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    Post How to Install Ubuntu 9.04 on an Intel-based Mac laptop

    How to install Ubuntu 9.04 on an Intel-based Mac laptop, by Richard Cavell v1.1. (June 2009)

    Part 1 of 3

    Hi,

    In the spirit of free-as-in-beer, please propagate these instructions wherever you like. They are for installing Ubuntu 9.04 on a MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro. These instructions may need to be slightly modified for different setups. If you wish to suggest any modifications, please do so.

    I've written these instructions so that an absolute beginner ought to be able to follow them. Part 1 describes how to install Ubuntu on a Mac laptop. Part 2 describes how to configure Ubuntu for a Mac laptop. Part 3 is for novices. Part 3 is a reference that describes how to perform some basic tasks. You can refer to Part 3 if you don't understand something in Parts 1 or 2
    . I strongly suggest printing these instructions out so you will have them handy in spite of having to restart your computer multiple times.

    Follow each step in order. Make sure you complete each step before proceeding.
    Unless you know what you are doing, you must follow these instructions in order, and each step must succeed before moving on. If something doesn't work, stop and use the Ubuntu Forums to ask for help before proceeding.

    Step 1: Find out what sort of computer you have.
    These instructions are only for Intel-based Apple Mac laptop computers. If your computer is a desktop, or a laptop manufactured by a company other than Apple, or a PowerPC-based Apple laptop, these instructions are not for you.
    If you're not already in OS X, boot into OS X [see Part 3 below if you don't know what this means]. Notice at the top right of the desktop is a grey image of a hard disk and below it, the name of your OS X installation. The default name is "Macintosh HD". You may have changed the name.

    Now use your mouse or trackpad to go to the top-left of the OS X screen. Select the Apple logo by moving your pointer until it points to the logo, and then pressing and releasing the left mouse button (or pressing the trackpad button or the trackpad itself). Go down the menu - select "About this Mac", which might be the first item on the list, by moving your pointer to it and then pressing and releasing your left mouse button/trackpad button/trackpad. You should now get a window with the Apple logo or a tall thin blue 'X' logo, and "Mac OS X" in it.

    Below the logo and the phrase "Mac OS X", there will be a version number. It may have one decimal point (period) and look something like "Version 10.4" or "Version 10.5". If so, then remember that as your version number. If it has two decimal points (periods) and looks something like "Version 10.4.11" or "Version 10.5.7", then ignore the second decimal point (period) and the number to the right of it. So "Version 10.4.11" means that you have version 10.4 of OS X. "Version 10.5.7" means that you have version 10.5 of OS X.
    If you have version 10.0, 10.1, 10.2, or 10.3 of OS X, then you have a PowerPC machine and these instructions are not for you.
    Down the bottom it will say "More info...". Click on this with your left mouse button (or trackpad button or trackpad) and then release. You should now see a window with the name of your computer at the top. In my case, it says "Richard Cavell's Computer". It might alternatively be in a form such as "richard-cavells-laptop".
    If you see a window called "Apple System Profiler", and tabs called "System Profile", "Devices and Volumes", "Frameworks", "Extensions", "Applications" and "Logs", then you are on a PowerPC machine and these instructions are not for you.
    On the left side, there should be a list of items. The first one is called "Hardware". It is probably already selected. If not, then click on it and release. To the right you should see the heading "Hardware Overview:". Now, within that right-hand window, look for the text: "Machine Model:" or "Model Name:". It should give you the model of your machine, which will be "MacBook", "MacBook Air" or "MacBook Pro". If it says "Mac", then you have a pre-release machine, and may run into incompatibilities, but you can use these instructions.
    If your laptop model is something other than MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro, then these instructions are not for you.
    Now, look for the text: "Model Identifier:" There will probably be the name of your computer model, without a space if the name of your model is two words, and two numbers separated by a comma, like this: "MacBook1,1" or "MacBookAir2,1" or "MacBookPro3,1". The number to the left of the comma is the generation of model that you have. The number to the right of the comma does not matter for present purposes.

