Linux on Mac OS X

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by jeff.macaddict, Nov 18, 2003.

  1. jeff.macaddict macrumors regular

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    Washington
    #1
    I downloaded a ccopy of Linux that works on Macintosh computers, and found out that it says it needs its' own partition before I can install it. I don't want to have to reformat my entire 80GB hard drive, ive used over 2/3 of it on valuble stuff like videogames and dv files and schoolwork.

    Does anybody know of a workaround-or should I make this my excuse to buy that PowerBook or iBook I've been wanting? I have the newest copy of 'Yellow Dog Linux'.

    Thanks in advance
    Jeff
     
  2. daveL macrumors 68020

    daveL

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    #2
    NO

    No, there's no work-around. The two file systems (Linux, OS X) are incompatible and must have their own partitions.
     
  3. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    Oct 5, 2001
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    #3
    daveL nailed it.

    I installed YDL briefly on my PowerBook before installing Panther. It required a complete repartitioning to work.

    So, crank up CarbonCopyCloner, or whatever your backup method of choice is, and then slice up your drive if you want to give it a shot.
     
  4. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #4
    Re: Linux on Mac OS X

    Do a Web search for non-destructive disk partitioning. Tools do exist that will resize your existing partitions without wiping your data. I remember seeing at least one that will resize HFS+ partitions (which is what Macs use).

    These tools aren't free however.
     
  5. daveL macrumors 68020

    daveL

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    #5
    Re: Re: Linux on Mac OS X

    Trust me, you're still going to have problems. Linux wants to be in the first partition and also rewrites the boot block.
     
  6. Felix_the_Mac macrumors member

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    #6
    You will need some sort of boot-loader to allow you select the operating system when you start the computer.

    This will of course be included with YDL.
    I suggest you visit the YDL support web site or user forums.

    (I presume they have both these resources :)

    Someone there should know more about it than we do.
     
  7. leet1 macrumors 6502

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    Nov 3, 2003
    #7
    Re: Re: Re: Linux on Mac OS X

    Wow that sucks, pretty big drawback for having linux on a mac
     
  8. cb911 macrumors 601

    cb911

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    #8
    jeff.macaddict, you only solution is to go and get a new PB now. ;) :D

    does Linux really have to be the first partition? i don't really know if that's true... i'm still going to try and install Gentoo. :D
     
  9. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

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    #9
    I was about to install Gentoo, as well, until I saw that I had to wipe my HD. That put a stop to my adventurous streak real fast.
     
  10. cb911 macrumors 601

    cb911

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    #10
    no way!? :eek:

    so you do have to install Linux first, then OS X? are you 100% sure about that? could you have missed some other options for installing?:confused:

    i'm really hoping that's not the case... :(
     
  11. leet1 macrumors 6502

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    Nov 3, 2003
    #11

    Is this just that distro or for all linux distros for macs? I've never had to do this on a PC.
     
  12. cb911 macrumors 601

    cb911

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    #12
    from what i've read about PPC linux, it's alot different from the regular PC distros. whereas most distros for PC are a long way into development, the PPC counterparts are just starting out, and there's also alot less people developing for it. is that a correct asusmption?

    there are some sites that go through the process of installing a particular distro on Macs, one i can remember was an iBook, but that was written a while ago, so it wasn't the latest version of a distro.

    i think there's alot of unsupported features on PPC Linux compared to PC Linux, or at least that's the impression i get from reading stuff on the net. :rolleyes:
     
  13. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

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    #13
    I remember back in 1999 trying to install Linux PPC onto my PowerBook and got all the way up to actually booting up and it would fail due to a variety of unsupported hardware. It was disappointing because at first I was annoyed with the interface of OS 8.6, but after a month I was so into Mac OS that I couldn't have given a second thought to trying Linux again.
     
  14. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #14
    Wait wait wait...

    Okay, I am pretty new to Macs but I dual-booted Windows and Red Hat for several years so...

    Pretty much EVERY computer needs a boot loader of some sort. The reason you have to install the "Corporate" OS first is because they (whether you're talking Apple or Microsoft) don't have a boot loader that's designed for multiple OSes (okay, Microsoft's will sorta work with a lot of tweaking). Linux boot loaders are designed to dual-boot, so they have to overwrite the Corporate boot loader; otherwise you could only run their operating system. Yellow Dog uses one called yaboot; Red Hat uses Grub; many others use LILO. Overwriting the Corporate boot loader with one of these is NOT an evil act; it's just technically necessary.

    If you install Linux first, the OS X install will overwrite the Linux boot loader. This means you will then be able to run OS X, but not Linux - even though Linux will still be there in its partition.

    Now having said that... I don't really see the point in dual-booting a Mac. You can run pretty much everything on OS X that you can on PPC Linux, thanks to the BSD core that's beneath OS X. There apparently are even ways to turn off the dock and the top menu bar if you really want to; so you could run your own window manager and have it looking and acting just like a Linux system - all without dual-booting.

    If you want to play around with Linux-style applications, try out Fink.
    http://fink.sourceforge.net
     
  15. cb911 macrumors 601

    cb911

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    #15
    okay, so you can't install Linux first, or X will overwrite the boot loader? so then you have to install X first, then Linux? but then wouldn't the Linux boot loader overwrite the OS X boot loader? how do you get around that?

    as for the point of having a dual-booting Mac.... it's just plain cool. :cool: :D also, if you're like me you don't want to be messing around with system files and 'learning' the whole Linux/UNIX thing on a comp you actually do work on. :p

    i also want to learn Linux because it's becoming increasingly popular in the PC world. you never know when a good knowledge of Linux will come in handy. :)


    about turning off the dock and top menu bar in OS X.... could you post some links to that? and the thing about running your own window manager as well? :D
     
  16. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #16
    You don't need to "get around it"; this is exactly what you want. The Linux bootloaders like yaboot provide a menu with options for booting into Linux or for booting into OS X.

