Bootable Linux USB?

LostSoul80

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 25, 2009
2,136
7
Hi all,
I've been trying to get a USB stick (with a live linux distro) to boot from both Windows 7 and OS X SL/Lion with no success. Tried with a few distros, but at this point Ubuntu would be perectly fine too.
Since I don't want to create confusion or "corrupt" possible answers I'll not post my attempts but will welcome any reasonable help.
Thanks in advance!
 

LostSoul80

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 25, 2009
2,136
7
So far, no success. When I referred to Windows 7 I actually referred to a PC.
 
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iMacDragon

macrumors 68000
Oct 18, 2008
1,802
315
UK
Hi all,
I've been trying to get a USB stick (with a live linux distro) to boot from both Windows 7 and OS X SL/Lion with no success. Tried with a few distros, but at this point Ubuntu would be perectly fine too.
Since I don't want to create confusion or "corrupt" possible answers I'll not post my attempts but will welcome any reasonable help.
Thanks in advance!
You haven't said what machine you are using. if it's a 2011 macbook pro, it won't work, they broke usb booting for BIOS environment.
 
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LostSoul80

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 25, 2009
2,136
7
Thanks for the replies.

sounds like you're not setting the memory stick up properly, or haven't set your bios (pc) or mac to boot from USB stick.
Unfortunately I can't find anything pointing at a correct setup.
The real mess is keeping the MBR from interfering with GPT. How would you do it?

Thanks for the links. As for rEFIT, yes, I have been using it for some two years now and no problem with it.
I've already read those pages, but nothing is pointing at a solution. UNetbootin:

The resulting USB drive, however, can be booted on PCs only.
As for the other article, it doesn't refer to a configuration similar to my actual one.

You haven't said what machine you are using. if it's a 2011 macbook pro, it won't work, they broke usb booting for BIOS environment.
I have tried on an older MBP and iMac. They should both be fine as for that.
 
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murphychris

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2012
661
1
You haven't said what machine you are using. if it's a 2011 macbook pro, it won't work, they broke usb booting for BIOS environment.
I'm not aware that this is a new problem. I cannot USB boot Linux via CSM-BIOS, but I can USB boot Linux via EFI. Same behavior on MBP 4,1 and 8,2.

So you need to see if Ubuntu can EFI boot your model, which isn't assured because it's been quite a challenge getting this to work as Apple's EFI is non-standard. Another possibility is Fedora 17 which has newer kernels and significantly patched GRUB Legacy EFI with Mac support explicitly in mind. Presently Fedora 17 will EFI boot my MBP 4,1 fine. It also boots the MBP 8,2 but there's some wonky stuff going on with video that is not yet fixed in the latest kernels / ati driver support. I suspect hardware with both integrated and discrete graphics will experience this problem.

----------

Also rEFIt is outdated and appears no longer maintained. Currently maintained fork is rEFInd.

http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/
http://sourceforge.net/projects/refind/
 
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LostSoul80

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 25, 2009
2,136
7
I'm not aware that this is a new problem. I cannot USB boot Linux via CSM-BIOS, but I can USB boot Linux via EFI. Same behavior on MBP 4,1 and 8,2.

So you need to see if Ubuntu can EFI boot your model, which isn't assured because it's been quite a challenge getting this to work as Apple's EFI is non-standard. Another possibility is Fedora 17 which has newer kernels and significantly patched GRUB Legacy EFI with Mac support explicitly in mind. Presently Fedora 17 will EFI boot my MBP 4,1 fine. It also boots the MBP 8,2 but there's some wonky stuff going on with video that is not yet fixed in the latest kernels / ati driver support. I suspect hardware with both integrated and discrete graphics will experience this problem.

----------

Also rEFIt is outdated and appears no longer maintained. Currently maintained fork is rEFInd.

http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/
http://sourceforge.net/projects/refind/
I've now updated to rEFInd, thanks for the suggestion.
I've tried with Fedora too, but while it does boot on a PC machine, it won't be recognized by my iMac. I'm only given th option to boot OS X using Fedora's EFI, nothing more unfortunately.
 
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murphychris

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2012
661
1
I've tried with Fedora too, but while it does boot on a PC machine, it won't be recognized by my iMac. I'm only given th option to boot OS X using Fedora's EFI, nothing more unfortunately.
What media? How was it created exactly? Are you booting with the option key to bring up the disk selection menu?
 
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LostSoul80

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 25, 2009
2,136
7
What media? How was it created exactly? Are you booting with the option key to bring up the disk selection menu?
My last attempt, with Fedora 17, was made using a 8 GB USB stick. I've used Fedora's suggested tool for creating the live USB on another Fedora desktop.
rEFInd gives me the option to boot OS X using Fedora's EFI, while the option key doesn't bring the stick up. I have also tried using diskutil & dd from OS X, no luck unfortunately. Any idea?
 
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murphychris

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2012
661
1
I've used Fedora's suggested tool for creating the live USB on another Fedora desktop.
You used dd? Or livecd-tools?

rEFInd gives me the option to boot OS X using Fedora's EFI, while the option key doesn't bring the stick up. I have also tried using diskutil & dd from OS X, no luck unfortunately. Any idea?
The option key shows no options at all for the USB stick? No Fedora, EFI Boot, or Windows option?
 
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LostSoul80

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 25, 2009
2,136
7
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murphychris

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2012
661
1
I would not use that. Use dd on your Mac or the other Fedora machine. The syntax is:

Code:
dd if=pathtoiso of=/dev/diskX
After typing = you can just drag/drop the ISO to Terminal's window and it will fill in the path. And diskX is disk1 or disk2 or disk3 depending on what the OS has assigned it. You can find this using:

Code:
diskutil list
It will completely overwrite the USB stick. The USB stick does not need to be partitioned or formatted, that will happen in the course of using dd.
 
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