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Thread: MacBookAir4,1 & MacBookAir4,2 (MBA 2011) support

  1. #171
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Mountain View, CA, USA
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    Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

    Re: MacBookAir4,1 & MacBookAir4,2 (MBA 2011) support

    Go read this post.


    I tried to resize my partition scheme and somehow borked my partition table in such a way that gptsync would not resync the table. I decided to use the mac recovery firmware app and just wipe every partition and reinstall. Also, I was curious about how this would work.

    The only problem I had was that my home internet was apparently too slow causing the download to stall (I have a 10mbit pipe so I don't know why this was a problem). When this happens the re-download does not resume. Eventually I just gave up and brought it to work.


    Otherwise I think the web-based restore is very impressive. Assuming you have a moderately fast wan connection it takes 60min to download the iso and maybe another 15 of install. My home connection uses WPA2-personal and my work uses WPA2-enterprise. Both worked fine.

    Update:
    Now that I've done this a *second* time I need to clarify my earlier comments.
    1) The web recovery actually has two stages (at most).

    2) Either the formating step or the installation of grub that comes with oneiric alpha-3 live does something very bad to the partition table. Avoid using it until this is resolved (I had previously thought it was partitioning that caused the problem but I eliminated this by using disk utility).

    1) The first stage is nothing more than a cheesy graphic (of an eerily distorted earth) and a pull-down menu from which you can select from either WPA or WPA2-personal wireless networks. Apparently this stage downloads the software that will be used in setting up Lion (second stage). The download takes about 10-15min on my 10mbps connection.

    The second stage has a more complete GUI (menu-bar, windows, etc) from which you can choose a greater variety of wireless networks, i.e., WEP and WPA2-personal/enterprise encryption (more details). This stage allows for time machine restores, Lion re-installation, online help, and the disk utility. This (Lion) download takes ~2hours on my 10mbps followed by a ~15min install.

    2) I have now borked my partition tables twice while following the exact same procedure I outlined in an earlier post. The only difference is that this time I was using oneiric alpha-3. I believe the fault lies with gparted. I recommend that you use disk utility to do all your partitioning and then reformat from the ubuntu installer. My layout is:
    40gb HFS+ "Mac OS"
    60gb MSDOS "Linux Home"
    16gb MSDOS "Linux Root"
    4.5gb MSDOS "Linux Swap"
    which I will then format the MSDOS partitions to ext4,ext4,swap. Note: I used 4.5gb to be absolutely sure there is enough room for swapping out all RAM (I do not know if there is overhead hence the extra 512mb).
    Last edited by dfacto; September 2nd, 2011 at 05:29 PM.

  2. #172
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    Aug 2011
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    Re: MacBookAir4,1 & MacBookAir4,2 (MBA 2011) support

    Still waiting for the graphics driver fix. But I also have another problem, that is booting my Ubuntu installation from a secondary partition. I reduced the size of the OSX partition (it's on /dev/sda2). When booting Ubuntu from a USB stick and running the installer, what should be selected as the "Device for boot loader installation"? Would that be /dev/sda, or the partition that is being used as root for Ubuntu (/dev/sd5 in my case)? I first tried /dev/sda but this didn't let me boot Ubuntu and it also hosed my OSX installation. I had to do the network recovery which took ages, didn't work the 1st time but finally it DID fix OSX. I started from scratch, tried putting the bootloader on /dev/sda5, and while OSX booting is still fine, I'm not able to boot Ubuntu (neither through rEFit nor via alt-key booting). Whatever I try, I always get a black screen with a blinking cursor, that's all. What can I do to get Ubuntu starting up (in 1024 for now)?

  3. #173
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    Woonsocket, RI USA
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    3,195

    Re: MacBookAir4,1 & MacBookAir4,2 (MBA 2011) support

    Quote Originally Posted by daveMustane View Post
    I also have another problem, that is booting my Ubuntu installation from a secondary partition..... I started from scratch, tried putting the bootloader on /dev/sda5, and while OSX booting is still fine, I'm not able to boot Ubuntu (neither through rEFit nor via alt-key booting). Whatever I try, I always get a black screen with a blinking cursor, that's all. What can I do to get Ubuntu starting up (in 1024 for now)?
    You might look into EFI booting options, rather than booting using BIOS emulation, which is what most procedures do. I've got a Web page describing one way to do this, but it's a bit out of date (I wrote it with Ubuntu 10.10 as a reference), and there are a lot of subtle but important differences between the various Mac models, so you may need to deviate from what that page describes. Broadly speaking, though, the trick is to put an EFI-capable boot loader in the EFI System Partition (ESP). GRUB 2 seems to work, but can be tricky to get properly configured. (This page may be a useful reference.) On UEFI-based PCs, I've had better luck with ELILO, but I've not had much luck getting ELILO working on my 1st-generation Intel-based Mac Mini.
    If I've suggested a solution to a problem and you're not the original poster, do not try my solution! Problems can seem similar but be different, and a good solution to one problem can make another worse. Post a new thread with your problem details.

