I recently converted my girlfriend's old iMac to a Linux machine in hopes of using it as a sort of makeshift server for my home network. Everything seemed to be going fine until the power went out unexpectedly and I found myself at the grub selection screen;suddenly an issue I had faced earlier in the conversion reappeared.
The problem stems from the computer's inability to recognize the USB keyboard before the operating system loads. This would almost certainly be a bios issue in a pc, but being a mac complicates the situation. A bit of research reveals that this is a documented,if uncommon, problem. People who replaced their original bluetooth keyboards with usb equivalents were unable to utilize startup keys (or anything else that required a keyboard) before the operating system loaded. Interestingly enough, most of the cases I found dealt with people who had purchased Apple manufactured replacements -- my girlfriend included. Admittedly, I have not yet tried using a usb keyboard from a different manufacturer (since i do not have one on hand), but I have read about others who have to no avail, so I have little hope for such an easy fix.
I first encountered the issue when I was trying to force the live CD to load while the system was still running OS-X. I was unable to use the startup keys to access what apple calls the startup manager. Even once I made it to the manager by holding the menu button on a Apple media remote I could not select any option due to the lack of keyboard functionality. I was able to work around that problem by pairing my brother's Apple bluetooth keyboard within OS-X and then restarting (although I suspect I could have used the Logitec I use for my tablet).
I am still able to access the live CD simply by placing it in the drive at startup, so I am fairly confident I can pair a bluetooth keyboard to the computer and then restart without the disk (or in a worst case scenario simply reinstall entirely). As of now a full reinstall would not be so bad (I have not done much to the system beyond setting up a simple ssh server), but in the future it would be a much greater inconvenience.
My question therefore is this: does it make sense that the computer cannot receive input from USB devices, and is there a way I can change some settings from within Ubuntu which will allow the Mac to accept USB keyboards at startup?
I apologize if this seems long winded, but I believe my story compiles a good deal of searching about what I found to be an relitively poorly documented problem.