Installing Linux on Mac

bingefeller

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
519
15
Northern Ireland
Hi guys,

I'm going to install Linux on a partition on my MBP (details are in signature).

I am asking for some advice and guidance if you would please.

Firstly, I have my HD encrypted so I understand that I will need to unencrypt it as I will have to install rEFit?

Secondly, I am thinking of installing Linux Mint as I believe this is easy to install and will work with minimum fuss. Is this correct?

I was looking at these instructions:

http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/1643

It says to create three new partitions so that would mean I would have four separate partitions - one for OSX then one called Mint, one called home and one called swap?

BTW - I won't be following the boot order instructions there. I will be installed rEFit instead.

Thanks!
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
230
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
Hi guys,

I'm going to install Linux on a partition on my MBP (details are in signature).

I am asking for some advice and guidance if you would please.

Firstly, I have my HD encrypted so I understand that I will need to unencrypt it as I will have to install rEFit?

Secondly, I am thinking of installing Linux Mint as I believe this is easy to install and will work with minimum fuss. Is this correct?

I was looking at these instructions:

http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/1643

It says to create three new partitions so that would mean I would have four separate partitions - one for OSX then one called Mint, one called home and one called swap?

BTW - I won't be following the boot order instructions there. I will be installed rEFit instead.

Thanks!
Why not just use VMware Fusion? It runs Ubuntu and Elementary Freya on my Mac smoothly, with VMware Tools installed.
 

bingefeller

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
519
15
Northern Ireland
Why not just use VMware Fusion? It runs Ubuntu and Elementary Freya on my Mac smoothly, with VMware Tools installed.
I'm not sure if it's comparable but I installed Ubuntu with Virtualbox and I got it working OK and everything but it's very slow. Would VMWare present this problem too?
 

Negritude

macrumors 6502
Jul 14, 2011
297
189
Parallels and VMWare tend to be more optimized and run better than VirtualBox. It's a tradeoff to decide whether the fact that VirtualBox is free makes it worth putting up with it being slower or less easy to use.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,851
30,366
Boston
Parallels and VMWare tend to be more optimized and run better than VirtualBox. It's a tradeoff to decide whether the fact that VirtualBox is free makes it worth putting up with it being slower or less easy to use.
Oracle has definitely improved VM, it was a clunky mess now its a lot better. Oracle uses this to push VMs to push updates/upgrades down to enterprise customers and as such the VM has been tweaked to work well imo.
 

b0fh666

macrumors 6502a
Oct 12, 2012
903
647
south
k-ubuntu 14 LTS runs like a champ on vmware fusion 7... no issues at all. probably better than it would on the hardware itself.
 

IlikeMacsSoMuch

macrumors 6502
Dec 30, 2009
346
2
Blainville, Province of Quebec
quad core?

Hi OP, is your MBP the quad core? If so I have the very same but I upgraded the hdd for a ssd and the ram to 16 GB. Both vmware and Parallel desktop runs very smoothly. But that's not my set up. I have a triple boot configuration ( OS X -Windows 7 and Ubuntu) that works flawlessly. Parallel desktop can use my bootcamp partition if need be. The configuration is a little bit more complicated but it works a lot faster than a virtual configuration. But depending on your needs, virtualization might be enough if you have a quad core, since a virtual pc will keep at least one core for itself. I have used both parallel and vmware and both are good.
 

bingefeller

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
519
15
Northern Ireland
Hi OP, is your MBP the quad core? If so I have the very same but I upgraded the hdd for a ssd and the ram to 16 GB. Both vmware and Parallel desktop runs very smoothly. But that's not my set up. I have a triple boot configuration ( OS X -Windows 7 and Ubuntu) that works flawlessly. Parallel desktop can use my bootcamp partition if need be. The configuration is a little bit more complicated but it works a lot faster than a virtual configuration. But depending on your needs, virtualization might be enough if you have a quad core, since a virtual pc will keep at least one core for itself. I have used both parallel and vmware and both are good.
Yes I have the quad core. :

Model Identifier: MacBookPro9,1
Processor Name: Intel Core i7
Processor Speed: 2.3 GHz
Number of Processors: 1
Total Number of Cores: 4
L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
L3 Cache: 6 MB
Memory: 8 GB

Which would you guys recommend - VMware or Parallels? I'm leaning towards VMware as it's a bit cheaper....
 

IlikeMacsSoMuch

macrumors 6502
Dec 30, 2009
346
2
Blainville, Province of Quebec
Yes I have the quad core. :

Model Identifier: MacBookPro9,1
Processor Name: Intel Core i7
Processor Speed: 2.3 GHz
Number of Processors: 1
Total Number of Cores: 4
L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
L3 Cache: 6 MB
Memory: 8 GB

Which would you guys recommend - VMware or Parallels? I'm leaning towards VMware as it's a bit cheaper....

