boot record of your mac, you'll have to reinstall OSX to get it back, its very important that you select the option that says guided - use free space rather that the option that says guided - use entire disk.

    Reinstall OSX and go back to the start, take your time with each step, the tutorial is spot on.

    With the OSX CD in your drive hold down the C key and switch the machine on and you should be presented with the option to boot from the disk. Go into disk utility and wipe the drive and start again.



  15. Alex (guest)

    # Posted on 12 April 2009 at 07:16 PM

    I went to my local apple store and wiped the hard drive using firewire and now everything works great.i'll be more carefull next time .great tutorial Thanks !!!



  16. spraynard (guest)

    # Posted on 18 April 2009 at 08:01 PM

    F$cking sweet, way easy and i'm a newb



  17. yokemay (guest)

    # Posted on 19 April 2009 at 11:56 AM

    I'm new to Ubuntu and Macbook. I've downloaded and burnt the Ubuntu 8.10 as an ISO image. I tested the CD on Windows Vista and it worked perfectly.

    meanwhile in the rEFIT boot menu on my Macbook 5.2, there's no icon that allows me to choose booting Linux from CD.

    Please help. thanks a lot



  18. Daveuu (guest)

    # Posted on 21 April 2009 at 02:34 PM

    '. . . the space that Ubuntu will occupy, so give yourself as much space as you think you will need.'

    Can OS X and Ubuntu share home partitions? Would 7 Gb for / /var etc plus swap partition be enough with mounting to 'Macintosh HD' for /home and sharing data with OS X (which is a *nix anyway isn't it?) be OK? (I'm completely new to OS X).



  19. Jerry (guest)

    # Posted on 06 May 2009 at 06:21 AM

    Thank you so much Peter for the fantastic guide! is it the same for Ubuntu 9.04 on my white previous-generation macbook? =)



  20. # Posted on 06 May 2009 at 10:10 AM

    Daveuu said:

    '. . . the space that Ubuntu will occupy, so give yourself as much space as you think you will need.'

    Can OS X and Ubuntu share home partitions? Would 7 Gb for / /var etc plus swap partition be enough with mounting to 'Macintosh HD' for /home and sharing data with OS X (which is a *nix anyway isn't it?) be OK? (I'm completely new to OS X).

    Leopard uses journaled HFS+ as the filesystem, which Linux cannot currently write to. I imagine something along these lines may be possible, but at the moment I wouldn't advise it, as it seems to be more trouble than it is worth.



  21. # Posted on 06 May 2009 at 10:11 AM

    Jerry said:

    Thank you so much Peter for the fantastic guide! is it the same for Ubuntu 9.04 on my white previous-generation macbook? =)

    This should work on most, if not all, white MacBooks. I obviously can only test with mine.

    I have followed my own tutorial with a 64-bit 9.04 CD and can confirm it still works exactly as detailed here.



  22. Daniel (guest)

    # Posted on 07 May 2009 at 03:32 PM

    Unfortunately, eEFIt menu isn't showing after installation. I tried running the enable.sh script from terminal but still nothing. If I leave the ubuntu cd on drive, it just boots automatically and directly from there, not showing any previous screen. If I proceed with the installation, will it break my startup?



  23. Pedro Needs Help! (guest)

    # Posted on 08 May 2009 at 12:30 AM

    yokemay said:

    I'm new to Ubuntu and Macbook. I've downloaded and burnt the Ubuntu 8.10 as an ISO image. I tested the CD on Windows Vista and it worked perfectly.

    meanwhile in the rEFIT boot menu on my Macbook 5.2, there's no icon that allows me to choose booting Linux from CD.

    Please help. thanks a lot

    I have the same problem please help!!!



  24. # Posted on 09 May 2009 at 10:11 AM

    yokemay and Pedro,

    Try holding down the C key with the disc in the drive as the machine boots. You don't actually need to use rEFIt to boot the CD, the built-in EFI firmware should see it as a 'Windows' boot disc and allow you to boot it.

    Failing that, try holding down Option and see if a 'Windows' CD comes up in the list there.