    Underneath that should be a line that begins with "Processor Name:" or "CPU Type:". The name of your processor should be there. It will say either "Intel Core Duo", in which case you can only run 32-bit software, or "Intel Core 2 Duo", which runs 64-bit and 32-bit software. Note the '2' in the name of the latter chip - it makes a big difference!
    If you see "CPU Type: PowerPC" or "Processor Name: Intel Xeon" (with or without extra letters and/or numbers), then these instructions are not for you.
    A MacBook that was released earlier than November 8, 2006 ought to have an Intel Core Duo processor. A MacBook Pro that was released earlier than late 2006 ought to have an Intel Core Duo processor. At the time of writing (mid 2009), all MacBooks and MacBook Pros manufactured since late 2006 have Intel Core 2 Duo processors, and all MacBook Airs ever manufactured have Intel Core 2 Duo processors.
    Before you proceed, make sure you know your model name (MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air), your generation number (1 to 5 at the time of writing), your OS X version (10.4, 10.5 or 10.6 at the time of writing), the name of your OS X disk or partition and whether your CPU can run 64-bit software.
    Step 2: Update your computer.
    Note that this step and step 12 are the only two steps of Part 1 that cause any type of permanent change to your computer. You should be especially careful during this step and step 12.

    If you're not already connected to the Internet,
    connect your computer to the Internet.
    Move your mouse pointer to the top-left of the screen, and click and release on the Apple logo. Move the pointer down to "Software Update...", and click and release again. A window should appear, entitled "Software Update". It may say "Checking for new software..." and spend some time downloading from the Internet. Wait until this completes. If there is an error, fix your Internet connection and restart this step.

    There are two possibilities now. If you get a box saying "Your software is up to date. Software Update doesn't have any new software for your computer at this time.", then skip the next paragraph.

    If it says "New software is available for your computer.", there will be a window below with a list of updates that may be installed. You should install each of these. There will be a box to the left of each item to be installed, with or without a check mark. If your Internet connection is reliable, move your pointer to each of the boxes and click and release on the boxes to ensure that all of them are checked. Then move your pointer to the bottom-right of the window and press and release the "Install" button. If your Internet connection is unreliable, you may wish to install the updates one at a time. To do this, you make sure that only one box is checked, and then click and release on "Install", and let that one finish, and then check just one more box, and click and release on "Install", and then let that one finish, and so on. You may have to restart your computer from time to time while installing these updates. If so, after restarting, come back to the Software Update program by starting this step again, and keep on installing updates until there are none left.

    Eventually you will get a box with a message saying "Your software is up to date. Software Update doesn't have any new software for your computer at this time." When you see this box,click on "OK". If you don't see the box, then go back to the paragraph above and keep on installing updates.
    Before proceeding, make sure there are no more software updates for your computer.
    Now you need to update your EFI and SMC firmware. Use a web browser to go to the following website. If you're viewing this document electronically, you can click on the URL. [If you're not sure how to visit a website using a web browser, see Part 3.] Follow the instructions there. Look for your computer model and generation on the list. You should note the latest EFI and SMC versions for your machine, and ensure that they are installed.
    Before proceeding, make sure you have the latest EFI and SMC versions installed.
    Now you should install the latest Battery Update. Use your web browser to visit: Where it says "Search Support", there will be a rounded text entry box to the right. Move your pointer to that box, and click and release on it to get a cursor. Type in the phrase:
    Battery update
    and then press and release the "enter" key. You will need to do some detective work to figure out which battery update is the latest one that is suitable for your computer. You cannot harm your computer by trying to install a battery update that is not the correct one for your computer.
    Before proceeding, make sure that you have the latest battery firmware.
    Now you should install the latest Bluetooth firmware. Use your web browser to visit: Where it says "Search Support", there will be a rounded text entry box to the right. Move your pointer to that box, and click and release on it to get a cursor. Type in the phrase:
    Bluetooth firmware
    and then press and release the "enter" key. You will need to do some detective work to figure out which Bluetooth firmware is the latest one that is suitable for your computer. Check the requirements of the firmware update before downloading it and installing it. You need to have the correct version of OS X to be able to install the firmware. The latest update requires at least version 10.5, so if you're still on version 10.4, you can't install it. You'll just have to live without it. You cannot harm your computer by trying to install a Bluetooth firmware that is not the correct one for your computer, or your version of OS X.
    Before proceeding, make sure that you have the latest Bluetooth firmware, if possible.
    Now you should search for any other updates that you can apply to your computer. Use the web browser to go to: You should find any updates there that apply to your computer, and install them. Check the hardware and software requirements before downloading and installing any update.