  4. #174
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

    Re: MacBookAir4,1 & MacBookAir4,2 (MBA 2011) support

    @daveMustane Have you read the earlier posts? You should install grub to the linux root partition (as described earlier) and you should append either nomodeset or i915.modeset=0 to the grub defaults. Please do let us know if you have done this already.

  5. #175
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Re: MacBookAir4,1 & MacBookAir4,2 (MBA 2011) support

    @srs5694 to me the possible disadvantages (no screen brightness control, no suspend/resume, no virtual terminals) speak against EFI boot for now. The advantages (quicker boot time graphics card flexibility) play a rather small role on a 2011 MBA. Without OSX boot media I'm also a bit hesitant to again attempt to put the bootloader on /dev/sda.
    Thank you for providing the link to the Ubuntu UEFIBooting site. It seems to explain what went wrong the 1st time I tried to install a standard x86_64 Ubuntu 11.04 ISO (...due to corrupted firmware...) and refers to an alternative ISO CD for Mac's only. Interesting! I installed gdisk in OSX. Good to have.

    @dfacto yes, I did add nomodeset to my grub defaults before. I just verified this. I can boot Ubuntu from USB stick, chroot to my Ubuntu root partition (/dev/sda5) and change my grub settings any way I like. But when trying to boot from /dev/sda5 directly I always get the black screen with a blinking cursor.

    I guess if the graphics driver was functioning already, my booting issue would be a little more painful : )

  6. #176
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

    Re: MacBookAir4,1 & MacBookAir4,2 (MBA 2011) support

    @daveMustane Well it just so happens that I am your new best friend. I just made this fight for the last 24 hours and isolated the problem. Since you will be destroying your Linux partitions to make the fix, I would greatly appreciate it if you gave Oneiric a try and get back to us. A word of caution: my fix applies to Natty. It is possible that Oneiric will still necessitate an Internet recovery.

    The short answer. sda5 is just a no-no. The MBR partition must be sda4 (or smaller, ie sda1 sda2 sda3).

    The long answer:

    After running Natty for a few weeks I thought I would give Oneiric another clean try (its now beta as of yesterday or so). I prefer to have /home and / as separate mount points and this worked for Natty so I LiveCD(usb) booted as as before and gparted to the following layout:

    Table:
    sda1 "EFI" (FAT) [OSX invisible; 200mb]
    sda2 "Apple_HFS Mac OS" (HFS+) [disk utilities resized to ~40gb]
    sda3 "Apple_Boot" (unknown) [OSX invisible; 650mb]
    sda4 "Linux Home" (ext4) [gparted to ~55gb]
    sda5 "Linux Root" (ext4) [gparted to ~16gb]
    sda6 "Linux Swap" (swap) [gparted to ~4gb]

    As before I mounted / to the "Linux Root" partition and installed the MBR to the same (sda5). Install went fine, I rebooted, and refit resync worked (the first time).

    Shutting down and running refit resync a second time (which shouldn't be necessary) gave the error:
    "Error: Not Found returned from gptsync.efi"
    Using the LiveCD and installing the gptsync package (universe) also gave the same error. I also tried fsck.hfsplus (hfsprogs from universe !!!after disabling journaling from OSX!!!).

    At this point I could not boot the Linux drive. Refit shows both Linux and Mac boot options, but choosing Linux hangs at the Tux/white background screen. Mac OSX still booted, but disk utilities indicated partition errors and would not allow any changes to the partition table. The EFI partition now shows up as visible in disk utilities as does the Recovery partition (this is bad).

    So I wiped everything and did the Internet recovery...THREE TIMES. Each time I tried some different variations and on the third try I gave up and decided to return to Natty.

    After re-following my original walk-through I chose Linux from refit and saw the "No Operating System Found". This means that either the grub-install failed and the MBR was not pointing to any boot image OR refit could not find a MBR.

    Luckily, since Natty had worked before I was able to isolate the only change from before. When I used gparted the very first time (some weeks ago), I specified the size/location of the root partition FIRST and to be in the middle of the ~80gb reserved for Linux.(*) The second time I chose the swap first (placing it at rear) then root (middle) then home (head).

    The difference? Notice that when things worked the layout was:
    sda5 home
    sda4 root (mbr)
    sda6 swap
    and when it failed to boot:
    sda6 home
    sda5 root (mbr)
    sda4 swap.

    Why should this make a difference? It seems legacy partitioning allows up two FOUR partitions (which is why on legacy systems one creates a logical partition as needed). I suspect that resync gets confused when the MBR is on a partition outside the legacy admissable range. I *think* it then either disregards the existence of any MBR partition and/or incorrectly maps the EFI partition (the only remaining boot flagged partition).

    Final conclusion: make sure to use gparted and not disk utilities so that way you can ensure that the MBR'ed partition is located at 4 (or less if you intentionally nuked OSX).

    Two final comments.