  25. neokinok (guest)

    # Posted on 11 May 2009 at 11:20 PM

    hello Peter, I just got a white macbook of 2009 the hw.model is macbook5,2. I have tried to install the Kubuntu 9.04 and the Ubuntu 9.04 but the rEFIt doesn't show it in the start up boot. I have tried to restart the machine with the Ubuntu liveCD and "c" and most of the times charged the live cd but I could only choose the lenguage; inmediatly the system loads with and error ending with a black display. Once I got the change to get to the F6 options and I choosed NOACPI and when it runned the liveCD it happend the same... error and black screen... do you know what is happenig? Thanks a lot in advance, great tutorial!



  26. neokinok (guest)

    # Posted on 12 May 2009 at 01:42 AM

    hello Peter, I succeed :-) !!!! Finally I have kubuntu 9.04 in the white macbook5,2. The differences with your tutorial were that I had to choose ACPI=no in the F6 option before running the liveCD and also I had to get the "gparted" software because it was not included in the kubuntu. The rest was fine, following your instructions for the installation... now will see how is everything with the rest of the hardware... thanks



  27. Homer (guest)

    # Posted on 18 May 2009 at 03:17 PM

    Peter, I've followed your tutorial to use Ubuntu 9.04. Everything goes fine, but when I try to boot Ubuntu from the HD, GRUB is shown and then nothing succeeds. Nor it boots ubuntu nor can I press <enter> so that it can boot.



  28. sad (guest)

    # Posted on 22 May 2009 at 04:24 AM

    WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT ???

    Linux SUCKS



  29. matt (guest)

    # Posted on 25 May 2009 at 03:35 AM

    If Ive installed 8.10 on my white macbook can I simply upgrade to 9.04 without losing applications and settings?

    Also how do I get 9.04 on 20 inch aluminum iMac



  30. neokinok (guest)

    # Posted on 25 May 2009 at 10:52 PM

    sorry I have to say that I didn't suceed in installing ubuntu in the withe macbook5,2 (early 2009 model) a grub problem always appears. It freezes in grub loading stage2 or in the screen were you choose the ubuntu 9.04 generic..... The installation in the partition seems to be ok. I have done rEFIt and acpi=off I followed you manual and ubuntu's forum official webpage, etc always refered for models macbook5,1 or elder. Any ideas?



  31. Matt (guest)

    # Posted on 04 June 2009 at 11:59 AM

    <quote>Leopard uses journaled HFS+ as the filesystem, which Linux cannot currently write to. I imagine something along these lines may be possible, but at the moment I wouldn't advise it, as it seems to be more trouble than it is worth.</quote>

    Thanks for the helpful tutorial.

    Linux can currently write to HFS+. It just can't write to HFS+ when journalling is enabled. So it is quite possible to share a home drive. See http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/MacBook

    One quick question: When you partition by hand during the Ubuntu install, is it possible to create extended partitions or are you limited to the four partitions that GPT allows?



  32. # Posted on 08 June 2009 at 05:20 PM

    Hi,

    You may have heard that Boot Camp Assistant Beta has expired for the Tiger OSX. I have tried and there is no way to get Boot Camp to work on Tiger at this point.

    Is there another way to partition my drive to install Ubuntu? I tried using USB Startup Disk creator (from a friend's Ubuntu laptop) and created a live USB for Ubuntu 9.04. I installed rEFIt, and tried to boot from the USB, but it wouldn't work.

    Any ideas?



  33. joyce (guest)

    # Posted on 12 June 2009 at 03:00 AM

    Hi, I'm new to Ubuntu and Macbook. My macbook is MB466,silver, Macbook OS is Leopard 10.5.6 I used the boot camp assistant to partition HDD to install ubuntu8.04. Everything goes fine when installing,but after restart,the system shows beep sound,black screen. Any ideas?



  34. joyce (guest)

    # Posted on 12 June 2009 at 03:00 AM

    Hi, I'm new to Ubuntu and Macbook. My macbook is MB466,silver, Macbook OS is Leopard 10.5.6 I used the boot camp assistant to partition HDD to install ubuntu8.04. Everything goes fine when installing,but after restart,the system shows beep sound,black screen. Any ideas?