    If you are in the habit of using any of the following components, there are firmware updates for them and you should search for them on the Apple Support website and install them: Mini Display to VGA Adaptor, Aluminum Keyboard, Airport Base station, Airport Express, and Time Capsule. Again, Apple usually requires that you have version 10.5 of OS X to be able to install any of these updates, so if you're using 10.4, you'll have to miss out.
    Before proceeding, make sure that you have updated your computer as much as possible.
    Now, there is a lot to get through in the following instructions, but nothing will cause a permanent change to your computer until you get to step 12. You are not risking harm to your computer until then. If, at any time, you wish to bail out of installing Ubuntu, you may do so. If you are in Ubuntu at any time and you want to abandon it, you always have the option of rebooting your computer into OS X. If you do so before step 12, you will not have caused any change in your computer.
    Step 3: Download the appropriate Ubuntu distribution.
    If you already have it, skip straight to step 4. To download the distribution, you're going to need a really good Internet connection. If your work or school has a faster connection, you should download it there instead of at home. Firstly, boot into OS X [see Part 3 if you're not sure how to do this] and launch a web browser. [again, see Part 3 if you're not sure]. Go to the website: The file that you are about to download has the suffix ".iso". This means that it contains a digital representation of what an Ubuntu installation CD is supposed to look like after that CD has been burned (created).

    Firstly, you should only pay attention to the top section, entitled "Desktop CD". There are other types of CD that you can download, but they aren't for an average user. In Step 1, you should have figured out if you have a 32-bit or 64-bit processor. If you have a 32-bit processor, you must download the one called "PC (Intel x86) desktop CD". If you have a 64-bit processor, you have the option of downloading the 32-bit one or the one below it, called "64-bit PC (AMD64) desktop CD".
    If you have an Intel Core Duo processor (without the 2 in the name), you must use the 32-bit (Intel x86) version. The 64-bit (AMD64) version won't work for you.
    I recommend downloading the 64-bit one if your processor can handle it. I have the 64-bit distribution installed on my MacBook and it works just fine. Note that MacBooks cannot handle some 64-bit types of Windows, but they can handle 64-bit Linux (Ubuntu is based on Linux). To download the distribution, click on the name of it (which is probably in blue), and then save the file to your desktop. If your Internet connection is slow, this could take ages.

    If it takes too long, the process could abort before it completes. The final downloaded file shoul
    d be almost 700 megabytes. If it appears to have downloaded and the file size is less than this, your connection may have failed prematurely. Some web browsers will not give you a clear warning if the file download is prematurely cancelled. If you have persistent trouble, you may wish to use a bittorrent client or a download manager, but they are beyond the scope of this guide. You may also try to get a USB or CD containing the .iso file from someone who already has it. Note that you must install Ubuntu from a CD. You cannot install it from a USB key unless you use advanced techniques that are beyond the scope of this guide.
    Before you proceed, make sure you have correctly downloaded the file and that it did not cancel prematurely.
    Step 4: Back up your internal hard disk.
    This is an essential step.
    A complete explanation of how to do this is beyond the scope of these instructions. Make sure you have a way to fully restore your computer's hard disk in the event of disaster. The most experienced computer users can make a mistake and ruin their hard disk layout. Also, the partitioning software used by Ubuntu unfortunately has a couple of known bugs. I use Carbon Copy Cloner to back up OS X. To find out how to use this program, use a web browser to view:
    Before proceeding, make sure that your OS X installation is fully backed up.
    A boot device is any piece of hardware that your computer can use to load an operating system. An internal hard disk is perfect for use as a boot device. An external hard disk is useful, but often slower. Unless you are using advanced techniques, the only operating system Macs can boot from an external hard disk or USB key is OS X. A Mac can boot any operating system from a CD, but a CD is very slow at randomly accessing data and it cannot be written to.

