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dpfenninger

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 23, 2005
162
78
I recently procured a mid-2007 Mac mini, and am trying to get a triple boot setup of OS X Lion 10.7.5, Windows 7 (32-bit), and elementary OS. I've followed a couple of tutorials online, but nothing seems to work as I can't get the system to recognize the elementary OS install (I get a "Missing operating system" error when trying to boot from that partition). Also, I've managed to get rEFInd installed as my boot manager, and despite it saying that it recognizes the elementary OS partition during the rEFInd install, it never shows up in the rEFInd boot screen.

Has anyone attempted this combination, or a similar install, and gotten it to work? Is there a really good tutorial somewhere online that I've just missed? I've been referencing this one a lot, but again have yet to get these particular instructions to work:


Help, please. I'm a newbie in terms of getting Linux systems installed on Macs, so any Linux-for-dummies easy tutorials out there would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 

Flint Ironstag

macrumors 65816
Dec 1, 2013
1,236
676
Houston, TX USA
Instead off triple boot, I’d try bare metal virtualization. There’s an old youtube video of a woman giving a talk on bare metal mac mini - will see if I can dig it up for you.
 
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AKDub

macrumors member
May 14, 2015
58
67
I had this setup recently on a 2012 MBP, so its do-able presuming the age of your Mac Mini isn't an issue

If I was you I would ignore that guide for the Elementary OS part, and install it normally including Grub. It might help narrow down what the problem is, and when I had it setup rEFInd would boot straight into Elementary when selected, there was no Grub Menu.
 
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dpfenninger

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 23, 2005
162
78
I had this setup recently on a 2012 MBP, so its do-able presuming the age of your Mac Mini isn't an issue

If I was you I would ignore that guide for the Elementary OS part, and install it normally including Grub. It might help narrow down what the problem is, and when I had it setup rEFInd would boot straight into Elementary when selected, there was no Grub Menu.

Thanks. My current attempt is now at partitioning my disk equally between the three systems. I have Lion and Win7 currently working in their respective partitions, and rEFInd works great with those. I'm going to attempt to just do a straight up eOS install onto the third partition, no special install flags, just clicking "Install elementary" and use the third partition as its location. Hopefully Grub won't override my rEFInd setup. I'll report back.
 
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dpfenninger

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 23, 2005
162
78
Ok, I'm getting closer to the setup I want. I've managed to get all three systems successfully installed, but now I have two entries for elementary OS on my rEFInd boot screen...

IMG_2755.jpeg
IMG_2756.jpeg


Both seem to take me to the GRUB boot menu, where I can hit enter again on "elementary OS" to boot into eOS, but the second entry seems to get rid of the rEFInd boot menu and takes me straight into eOS upon reboot.

While I seem to now have a working setup, I would like to do the following:
a) Seems redundant to have rEFInd that THEN takes me to another boot loader (GRUB). Is there a way to set it up so I only have ONE icon for eOS on the rEFInd screen that takes me directly into eOS, bypassing the GRUB menu? - *EDIT: I found out that by hitting the Delete (not Backspace) key will get rid of icons, so I'm down to the three I want.*
b) I don't know what the icon on the far right does...I think it just boots me into whichever OS is currently set as default maybe??? In any case, I'd like to just get rid of that icon altogether, so that the only options I have on that screen are Mac OS X, Windows, and eOS, preferably in that order. *EDIT: I got rid of that extra icon, but I'm still trying to figure out how to re-order them, if possible.*
c) Customize the icons and backdrop to accurately reflect each OS.

Thanks in advance for helping me tweak this all!
 
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dpfenninger

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 23, 2005
162
78
Follow-up...I've managed to tweak the GRUB settings so that it boots directly into eOS with no GRUB menu. But I'm running into the fairly consistent problem now of the rEFInd boot screen not appearing between reboots. Apparently this is a 'boot coup,' but I can't seem to find a solution yet, and there doesn't seem to be any real pattern of OS usage that causes it. In the meantime, I just re-install rEFInd anytime it happens, but that's definitely not an elegant or permanent solution. :/
 
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AKDub

macrumors member
May 14, 2015
58
67
Only just seen your updates, but glad you got it somewhat working.

I never had the boot coup problem, so again its possible but I would have stumbled on the solution in the past as opposed to knowing how I managed it! Are you saying that any of the 3 OS's can steal the boot?
 