  35. tomi (guest)

    # Posted on 20 June 2009 at 02:35 PM

    Where can I download Boot Camp for free? I use Mac OS X Tiger.



  36. CW (guest)

    # Posted on 24 June 2009 at 12:45 AM

    I have had my MBP installed with a similar setup, except that I have it triple booted with OS X, Vista, & Ubuntu. In addition to that, I have Parallels set up to look at my boot camp partition of Windows. I never can seem to get Parallels to setup with Ubuntu. Is that because of ext3 and my OS X not mounting that partition? It is driving me crazy.



  37. Mike D (guest)

    # Posted on 30 June 2009 at 06:29 PM

    I was having the same problem as yokemay and Pedro... it ended up being a simple fix for me. I burned Ubuntu to the cd as a file instead of burning it as an image. Make sure you are doing that correctly...



  38. Korda (guest)

    # Posted on 25 July 2009 at 08:47 PM

    Great tutorial! I bought a brand new macbook 2.13 in white so I could stick with ddr2 ram instead of the new unibody ddr3 ram models. I ran into one snag, after choosing install ubuntu screen went black and laptop unresponsive. I restarted into mac osx, then restarted back into refit so the cd would show up on the menu again. This time i made sure the install option was highlighted then hit F6, then i types acpi=off and hit enter. Voila! Great Tutorial thanks!



  39. Korda (guest)

    # Posted on 25 July 2009 at 08:50 PM

    Sorry me again.... just noticed tejunair comment. You should be able to run gparted from the livecd to change the partition size of your main partition... just as boot camp assistant would do for you. feel free to shoot me an email if you get snagged.... I've done this a couple of times. wildcat_sweettart at yahoo.ca



  40. Ocelot (guest)

    # Posted on 18 September 2009 at 02:42 AM

    Would you mind if I converted this over to a Power Point to show my class?



  41. # Posted on 18 September 2009 at 03:14 PM

    Ocelot,

    That’s absolutely fine. As long as you credit FOSSwire as the source of the original work and agree to share your version under the same license — http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

    All you practically need to do is to give us appropriate credit for the work and make sure you link to the licence in your version too, so anyone else getting hold of your presentation copy knows they have the same rights.



  42. Daniel (guest)

    # Posted on 13 November 2009 at 03:55 PM

    Peter, thanks for the great guide, its very clear and easy to follow. I do have one question though : you say to install GRUB at sda3 but I didn't notice any mention of sda1 or 2 or 4 or anything - is it sda1 - OSX, sda2 - Ubuntu, sda3 - GRUB, sda4 - swap? The picture of GPartEd in action does not make much sense to me. It is confusing in fact. And since the correct location for GRUB is so important, I really wonder about this sda3 ... Thanks.



  43. # Posted on 13 November 2009 at 04:53 PM

    Daniel,

    Apologies for the confusion with the GParted screenshot. That screenshot shows an extra HFS+ partition, as on my MacBook I also have a partition where Tiger is installed. This differs therefore from what I tell you to do in the guide.

    If you are following the guide for a dual boot with one OS X and one Linux, you do need to install GRUB on sda3, which should be the partition that is formatted as ext3 (and where you install Ubuntu),

    In the guide example, sda1 is the EFI partition used for the Mac’s normal boot process (shows up as FAT32), sda2 will be HFS+, where Mac OS X is installed and sda3 is where Ubuntu will be installed.

    You install the boot loader on sda3 specifically, rather than at the start of the disk due to the differences in the Mac boot process compared to a BIOS-based PC.

    With that in place, when the Mac boots, the normal EFI or rEFIt handles the boot process to begin with. If you choose Mac OS X to boot, everything proceeds normally. If you pick Linux, the EFI switches into a BIOS compatible boot mode targeting that partition. That boot procedure then is able to find GRUB, which does the rest.

    Hope this makes things a bit more clear. Do let me know if you want me to try and explain further or if this helped you.



  44. Jimmy (guest)

    # Posted on 15 November 2009 at 03:30 PM

    Hi Peter, and thanks for the tutorial! I managed to install Ubuntu 9.10 om my Macbook, but it won't show up in the rEFIt menu (only addition is a "legacy os" icon). When I press -alt- at startup I get the OSX icon and a "windows" icon. When I choose the windows icon I come to a Grub menu, but when I choose an option (Ubuntu) the computer freezes.