    You need to make a decision about whether to replace your internal hard disk's OS X installation with Ubuntu, or to keep OS X and install Ubuntu alongside it. If you decide to completely replace your internal hard disk OS X installation, you can still boot OS X from an external hard disk, USB key, or from a CD. You should retain some way of booting OS X. Firstly, you will need it to install firmware updates. Secondly, you will need it as a rescue disk in case Ubuntu fails to install correctly.
    Before proceeding, if you are intending to replace your internal hard disk's OS X installation with Ubuntu, make sure that you have a way of booting into OS X in an emergency.
    For advanced users: It is possible to clone your internal hard disk's OS X installation onto an external hard disk or USB key. If you choose this option, then that device can be used as your OS X rescue boot medium. Ensure that you can boot from the device before proceeding. On the other hand, you may use your OS X installation CD (that you got with your computer) as a rescue disk and create the backup as an image file such as a .iso file.
    Step 5: Burn the Ubuntu distribution to a recordable CD or DVD.
    [See Part 3 if you don't know how to do this] Burn the CD and verify the write. It will take twice as long, but it will ensure that it recorded correctly. Ensure that the CD is flagged as bootable.
    You should consider burning the CD at a slower speed than the maximum. Although it will take longer, it greatly increases the chance of a successful burn. While your computer is burning the CD, don't run any other software. Resist the temptation to surf the Web or do anything else while it is working. It can ruin the CD if you do.
    The distribution will fit onto a CD, but you can record it onto a recordable DVD if you like. Recordable DVDs are a little more expensive. I'll refer to it as a CD from now on, but if you recorded it on a DVD, treat it as though it were a CD.
    Don't delete the .iso file from your computer until you have successfully completed part 1 of these instructions, even though it is large and takes up a lot of space. Sometimes CDs don't burn correctly, and if you are unlucky you may need to get another blank CD and burn it again, so keep the .iso file for now.
    If your recording software gives you an error while burning your CD, you will have to throw that CD in the bin and use a new recordable CD. If you get an error, close down all non-essential software, set your burn speed lower and burn it again. If you're planning to delete your OS X installation entirely, then you will overwrite your copy of the .iso file as well. In this case, burn a second copy of the Ubuntu CD just in case the first one fails.
    I suggest that once you have burned the CD, you take a felt tip pen and write "Ubuntu 9.04" onto it. Write it on the side that is not recordable... the one that doesn't have the reflected shiny circular patterns. Don't attach a sticky label to your CD because it could unbalance it and make it wobble in the drive. If you ignore me and do put a sticky label on, you should at least put another one on to balance it up. Put the second sticky label on the same side of the CD, but on a part of the CD symmetrically opposite the first sticky label (on the other side of the hole). Do write a name onto the CD so that you know what it is.
    Step 6: Test your disc for defects.
    You should test your disc for defects even if you're an experienced operator, because anyone can get a bad burn (a CD that did not record properly through no fault of your own). If you have only just burned the CD, it was probably automatically ejected at the end, so shove it back in the drive. Boot to the Ubuntu CD. (Shut down your computer, then hold down the "alt option" key, and press the power button for two seconds to turn your computer back on, and keep the "alt option" key pressed until you get a picture of a hard disk and a picture of a CD, then move your mouse pointer to the CD and click and release on it.) [See Part 3 for a longer explanation.]

    The CD should start working, and your computer should look as though it's doing something. If you wait for a good five minutes and don't get the language selection menu, then something's wrong. Firstly, go back to step 5 to try burning the distribution again. Sometimes it doesn't work the first time. If it still doesn't work, go back to step 3 and redo the instructions starting from downloading the distribution again. If it still doesn't work, post a message to the forums explaining what's wrong. If the CD works, you should get a menu with a number of languages that you can select from. If you have a language selection menu, you're in business. Select "English" to continue with this tutorial. "English" is probably already highlighted, so just press and release the "enter" key. Note that you are only selecting the language with which to continue these instructions. You are not committing to permanently using Ubuntu with the English language.