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dpfenninger

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 23, 2005
162
78
Only just seen your updates, but glad you got it somewhat working.

I never had the boot coup problem, so again its possible but I would have stumbled on the solution in the past as opposed to knowing how I managed it! Are you saying that any of the 3 OS's can steal the boot?

Yes. Sometimes I get the rEFInd boot menu, sometimes it boots into one of the three directly (but more commonly eOS), and sometimes it seems to want to boot eOS but I get a black screen that hangs the system.

When it all works, the system is great, but it definitely is not the elegant, seamless solution I'm shooting for.
 
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Yebubbleman

macrumors 601
May 20, 2010
4,084
1,037
Los Angeles, CA
Is ElementaryOS a 64-bit OS? Mac minis prior to the Early 2009 Mac mini (the ones that replace the DVI port with MiniDVI and DisplayPort and use NVIDIA Integrated graphics instead of Intel's) use a firmware that only supports 32-bit OSes despite the 2007 one having a Core 2 Duo (a 64-bit processor), so you're still limited to 32-bit OSes. I had this issue some five years ago when I came into a 2007 Mac mini and wanted to run the then-latest version of CentOS. I had to run the one prior as the then-current one was the first version to go 64-bit only.
 
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dpfenninger

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 23, 2005
162
78
Is ElementaryOS a 64-bit OS? Mac minis prior to the Early 2009 Mac mini (the ones that replace the DVI port with MiniDVI and DisplayPort and use NVIDIA Integrated graphics instead of Intel's) use a firmware that only supports 32-bit OSes despite the 2007 one having a Core 2 Duo (a 64-bit processor), so you're still limited to 32-bit OSes. I had this issue some five years ago when I came into a 2007 Mac mini and wanted to run the then-latest version of CentOS. I had to run the one prior as the then-current one was the first version to go 64-bit only.

I'm using a pre-modded 64-bit ISO from this site:


I haven't had time recently to poke around with it more, but it seems to be running pretty well, boot menu inconsistencies aside. eOS especially seems to be a really nice system for this era of Mac...funny that eOS and Windows 7 still support modern browsers on this system but the Mac side is stuck on Tiger (and older or home-brewed browsers). May just wipe the HD and go full eOS on it...really like the Mac-feel of that Linux distro.
 
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macsforme

macrumors regular
Mar 16, 2007
112
72
I have a triple-boot setup with rEFInd booting macOS Mojave, Windows 10, and elementaryOS.

IMG_4780.JPG

I even have elementaryOS installed on a LUKS encrypted partition. To do that, I had to make rEFInd boot Linux using GRUB so the correct kernel arguments are passed. If you aren't using encryption, you can get away with booting into Linux using the kernel EFI shim. The downsides are that you have to let rEFInd auto detect it (so it thinks its an Ubuntu installation, and you get the Ubuntu icon), or if you manually configure it in rEFInd then you need to fix it when the kernels are updated. After a lot of trial and error, it was a lot easier for me just to boot into Linux using GRUB.

To get the extra icons to disappear, I had to change a few settings to rEFInd:

Code:
dont_scan_tools EFI:/EFI/ubuntu/mmx64.efi
dont_scan_volumes Windows, <UUID of partition containing Linux /boot>
dont_scan_dirs +,EFI:/EFI/Boot,EFI:/EFI/ubuntu

Then I manually added elementaryOS as an option so it shows the correct description and icon:

Code:
menuentry "Elementary OS" {
    icon /EFI/refind/icons/os_elementary.png
    loader /EFI/ubuntu/grubx64.efi
}

I do find, as you mentioned, that other operating systems (well, even macOS, for that matter) occasionally change the boot settings so I no longer get the rEFInd menu. I just have a sticky note with the commands to bless rEFInd again, which I execute on macOS after booting into macOS using the option key (this could probably be put into a LaunchAgent or something similar to make it automatically execute on each bootup):

Code:
sudo diskutil mount /dev/disk0s1
sudo bless --mount /Volumes/EFI --setBoot --file /Volumes/EFI/EFI/refind/refind_x64.efi --shortform
sudo diskutil unmount /dev/disk0s1

This all works pretty well for me at this point. Let me know if you have any questions about my setup or experiences.
 
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