Great, a quad core will be a lot faster with a virtual pc. I am more familiar with Parallels than VMware but both are good according to reviews. Now, as I said earlier Parallel can use windows on a bootcamp partition, a feature that I am not sure VMware has. Do you plan on using windows too? If not, I would go with VMware since it is cheaper. But like others said, both have trial version so try before you buy, you'll be set then.:)
 

bingefeller

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
519
15
Northern Ireland
Great, a quad core will be a lot faster with a virtual pc. I am more familiar with Parallels than VMware but both are good according to reviews. Now, as I said earlier Parallel can use windows on a bootcamp partition, a feature that I am not sure VMware has. Do you plan on using windows too? If not, I would go with VMware since it is cheaper. But like others said, both have trial version so try before you buy, you'll be set then.:)

Thanks.

I don't plan on using Windows at the moment. I think I have a Windows disk somewhere but I'm not entirely sure. I would need to have a check. I wouldn't buy Windows just to use it on a VM.

I've downloaded the VMware trial so I will have a play around with it. Just installing Ubuntu now but will install a few other *nix distros, just to experiment with them a bit.

Cheers guys. I'll let you know what I think after the trial is over.
 

IlikeMacsSoMuch

macrumors 6502
Dec 30, 2009
346
2
Blainville, Province of Quebec
Thanks.

I don't plan on using Windows at the moment. I think I have a Windows disk somewhere but I'm not entirely sure. I would need to have a check. I wouldn't buy Windows just to use it on a VM.

I've downloaded the VMware trial so I will have a play around with it. Just installing Ubuntu now but will install a few other *nix distros, just to experiment with them a bit.

Cheers guys. I'll let you know what I think after the trial is over.
Cheers!
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
230
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
Great, a quad core will be a lot faster with a virtual pc. I am more familiar with Parallels than VMware but both are good according to reviews. Now, as I said earlier Parallel can use windows on a bootcamp partition, a feature that I am not sure VMware has. Do you plan on using windows too? If not, I would go with VMware since it is cheaper. But like others said, both have trial version so try before you buy, you'll be set then.:)
VMware can boot off the BC partition as well.

However, graphics support in Parallels is far better (it supports DX10). VMware only supports DX9.

----------

Thanks.

I don't plan on using Windows at the moment. I think I have a Windows disk somewhere but I'm not entirely sure. I would need to have a check. I wouldn't buy Windows just to use it on a VM.

I've downloaded the VMware trial so I will have a play around with it. Just installing Ubuntu now but will install a few other *nix distros, just to experiment with them a bit.

Cheers guys. I'll let you know what I think after the trial is over.
Make sure you install VMware Tools from the VM options in the menu bar so that you have 3D acceleration support for a smooth experience.
 

kschendel

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2014
1,026
322
If you just want to play with linux, I'd suggest VirtualBox -- it's free and runs Linux (and Winders) just fine. Setup is extremely simple IMO.

If you want to get serious and install it, I've had the best luck with repartitioning the disk. My experience is on a Mac Pro, not a macbook, so your mileage may vary; but what I did was to set up 4 partitions.

- one for reFind (which I recommend over reFit since the latter has not been updated in quite some time);
- one for Linux's EFI boot;
- one for Yosemite, and Yosemite can do whatever volume management it likes within that partition;
- one for Linux.

The reFind and EFI-boot partitions can be minimal, even a hundred meg or so would do it. I did the partitioning in Disk Utility and installed Yosemite first, then Linux. I recall having to re-bless refind_x64.efi a couple times but all it all it went very easily. I also had to put in a scan timeout for reFind, but I think that was because I was working with a multi-drive setup, not a single drive.

I don't think you *need* all 4 partitions, but it sure makes life easier and you don't have to play any games with either reFind or the linux EFI boot stub.
 

bingefeller

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
519
15
Northern Ireland
Well, I did play around with VMWare and Virtualbox.

VMWare is definitely the best and it feels like you have booted into whatever OS is running on it. My experiences with Virtualbox are that it is a little slow and laggy. Maybe I don't have it configured correctly, although I have been generous with memory. I found it very easy to install OS's on both VM and Virtualbox.

To be honest, I wouldn't purchase VMWare. I would rather have whatever OS installed on my HD.