    Your computer should engage in more activity. You should soon get a menu: Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer, Install Ubuntu, Check disc for defects, Test memory, Boot from first hard disk. If you don't get this menu, try going back to step 5 to try burning the distribution again. If that doesn't work, go back to step 3 and try downloading your distribution again. If you have the menu, use the arrow keys on your keyboard (at the bottom right of your keyboard) to go down the list, and highlight "Check disc for defects". Press and release the "enter" key. Your computer should give you a logo and say "Checking integrity, this may take some time". Wait a while. It took about 10 minutes on my machine. There is a progress bar that should move slowly but surely to the right.
    If your CD does not pass the examination, throw it in the bin, go back to step 5 and burn a new one. If the new CD still doesn't work, go back to step 3 and download the file all over again.
    At the end of the check, it should say "Check finished: No errors found" and "Press any key to reboot your system." Hold down the "alt option" key and press and release the space bar. Wait for your computer to give you a boot menu, and then release the "alt option" key. Boot into the CD again by moving your mouse pointer to the CD image, and clicking and releasing. If you accidentally boot into OS X, it's probably because you forgot to hold down "alt option". Shut down OS X and boot into the Ubuntu CD again. Select "English" again. You can probably do this just by pressing and releasing the "enter" key, since "English" will probably already be highlighted.
    Step 7: Check your computer's memory.
    If you're already sure that your computer's memory is working okay, you can skip this step. You should be at a menu that gives you the options: Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer, Install Ubuntu, Check disc for defects, Test memory, Boot from first hard disk. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to highlight "Test memory", and press and release the "enter" key.

    The full test will take hours. It's not necessary to put your computer through all of this, though. There will be a progress meter at the top of the screen. By the time it reaches 2 or 3 percent, we can say that the test has passed. You should be able to press and release the "esc" key, at the top left of your keyboard, to end the test. However, on my computer, it was necessary to perform a hard reset. [See Part 3 for more info on what this means]. If you need to do a hard reset to get out of the memory testing program, don't worry about it. Your hard disk has not been affected.
    If you see any error messages while performing this test, then you need to fix your computer's memory before proceeding.
    In fact, in my experience, if your memory is bad, the test won't even start. If you can't get the memory test program to run, and your computer gives you repeated errors while performing other tasks, then you have hardware problems.

    Boot from the CD again. Select "English" again.
    Step 8: Test Ubuntu with your hardware.
    Any Intel-based MacBook or MacBook Air or MacBook Pro meets the minimum specifications for installing Ubuntu 9.04. The minimum specifications for Ubuntu are generally less than those for OS X. However, Ubuntu does have some hardware incompatibilities. These instructions will help you to fix some, but not all, of the incompatibilities. There are persistent issues with iSight, sound, the new MacBook Air, and Bluetooth and wireless connectivity. You may also have some additional hardware that you have bought and added to your machine. It is appropriate to test Ubuntu with your hardware configuration before committing to it.

    You should be at the menu: Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer, Install Ubuntu, Check disc for defects, Test memory, Boot from first hard disk. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to highlight "Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer", and press and release the "enter" key. It will then load Ubuntu. You should get a desktop eventually. You can experiment with the desktop to see whether it works well on your computer. It will be rather slow, since it is operating from the optical drive (the CD or DVD drive) rather than your hard disk, but it is good enough to see whether Ubuntu will do what you want it to.

    If you get incompatibility problems, then you have a number of options. You may decide to use Ubuntu anyway, accepting the reduced functionality. Alternatively, if you were planning to completely replace OS X with Ubuntu, you may decide instead to install Ubuntu alongside OS X. You may choose to use Ubuntu in a virtual machine. You may choose a different distribution of Linux. You may choose to abandon Linux altogether.

    When you are satisfied that Ubuntu appears to work with your machine, shut down Ubuntu [look at Part 3 if you don't know how to do this]. Reboot into the CD again, then select "English" again.
    Step 9: Ubuntu installation steps 1 to 3: Basic options.
    Ubuntu has not touched your hard disk yet. It is only when you get to step 12 that you are committing yourself. If any part of this doesn't go as you want it to, you can bail out at any time without harming your computer. If needed, you could perform a hard reset. Use the arrow keys to go to the "Install Ubuntu" option, and press and release the "enter" key. Your computer may pause for about ten seconds here. You should then see a graphic of the Ubuntu logo, with the word "ubuntu" in lowercase, with a small dash moving back and forth underneath. If that dash stops moving for an extended period of time, then something's wrong. This process will take a minute. Be patient. Your moving dash should turn into a progress bar.

