Hi to all this is my first post on the Ubuntu forums. I'm a webdesigner from Italy who wants to try to left the Apple world behind and embrace the open source philosophy.

I'm a new Ubuntu user, I use it on my work PC without any problems and that quite old machine finally got a new life, so I'm very impressed.

Now I'd like to install it on my home MacbookPro, I've read some threads and guides around about it and it seems not so easy as the PC counterpart.

I have some questions for you, really expert users, about this switch and I hope you could help me in this little adventure

first of all those are my mac specs:
Macbook Pro 8.2 2,3 ghz i7 15'' (2011)
SSD OCZ Vertex III 256 mb as main HD.
Hitachi 500 gb as secondary HD (I've removed the Superdrive)
8gb ram
Intel HD Graphics 3000 and AMD Radeon HD 6750M

now here are my questions:

1. I'm interested on a single boot option if possible (Ubuntu only), but I've read that it's better to have some Mac OSX installed to get the firmware updates correctly, it's possible to have it on a usb drive?

2. The Mountain Lion hidden backup partition will still be alive or will it be lost? Just in case I need to restore it.

3. Are all those installation steps possible without the cd/dvd drive?

4. Will Ubuntu work with the Apple Cinema Display plugged in with the Macbook pro in clamshell mode (closed)?

5. Is it possible to install a Mac OSX copy on a virtual machine on Ubuntu? And a Windows one?

6. Will the graphic card switching works as in OSX? I've read about some problems about it on some Mac or graphic card models and a poor battery life.

I thank you all in advance for reading and I'm sorry about my english, hope you could get the point anyway.