    I have made sure the partitions are synched. How can I boot into Ubuntu?

    Thank you, Jimmy



  45. # Posted on 15 November 2009 at 07:30 PM

    Jimmy,

    I haven’t yet tried this process from scratch with the new 9.10 release, so I can’t confirm whether this is something where 9.10 needs slightly different instructions to work properly, or if you have run into a more generic problem along the way.

    Until and if I get an opportunity to review this for the latest release, you might take a look at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MacBook — look for Karmic Koala 9.10 for your hardware revision of MacBook (which can be found in OS X’s System Profiler under ‘Model Identifier’).



  46. Jimmy (guest)

    # Posted on 16 November 2009 at 12:08 PM

    Thanks Peter,

    I found some information I will try.



  47. Alexander (guest)

    # Posted on 14 June 2010 at 12:32 PM

    If anyone has had problems trying this in Ubuntu 10.04, especially with installing the boot loader to /dev/sda3 the following should help:

    1. Start out by backing up your mac to an external drive.
    2. Install ReFIT. (restart two times, and it will take effect).
    3. Open Boot Camp and set up a windows partition.
    4. Shut down and boot into the Lucid install disk.
    5. Select the option to try linux without installing (ie. boot into the live CD).
    6. Open gparted (System > Administration)
    7. Use gparted to delete the boot camp partition.
    8. Remain in gparted, and create a tiny partition just after the mac partition (512M should be plenty). Name it BOOTCAMP or something memorable and set the file system as NTFS.
    9. Apply changes. (BE SURE TO APPLY CHANGES.) Then exit gparted.
    10. Start the Lucid installer from the desktop. Follow the locations and language and whatnot. When it asks you to prepare the disk, choose "Specify partitions manually."
    11. Select the partition you just created (which should be /dev/sda3) , choose Change --> use as NTFS. At Check Format choose mount point = /windows.
    12. Select the free space. You'll need to create two partitions here, one for Ubuntu, and one for Swap at the end. I set upFor the first partition, choose Use as Ext4, mount point = / . In the remaining section (I used 4096 bytes, ie. 4 Gig) choose Add --> use as Swap. Click ok.

    If everything worked as expected, you'll have 5 partitions: sda1 (EFI); sda2 (OSX); sda3 (NTFS); sda4 (where Ubuntu will go); and sda5 (the swap).

    1. Go through the rest of the installation. On the last screen (screen 8, iirc) click the Advanced button and choose to install the boot loader to /dev/sda3, which should now appear.

    Click Install and wait 20 or 30 minutes while Ubuntu installs.

    1. when the installation is complete, restart. In the rEFIt menu, choose the partition tool and resync.
    2. Power down your computer.
    3. Power up and you should be just fine.

    If you're not dual-booting, you should still choose to set up a special partition for GRUB, since it will whack out your EFI even if Ubuntu is the only thing there. (Get into the live CD, go gparted, wipe the drive, set up a partition for GRUB, one for Ubuntu, and one for the swap, and be sure to install GRUB in dev/sda2/ instead.)



  48. luis138 (guest)

    # Posted on 15 June 2010 at 01:32 PM

    Success! Macbook White 6,1 + Snow Leopard 10.6.3 + Ubuntu 10.04. Thanks Peter for the tutorial and Alexander for the extra help.



  49. Roque Pinel (guest)

    # Posted on 05 February 2011 at 04:45 PM

    I recently installed the Ubuntu on my MacBook. But I was looking for something more practical to enable the apple remote. Then I wrote this GNOME applet. It may be usable to other people...

    http://code.google.com/p/ir-switcher/



  50. Andrew (guest)

    # Posted on 07 August 2011 at 11:24 PM

    Hi. I screwed it up so I want to delete it. Mac disk utility won't let me touch the partitions. Help!



  51. Andrew (guest)

    # Posted on 07 August 2011 at 11:46 PM

    I'm gonna reinstall snow leopard anyway but how would I remove these empty partitions anyway?



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