    You should eventually end up with a new language selection screen. At the top left of screen, you should see "Step 1 of 7". Select "English", or some other language if you would prefer to use that. If you do select another language, you will need to translate these instructions into your preferred language. If you wish, you may install Ubuntu in English and then change it later. Use the mouse or trackpad to move forward (press and release the "Forward" button at the bottom right). At the top left you should see "Step 2 of 7". You should now select which timezone you are in, by clicking on the map or selecting from the drop-down box below. Press and release the "Forward" button. Now at the top left you should see "Step 3 of 7", and "Which layout is most similar to your keyboard?". Select "Choose your own". In the box on the left hand side, select "USA". In the box on the right hand side, select "USA_Macintosh". There is a blank box down the bottom where you can click and start typing just to see if your keyboard works okay. Press and release the "Forward" button.
    Step 10: Ubuntu installation step 4: Decide on a partitioning scheme.
    Deciding on a partitioning scheme is critically important. A full explanation of partitioning is beyond the scope of this article. If you don't know much about it, you could select the default option, which allows you to boot both OS X and Ubuntu. You need to decide whether to keep OS X, so that you can use either OS X or Ubuntu, or you may decide to completely replace OS X with Ubuntu.

    For advanced users, I offer the following advice:
    A typical partition map will have sda1 as the EFI partition, sda2 as the OS X partition, sda3 as the Ubuntu partition, and sda4 as the Linux swap partition.

    Some users have reported instability with ext4, so it might be just as well to leave the Ubuntu partition as ext3. OS X puts the swapfile on its root partition, so leave a couple of gigabytes for that. A base installation of 64-bit Ubuntu on my system takes 2.7 Gigabytes, and an installation with plenty of options selected takes 3.5 Gigs. I have a 60 Gigabyte hard disk with OS X and Ubuntu, and I can fit them both on adequately. I don't have enough room to run Windows as well. If you have a hard disk with hundreds of gigabytes of space, then you don't need to worry about rationing storage space. Simply carve off a hundred gigabytes for Ubuntu.

    You should strongly consider adding an additional partition for use as swap space. The basic rule is to make the swap partition twice as large as the amount of RAM you have installed. It needs to be at least as large as your RAM in order to allow for hibernation. If you are short on storage space and need to choose which operating system gets your precious gigabytes, you should err on the side of giving
    OS X more disk space, since it uses storage space much more liberally than Linux.

    You will probably have a partition on your hard disk at the start known as the EFI partition. It has no function on an Intel-based Mac, although it is customary to have one and it may cause more harm than good for you to delete yours. If you're very low on space, you can delete this partition, but doing so may confuse any installation that relies on a particular numbering scheme. (Don't delete the partition AFTER installing
    Ubuntu, because plenty of configuration files within Ubuntu rely on a particular numbering scheme). The Ubuntu partitioner cannot resize the EFI partition. If you're planning to have a triple boot system with Windows and a Linux swap partition, it may be necessary to delete this partition so that Windows can be the fourth partition.

    Don't bother altering any of the partition flags. The boot flag is ignored by Intel-based Macs, so don't bother setting it. The msftres flag should not be set for any of your partitions. If you insist on installing Ubuntu on an external device, it is possible to install just the /boot component to your internal hard disk, and mount / (ie root) to your external device. The internal /boot partition can be as small as a hundred megabytes if you use this option.


    Unfortunately the
    Ubuntu partitioning software has a bug that causes it to sometimes leave the GPT and the MBR records of partitions out of sync. If you use the rEFIt program, you can resync the partitions easily from the boot menu. If you have version 10.5 or later of OS X, you can use Boot Camp from within OS X to create the partition and then select that partition at Ubuntu installation Step 4. If you intend to completely replace your internal hard disk contents with Ubuntu, then you might as well set up an ms-dos partition table instead of a GPT one. If you're going to erase your internal hard disk OS X installation, keep one on an external drive just in case.
    Before proceeding, double-check that Ubuntu is going to be installed to the correct partition.