In the end I just installed Windows 7 on a BootCamp partition and it works perfectly. I didn't have any problems after following the instructions on Apple's site and I looked at a few blogs and Youtube videos too. Took about an hour all together. I did turn off FileVault just to make sure no problems occured. I noticed my startup and shut down times have improved since doing this.
 

doynton

macrumors 6502
Oct 19, 2014
299
15
It says to create three new partitions so that would mean I would have four separate partitions - one for OSX then one called Mint, one called home and one called swap?

BTW - I won't be following the boot order instructions there. I will be installed rEFit instead.

Thanks!
If you still want to set up linux you definitely don't have to have all these partitons. You've got plenty of memory so you don't need a swap partition really and there is nothing wrong with having your home directory on same partition.

It is a perfectly valid set up to just have one for Linux, one for OSX, one for the OSX recovery partition and your (already existing) EFI partition. This is what I have dual booting with Arch linux. You can always change it later if you want to split it out some more.

For rEFInd you can (it is recommended and does it so by default with latest release) install it to the Mac EFI partition which already exists. You don't need to create another one. This change was made because of Yosemite - installing it as it used to into the OSX partition no longer worked.

It will find and boot your Linux (or Windows or OSX) partition fine with (in my case) no need to update its conf script. There is also no need to install Grub or any other boot loader.
 
Last edited:

bingefeller

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
519
15
Northern Ireland
Hi guys,

Here's where I'm at. I bought a copy of Windows 7 and installed it using Boot Camp and it works perfectly.

However, I now want to install Ubuntu on my Mac.

Before I try this I'm wondering if I need to remove my Windows partition. Here is what my hard drive looks like with regards to partitions:

Code:
/dev/disk0
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:             GUID_partition_scheme                 *500.1 GB   disk0
   1:                        EFI EFI                     209.7 MB   disk0s1
   2:                  Apple_HFS apple                   375.2 GB   disk0s2
   3:                 Apple_Boot Recovery HD             650.0 MB   disk0s3
   4:       Microsoft Basic Data BOOTCAMP                124.0 GB   
disk0s4
So, I'm guessing when I come to install Ubuntu it'll give me the option to choose my partition and I just choose disk0s4?
 

doynton

macrumors 6502
Oct 19, 2014
299
15
Assuming you want to nuke Windows just install there. The exact same layout works for me (except I'm using Arch not Ubuntu).
 

bingefeller

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
519
15
Northern Ireland
Assuming you want to nuke Windows just install there. The exact same layout works for me (except I'm using Arch not Ubuntu).
Yes I want to nuke the Windows install.

I would like to try Arch myself, but it seems really quite complex to install. It looks great once it's up and running though.
 

doynton

macrumors 6502
Oct 19, 2014
299
15
Yes I want to nuke the Windows install.

I would like to try Arch myself, but it seems really quite complex to install. It looks great once it's up and running though.
Go ahead and do it.

Arch is not difficult at all (assuming you read their wiki) but you need to either print out the beginners guide or have a second computer to read it as you go. They have the best documentation of any distro I've seen.

If you don't have ethernet and only one PC you'll also have to make sure you download your WiFi drivers before you start or you'll get stuck. Again a second computer helps. I like it because I have to think about and choose everything. How to set up firewall, which desktop to use (I use Plasma ATM and it looks excellent on Retina), which browser, etc.

You can if you want set it up in VBox or similar and then just copy it using dd to a real partition - that is what I did the first time.

I had CentOS before but it was too boring. Good luck anyway :)
 

bingefeller

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
519
15
Northern Ireland
Go ahead and do it.

Arch is not difficult at all (assuming you read their wiki) but you need to either print out the beginners guide or have a second computer to read it as you go. They have the best documentation of any distro I've seen.

If you don't have ethernet and only one PC you'll also have to make sure you download your WiFi drivers before you start or you'll get stuck. Again a second computer helps. I like it because I have to think about and choose everything. How to set up firewall, which desktop to use (I use Plasma ATM and it looks excellent on Retina), which browser, etc.

You can if you want set it up in VBox or similar and then just copy it using dd to a real partition - that is what I did the first time.

I had CentOS before but it was too boring. Good luck anyway :)
Thanks Doynton. I do have ethernet so it wont be a problem hopefully.

I was looking at the Arch instructions and it seems quite complicated for me. I don't understand the Option 1 and Option 2 parts.

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/MacBook#Option_1:_EFI

I think I'd be better with a GUI installer for the time being :)
 

lowendlinux

Contributor
Sep 24, 2014
5,155
6,309
North Country (way upstate NY)
I use Arch daily, it's my DD and is installed on every computer I own. If you are not comfortable with Linux don't install it. The install isn't particularly difficult what is difficult is the trouble shooting when something breaks and something is going to break. Get comfortable with Linux for a year or two then try Arch.