    Same thing with a x86 system. Bootloaders like Grub and LILO can boot a multitude of systems like Windows, Linux, OS/2, etc.

    You also have the option of setting any one of them as the default. So if you want your machine to normally boot into OS X, you can set that as the default. I do that at home so my wife or daughter can turn on their machine and have it launch Windows without them having to think about it. If I want to launch Red Hat I have to select that Grub menu option before the menu times out (which is another configurable option).

    I need to do some digging... I ran across that stuff back in my pre-Mac days, and while I found it interesting at the time I didn't find it especially useful. :)

    The window manager thing is easy though. By default, Apple's version of X11 runs a window manager called quartz-wm. But with Fink you can install quite a few others:

    http://fink.sourceforge.net/pdb/section.php/x11-wm
     
  17. cb911 macrumors 601

    cb911

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    #17
    thanks for explaining about the boot loaders. :)

    that's kind of the point. ;) if there's something cool, like a new trick or haxie that comes out, i've just got to try it. :D i also like getting the "oooohhh"s and "aahhh"s when i show people. :D

    i'll have to check out X11 and all that stuff. actually i think i've got it installed, and i haven't even touched it yet, let alone know what to do with it. :p
     
  18. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    #18
    Possible workaround?

    Just wondering if you have (or plan to have) OS 9 installed too?

    If so, couldnt you use the MkLinux bootloader with OS 9?

    So basically, if you wanted to boot Linux, you change your startup disk to be 0S 9, and when that starts to load the MkLinux bootloader will give you the option to boot YDL.

    Its a pain in the tail, I know, but it wouldn't require you to put Linux on the root partition and I think would give you more flexibility when you determine that Linux is nothing special :)

    I still think that you will need to re-partition either by wiping clean or use a non-destructive tool. I don't know of any.

    Personally, I always have a least 3 partitions just in case I want to play with some OS or something. (One for OS, one for docs, and one to play). When I installed YDL, I repartitioned the 3rd partition into swap and / mount using druid.

    Another option is to run Linux in VPC, since you just want to learn, I'm not imagining you are running any servers with YDL, right?
     
  19. f-matic macrumors member

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    Jan 6, 2003
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    brooklyn
    #19
    linux on ppc

    hey there,

    i have some experience putting linux on a mac (pb g3) so here's what i learned...

    you do need to repartition your drive and reinstall the os. with os 9 it's easy -- copy everything from your harddrive to a backup disk, repartition and erase, then copy everything back and it works as normal. OS X, with all of its hidden files, requires backing up data (ie. Home folder, applications, etc.) then reinstalling from CD, which, yes, is a pain in the neck.

    there are commercial utilities to resize the partitions -- they all seem to cost betwen $50 to $100. never used one myself but they exist...

    linux doesn't actually need to install on the first partition -- i have my os 9 set up on the first partition. it does require a bootloader. if you use mklinux with OS 9 (which is basically an extension that allows you to switch to linux while booting os 9) then you don't need a bootloader on the hard drive. but mklinux is something of a pain in the neck for upgrading kernels, plus (i believe) it only works on HFS partitions, not HFS+. the other option is using a bootloader on disk, which must be placed on a new partition, but doesn't have to be the first one. the best is yaboot, which allows you to boot using different kernels and also dual-boot os 9 or os X.

    and linux is worth checking out! especially with old computers...
     
  20. MrBubbles macrumors member

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    Mad City
    #20
    Another thing you could try (though it's risky) is to defragment your HFS+ partition, then, when you're installing Linux, delete the largest HFS+ partition and make a new one that is smaller, but still larger than the data on that drive. If you write the new partition table to the disk, you might still be able to read everything in that partition.

    I've done this with PCs and various different partition types (FAT, ext2, FFS). I'm not sure if there are any intricacies inherent in HFS+ that would prevent this from working, nor do I know of any HFS+ defragmenting utilities, but, in theory, this is what any non-destructive partioning utility is going to do. The reason it doesn't delete all record of your data is because there is a partition map on the disk that is independent of any filesystem. The filesystem data itself is recorded within a given partition (generally at the beginning). As long as your partitioning tool only overwrites the disk partition table (the tools for Linux are like this), then you should be cool.
     
  21. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

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    #21
    Please back up anything important before doing that! :eek:

    Edit: Oops, like in the "changing the light bulb" thread, I've come back after several months and re-ignited the thread :rolleyes:
     
  22. yamabushi macrumors 65816

    yamabushi

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    Oct 6, 2003
    #22
    All right let's get this thread moving again.

    The best way to experiment with multiple operating systems isn't using a loader in my opinion. A better way is to use seperate removable hard drives for each OS. That way your data is always safe and you can manage and modify each OS independently. Also no issues with different file systems causing problems.
     
  23. 5300cs macrumors 68000

    5300cs

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    #23
    I'm surprised no one mentioned Virtual PC (or maybe I missed it while skimming.) That way if you hate it, you can just nuke it no problem :)
     
  24. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #24
    Well, don't forget with Virtual PC you're going to have to use an x86 Linux, and it's going to be rather slow. ;-)
     

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