    If you intend to keep your OS X installation on your internal hard disk, double-check that Ubuntu is NOT going to be installed to your OS X partition.
    Step 11: Ubuntu installation steps 5 to 7: More options.
    Step 5 of 7 has a number of self-explanatory fields to fill in. Make sure you don't forget your password! I suggest selecting "Log in automatically". It is a little less secure than requiring a password, since if someone steals your laptop they can log in without knowing your password, but it's inconvenient to have to type your password each time you log in. An experienced user can bypass the need for a password to get into your computer anyway. At step 7, make sure you click the "Advanced" button. "Install boot loader" should be checked. The idea is to install the boot loader on the partition that your Ubuntu installation is on. On my machine, it's /dev/sda3 (sda1 is the EFI partition, sda2 is the OS X partition, sda3 is the Ubuntu partition, and sda4 is the Linux swap partition).
    Before proceeding, double-check that the boot loader is going to be installed to the correct partition.

    If you intend to keep your OS X installation on your internal hard disk, double-check that the boot loader is NOT going to be installed to your OS X partition.
    Step 12: Install Ubuntu.
    Now is the moment of truth. If you proceed here, you will make permanent changes to your internal hard disk.
    Before proceeding, triple-check that you have a way of rebooting into OS X if something goes wrong. Triple-check that your internal OS X installation is properly backed up. Triple check that the boot loader is going to be installed to the correct partition.

    If
    you intend to keep your OS X installation on your internal hard disk, triple-check that Ubuntu is NOT going to be installed to your OS X partition.
    If you need to change anything about your partitioning after you proceed here, or if your installation aborts for any reason, it could be a royal pain in the butt, so make sure everything is perfect. I also suggest that if you have an Ethernet cable connected, you disconnect from the Internet. If you have it connected, your machine will pause to download updates from the Internet during the installation. Your machine may need hundreds of megabytes of updates, and if your Internet connection could fail during this process, you'll be left high and dry. Install the basic operating system before worrying about updates. Also, if your power fails during this, then this could create a headache, so make sure your battery is charged and your power cable is plugged in.
    Once you are certain that you're ready to go, cross your fingers and click and release on "Install".

    Now Ubuntu is being installed properly. This could take ages, particularly if you're partitioning your hard disk. Be patient. If you're partitioning your hard disk, it could take well over an hour. As long as the progress bar keeps moving, you're in business.
    If you get an error or if your computer freezes at any point during this installation, stop and ask for help on the forums, because your computer is in a vulnerable state during this installation process.
    Step 13: Reboot into Ubuntu.
    Presently you should get a light bulb picture with the message "Installation is complete. You need to restart the computer in order to use the new installation." Press "Restart Now". The CD should be ejected automatically. The computer will tell you "Please remove the disc, close the tray (if any) and press ENTER to continue". Remove the CD and hold down the "alt option" key, getting ready to choose Ubuntu at the next boot menu. Press and release the "enter" key. Keep the "alt option" key held down, and go on to Part 2.

    Note that if you kept OS X on your machine, then from now on, any time you reboot or turn on your computer it will automatically boot into OS X. If you want it to boot into Ubuntu, you need to hold down the "alt option" key while rebooting or powering on, then release it when you get a selection screen, and use your mouse or trackpad to click and release on the Ubuntu partition. You can get a boot selection screen without using the "alt option" key by installing a program such as rEFIt, but that is beyond the scope of these instructions.

    If you erased
    OS X from your internal hard disk, then your computer will automatically boot into Ubuntu. In future, you can attach an external hard disk or USB key that has OS X on it, and use the "alt option" key to get a boot menu that will allow you to boot into OS X.
    Now you should have a working copy of Ubuntu on your system! In the next post, I will describe how to configure it to work properly on a Mac laptop.
    Last edited by Richardcavell; September 8th, 2009 at 01:08 AM. Reason: Update for Snow Leopard

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