Dual boot: Mac & Linux

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by douglh, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. douglh macrumors member

    Nov 10, 2008
    I'm moving from Linux to Mac (no Windows in this household!) But I would like to still have access to Linux while transitioning. I see 2 possibilities:

    1] dual boot on my Macbook, if I can figure out how to get BootCamp to cooperate;
    2] I've ordered a "hard drive dock" that connects via USB. (It hasn't arrived yet). Does Mac boot from external hard drives?

    For the first option, (usually) Windows is installed, minus drivers. Then BootCamp takes over and finishes the installation installing all Mac's drivers. Right? Can BootCamp install drivers on a Linux distribution? Ordinarily Linux installs all it's own drivers. Is that allowed? Or is option #2 the way to go?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. priller macrumors regular

    Dec 15, 2007
    I did option one, you don't need the bootcamp drivers, it's pretty much the same as installing on any other laptop, I put grub on the linux partition not the mbr & used refit to boot it.

    I gave up trying to get linux to boot from usb, there's a thread on the ubuntu forums about trying to get it to work with grub2.
  3. douglh thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Did you use BootCamp to set the partition in advance? I'd hate to have gparted create a partition from something it essentially doesn't recognize. Or am I worrying for nothing and it works fine?

    I've used Linux for 4 years, and my new Macbook is actually the 5th in our house, but everybody else (wife, kids) turns to me whenever there's a problem. So I'm fairly well versed in both OS's, but I've never tried to install Linux on Apple hardware before.
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California

    Why boot camp? I'm using VMware Fusion to run a Ubuntu virtual machine. It works at near native speed. I also have a Solaris and Windows XP virtual image.

    It's set up so that after Linux (or the others) boot it mounts a shared folder from Mac OS X and then I can store files that are accessable from either OS there. With boot camp you are running only one OS at a time and I find I'd never want to shut down Mac OS X. With 3 or 4 GB of RAM and a dual core CPU two OSes run fine.

    I've been an almost full time Unix user from the early 1980's (long before there was a Linux) but you know what I find? Mac OS X is UNIX. There is very little that runs under Solaris or Linux that does not run on my Mac. I use the VMware images mostly to test software on those platforms
  5. douglh thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Yeah, I'm trying out VMware-fusion now; seems to work fairly well. It's the only VM that can run full-screen. Parallels just ran in 800x600 and VirtualBox was too buggy, though it ran perfectly fine in Linux (and was free!). So that's one option, I'm just looking for what options are available.

    Question: in VMware setings, do you set it to run just one cpu, or both?
  6. relativist macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2009
    I did dual boot last year with Ubuntu, I first used bootcamp to partition. There are instructions on how to do the instal on the Ubuntu help forums. VM-ware also works, but I ended up not buying it but dual booting instead.
  7. sporadicMotion macrumors 65816


    Oct 18, 2008
    Your girlfriends place
    VMWare Fusion will let you run full screen... but to install Ubuntu in a dual boot:

    Make a second partition, you can use the boot camp utility as a starting place. If you do use is you will need to remove the win format from the live cd. Next, install rEFIt... you only need it to bless the partition. After that, you can delete it. Reboot off of a live CD. Use the partition manager to erase the windows partition (if you used the boot camp assistant to creat the partition). Run the installer and select install into continuous free space. When the pane explaining the partitions comes up just before installing, use advanced and install grub onto the linux partition (usually sda3) and go to town.

    You'll need to install drivers for the touch pad to work half decently.
  8. douglh thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 10, 2008
    That was pretty much the explanation I was looking for. The rEFIt part was new to me so I would have failed in my attempts without that little bit of wisdom! Thank you.
  9. LostLogik macrumors 6502a

    Jul 9, 2008
    Why not try Parallels? No need to reboot then, just run the two concurrently and have a shared desktop. I've just got it and love the way the two OS cohabit the one machine :)
  10. douglh thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 10, 2008
    I couldn't get Parallels to run in full-screen mode; maybe I missed something. Anyway, VMware-fusion works pretty well and has come way down in price since I last tried it. I may go that route but the KDE 3D Desktop effects don't work, and when I try reloading the window manager (to use compiz), it crashes.
  11. LostLogik macrumors 6502a

    Jul 9, 2008
    Strange, I have it running FS all the time, though do use a window every now and then. Don't know it well enough yet to be able to offer any help though, as I literally have only just got it. Sorry. Hope you get something you like/works.

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