    1) Some people have reported Oneiric install crashing at or near 71%. I believe this is when initramfs and grub-install happens and could be related to the above comments/observations. It does not seem to happen as of alpha-3 but there are certainly still issues (viz. corrupting the table in such a way that OSX still boots but cannot alter the configuration).
    2) I have not tried re-partitioning and re-installing Oneiric afeter making these discoveries. It is very easy to use the Internet Recovery and I encourage anyone to try and report back to us (now that we know how to return to a working state). I won't because I am sick-to-death of waiting the requisite hours for Lion reinstall (which would only be necessary if the Oneiric problem is not related to my partition-ordering problem.)

    Cheers!

    (*) - Doing it this way results in less mouse clicks which is tedious with the unconfigured trackpad. Also I wanted root to be in middle for possible future resizing purposes.
    (!!!) -
    Code:
    diskutil disableJournal disk0s2
    Last edited by dfacto; September 2nd, 2011 at 11:50 PM.

  7. #177
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    Aug 2011
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    Re: MacBookAir4,1 & MacBookAir4,2 (MBA 2011) support

    @defacto I recreated my partitions with root (11.10) + MBR now on /dev/sda4. But no difference. Still no boot. Still only a cursor to look at. What you say about the 1st four partitions makes sense. But something else isn't working for me. It might have something to do with me trying to install from USB stick.

    Anybody out there able to install 11.04 or 11.10 on a MBA 2011 from USB drive? I was able to get this done on the MBA 2010 - but can't get there with the new model.

  8. #178
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

    Re: MacBookAir4,1 & MacBookAir4,2 (MBA 2011) support

    Quote Originally Posted by daveMustane View Post
    @defacto I recreated my partitions with root (11.10) + MBR now on /dev/sda4. But no difference. Still no boot. Still only a cursor to look at. What you say about the 1st four partitions makes sense. But something else isn't working for me. It might have something to do with me trying to install from USB stick.

    Anybody out there able to install 11.04 or 11.10 on a MBA 2011 from USB drive? I was able to get this done on the MBA 2010 - but can't get there with the new model.
    Wow really sorry to hear that. I actually did use a USB stick. If you can boot it once then this is not the problem. I suggest trying 11.04. Also, have you shutdown then refeit resync then shutdown again? (Not reboot but SHUTDOWN.)

  9. #179
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    Re: MacBookAir4,1 & MacBookAir4,2 (MBA 2011) support

    Quote Originally Posted by dfacto View Post
    Wow really sorry to hear that. I actually did use a USB stick. If you can boot it once then this is not the problem.
    Thank you. I can boot from USB. I'm just not able to boot from disk what I have installed after booting from USB. I thought you were mentioning superdrive somewhere.

    When you run the installer from USB, don't you have do something like 'sudo umount -l -r -f /cdrom' before? I do. I also have to do one other nasty step to prevent the installer from crashing during file copy. It's described here: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopi...=49841&start=0

    Quote Originally Posted by dfacto View Post
    I suggest trying 11.04. Also, have you shutdown then refeit resync then shutdown again? (Not reboot but SHUTDOWN.)
    I will and will report back. Thank you very much for your support.

  10. #180
    Join Date
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    Re: MacBookAir4,1 & MacBookAir4,2 (MBA 2011) support

    Quote Originally Posted by dfacto View Post
    Table:
    sda1 "EFI" (FAT) [OSX invisible; 200mb]
    sda2 "Apple_HFS Mac OS" (HFS+) [disk utilities resized to ~40gb]
    sda3 "Apple_Boot" (unknown) [OSX invisible; 650mb]
    sda4 "Linux Home" (ext4) [gparted to ~55gb]
    sda5 "Linux Root" (ext4) [gparted to ~16gb]
    sda6 "Linux Swap" (swap) [gparted to ~4gb]
    Question... This doesn't look valid either way. We're talking MBR, i.e. maximum four primary partitions sda1-4 OR three primary partitions (sda1-3) and an extended partitions (sda4) containing the remaining number of logical partitions (sda5...).

    That is, you can't have a partition containing an FS on sda4 if you also have sda5, as sda4 would then have to be the extended area containing the remaining logical partitions. In other words, your table - if valid - should either be:


    Code:
    Table:
    sda1 "EFI"        (FAT)     [OSX invisible; 200mb]
    sda2 "Apple_HFS Mac OS" (HFS+) [disk utilities resized to ~40gb]
    sda3 "Apple_Boot" (unknown) [OSX invisible; 650mb]
    sda4 "Linux Home" (ext4)    [gparted to ~75gb]
    or

    Code:
    Table:
    sda1 "EFI"        (FAT)     [OSX invisible; 200mb]
    sda2 "Apple_HFS Mac OS" (HFS+) [disk utilities resized to ~40gb]
    sda3 "Apple_Boot" (unknown) [OSX invisible; 650mb]
    sda4 Extended [~75gb]
    sda5 "Linux Home" (ext4)    [gparted to ~55gb]
    sda6 "Linux Root" (ext4)    [gparted to ~16gb]
    sda7 "Linux Swap" (swap)    [gparted to  ~4gb]
    Please excuse me if it's just a typo

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