Linux on a Mac

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Smighty24, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. Smighty24 macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2008
    I was wondering if it's possible to run Linux and Windows on a Mac? I will be going to a University and will be duel majoring in Computer Science Administration and Network Security. Thus i will have to "learn" how to use such OS as Windows Vista(yuck), Novell, Linux. Sadly we aren't learning how to use the Mac OS but none the less i'm still getting a Macbook cause they are the greatest computers with the best OS out there. But my question is will i be able to install Linux and use it with bootcamp or with VM Vusion or other programs of that nature. We won't be using novell that much so it won't be that big of a deal. But i was just wondering. I also have a PC Desktop that i could use the OS for. But i was just wondering with the Macbook. What I plan on doing is having a Macbook with Windows and Linux as an option to use through Bootcamp. Just wondering if that possible.
  2. GfulDedFan macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2007
    Hey Smighty and welcome to the forum -

    Both VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop can be used for adding vista and Linux to your MacBook. You'll probably want to max out your RAM (4GB) and it will require a purchase of a full version (not update) of vista and the acquisition of your Linux of choice. Visit VMware Fusion and Parallels websites for more info and good luck with school -GDF
  3. Smighty24 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2008
    Thanks! do you know if i can use Linux and boot from Bootcamp? and i plan on upgrading to 4gig on my macbook. Hopefully that will be enough.
  4. italiano40 macrumors 65816


    Oct 7, 2007
    it can be done, look online, just a curious question i have, what linux distro are you plan on using?
  5. Smighty24 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2008
    I don't know. I'll be transfering in the spring. All i know is that we do some work with Linux. I don't even know if it's enough to go through the trouble of using my Macbook for it. I'm not very familier with the Linux OS. Are you familier with Linux or have any ideas to help me.
  6. jamesarm97 macrumors 65816

    Sep 29, 2006
    You can also open up the Terminal under Utilities and have access to most of the linux commands. OS / X is similar to Linux (based on Unix I think). It still might be a good idea to install VMware Fusion and use Ubuntu or another Linux so you won't mess up your Mac by playing around.
  7. JayMan8081 macrumors regular

    Feb 20, 2007
    Dayton, OH
    If you're going to go the virtualization route and don't want to spend money you can try out VirtualBox. Sun produces a version that will run under OS X. Go here for more details. I've used it to run a Windows XP vm without any problems. I also use Linux at work and the distribution we use is Ubuntu. I follow some of the Ubuntu blogs and I know that it runs fairly well on a MacBook. This blog has a lot of info on running Ubuntu on a MacBook:
  8. Skeletal-dæmon macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2008
    Heh I have Unbuntu installed on a partition on my Mini's hard drive, just have to hold down Option when it boots to select the Linux partition.

    Ubuntu is relatively easy to use. I only installed it for a bit of fun and its kinda like a hybrid of all the good bits of Mac OS and Windows, but without any of the standard compatibilities... Most of that you have to write yourself or look forever on the net for codecs written by other people in your situation.

    Besides that however, its rather easy.
  9. Littleodie914 macrumors 68000


    Jun 9, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    If you're looking for suggestions on what Linux distribution to choose, I would personally recommend either Ubuntu or the new Fedora Core 9. Both were *really* easy to install, and are probably the two most rapidly improving Linux systems out there. :)
  10. Smighty24 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2008
    awesome! Thanks for all the awesome feedback. I'm new to Linux and don't know exactly what to do. I guess i'll have to start researching it.
  11. IAmNotMyName macrumors newbie

    Apr 20, 2007
    just to confirm, I run Linux :) and Winows 2000 :( inside a Parallels virtual machine on my MacBook.

    The bash shell in a terminal is essentially a UNIX like environment.
  12. NEiMac macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2007
    THe really dry side of the Pacific NW
    I would suggest trying PCLinuxOS or Ubuntu myself. I always favored PClinuxOS myself but the latest Ubuntu is pretty good too.
  13. Smighty24 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2008
    So do you think 4gig of memory is enough to run linux and windows on a virtual machine???
  14. italiano40 macrumors 65816


    Oct 7, 2007
    that is enough to run both windows and linux at the same time, i have DSL linux distro on my cd just in case i need to fix something and i can't boot into mac OSX
  15. operator207 macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2007
    If your going to be doing any packet sniffing for your network security part, and if you don't, transfer out, you don't want to use virutal interfaces that parallels or VMWare will give you. Your going to want to use bootcamp. You want a true install not a virtual one.

    You can use them, but there are things that do not work. I do not remember what they are specifically, as they are not something I really need, but they do exist.

    Check out this mailing list:

    I am pretty sure I read some information about Virtual OSes in there ~3 months ago. Check out the entire site, its invaluable. You would potentially learn more there than in any course in college.
  16. italiano40 macrumors 65816


    Oct 7, 2007
    i don't think they will do packet sniffer that is more of a hacker tool, they will use a firewalls, and VPN's
  17. WeeManFoo macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2008
    Since you are new to linux, I find that the absolute easiest distro to learn is Linux Mint. It is based off of ubuntu and uses the same package manager (how you install software easily). It has alot of enhancements turned on out of the box, including flash support and a handy video driver installer called Envy. It also looks and acts like Windows with only one panel (linux taskbar) and a sort of start menu.

    I definitely recomend you use virtualbox to run linux if you are hesitant to try it or if you want to try multiple distros without partitioning numerous times. Other distros that you might want to look into are Ubuntu, Fedora, Opensuse, and gOS (the most OSX like distro).

    If you decide that you really like linux, Slackware and Arch Linux are the best advanced distros out there. They require much more manual setup but are considered by the linux community as the best distos because of their endless customizations and very speedy performance.
  18. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Yes, it'll run. I have run Linux natively on MBP from both USB thumbdrive and optical media. Running from internal HD should be the same, you just need another partition.
  19. ddeadserious macrumors 6502a


    Jul 28, 2008
    Plymouth, MI
    I just went through all this on my MBP.

    I installed Ubuntu on it, running natively, after doing a trial of VMWare fusion to figure out with Linux distribution I liked the best(Fedora, Kubuntu, TinyMe, etc).

    The most difficult and frustrating part was deal with partitioning the hard drive. There's no way to do it with Disk Utility when you already have OSX installed and everything, it needs to be done at setup for Mac OS to do it. And since Boot Camp for OSX Tiger expired last year, I had to find a workaround for that.

    I ended up getting the program called Drive Genius(with a bootable DVD), which I used to defragment the hard drive, and create an 8gb partition to run Linux off of. Once I got the hard drive partitioned and everything, I just had to boot from the CD(hold C while booting), and then Linux walks you through the rest.

    I've got 2gb of ram, but if I was running any of my adobe programs on my mac, and running Ubuntu on VMWare, it would get kind of sluggish. There are also some things that aren't customizable when running the OS virtually, and customization was one of the biggest reasons I was so curious about Linux. I'd definitely install it natively, rather than virtually.

    I used rEFIt as my boot manager because it looks nice, and I'm running OSX Tiger, which doesn't have boot camp(but holding alt at startup still takes you to the boot menu, rEFIt is just a little nicer.

    And yes, you can triple, or I imagine, quad boot, if you've got the HD space to have 3 or 4 different partitions.
  20. airjuggernaut macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2007
    Yes you can :)

    I just installed Kubuntu and Ubuntu today on VMWare!

    They run fantastically, almost feels like its running natively.

    Also like someone suggested before, if you don't want to spend any money on VMWare or Parallels try VirtualBox, which is completely free and from Sun!

    Here's a link:

    Enjoy :)

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