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Thread: Boot Issue Ubuntu 12.10 Macbook Pro 5.1

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Boot Issue Ubuntu 12.10 Macbook Pro 5.1


    I'd like to boot Ubuntu 12.10 on my Macbook Pro 5.1 (Mountain Lion) and set up a dual boot.

    I tried:
    1. Ubuntu 12.10 (32 bit) USB Stick through Terminal (on OSX) (
    => Is not bootable (does not show any other boot device after holding Alt)

    2. Ubuntu 12.10 (32 bit) USB Stick through Disk Tool on another Ubuntu machine
    => Is not bootable as well (does not show any other boot device after holding Alt)

    3. Ubuntu 12.10 (32 bit) internal boot partition
    used the commands form (1.) but copied the content of the image to an empty partition of my internal harddrive (i'm not sure about the format of the partition, any suggestions?)
    => partition does not appear as a boot device

    4. Installed refit through Package Installer
    => refit doesn't show up

    5. Installed refit through command line
    => refit dosen't show up

    6. disabled Filefault2 and tried step 4 and 5 again
    => still no refit menu

    (I tried more than 2 reboots after each fresh install of refit)

    Some other facts:
    - Internal OCZ 120gb SSD (Mountain Lion) with a 15gb partition for Ubuntu
    - Replaced my cd drive with a 250gb hdd => so can't boot from cd
    - Macbook Pro 5.1

    I hope some of you have any ideas how to get a working dual boot or at least how to boot an ubuntu on my machine.

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Re: Boot Issue Ubuntu 12.10 Macbook Pro 5.1

    Hi, I have a macbook 5.1 (13" unibody late 2008 ), ML 10.8.2, and was recently able to install ubuntu 12.10 with EFI quite easily (for the first time ever).
    No bootcamp required (bootcamp is for BIOS emulation AFAIK, I wanted pure EFI)

    The only difference with your setup: I used the 64bit version (the normal 64bit image, not the mac-specific).

    This is what I did:

    - Download 64bit Ubuntu image from main download page
    - Create a USB stick on windows with pendrivelinux's Universal USB installer (maybe the terminal under OSX will do the same)
    - Boot Ubuntu USB keeping ALT pressed during boot (I was quite surprised to see the ubuntu usb showing in the ALT menu, It had never worked with previous versions of Ubuntu - but I had only tried 32bit versions until now, ths time it was 64bit)
    - Open Gparted, I had sda1: EFI partition, fat 32; sda2: Macbook partition, hfs+; sda3: ML recovery partition, hfs+

    - Reduce sda2 (the main osx partition, the biggest) to free up space for Ubuntu (I left 30gb) [Suggestion: I think it's better if you reduce the sda2 partition using disk utilities under OS X, I used gparted with no problems but i think disk utilities is safer]
    - Leave the space you just freed up unpartitioned
    - Start the Ubuntu installer and choose: Automatic installation OSX AND Ubuntu (i don't remember the exact wording, but it was something like that) No manual partitioning.
    - Ubuntu will proceed automatically and install inside the empty space you left for him (and install grub efi too)
    - at the end, power off the pc, sorry, the macbook

    - On the restart, I saw the grub bootloader menu listing Ubuntu, OS X 32bit and OS X 64bit. Choosing Ubuntu will start, well, Ubuntu! Choosing the other two OS X options instead, will crash the pc (will solve this problem later).

    - On Ubuntu you will have to follow one on the many guides to correctly install the wifi card (not too difficult. I havent time now to give you some links, just google them)

    - To start OS X, instead, keep pressed ALT during boot (you will see only OS X and OS X Recovery, No Ubuntu)

    - In OS X, install reFind (a fork of ReFit, more up to date). To install it: download it, unzip, and run one script with sudo from the terminal (documented on refind site). No further configuration required.

    - Power off (no restart) the mac and power on again: This time you'll see a nice graphic boot menu with only two icons: Ubuntu and OS X. Both Icons will work perfectly. So no more ALT pressing at start.

    That's all! This time it was very easy installing EFI ubuntu on my mac! But remember: 64bit version!

    Have fun,


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Re: Boot Issue Ubuntu 12.10 Macbook Pro 5.1


    1. Resize partion from Mac with FAT, to be in the safe side.
    2. Install rEfIt.
    3. With Mac devices you should check "nonodeset" box. In the main screen of livecd press F6 then check "nomodeset". After finishing installtion, choose linux in the rEFIt screen after that press key e in the command line screen to edit it and add the word "nomodeset" before two spaces before "quitsplash" word then press F10 to start temporary. Finally edit the file grub.cfg and add the word "nomodeset" before two spaces before "quitsplash" word to make it official^^ then save it.

    sudo gedit /boot/grub/grub.cfg
    Last edited by elctro; October 31st, 2012 at 02:01 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Re: Boot Issue Ubuntu 12.10 Macbook Pro 5.1

    Thanks for your reply!

    Using Ubuntu 64Bit and Windows to create an usb drive worked pretty well. I was able to see the screen where I can choose "Try ubuntu" or "Install ubuntu". Unfortunatley, neither try nor install worked. The only thing I got, was weird graphic artifacts on the screen and nothing happend.
    Any ideas? I would replace OSX with ubuntu, if i could...

    I do not have a cd drive, but thanks anyway!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Re: Boot Issue Ubuntu 12.10 Macbook Pro 5.1

    I had similar problem recently with a Kubuntu 64bit MAC-specific image. DOn't know why though.
    The image that worked with me (late 2003 macbook 5.1, nvidia 9400m) was Ubuntu 12.10 64bit NON-MAC-specific (the one you download from the main download page on

    Also, after choosing Try Ubuntu, try to wait for a few minutes for X to start completely or try to switch to another console ALT+CTRL+1 (... up to 6) and from there cat a few logs (in /var/logs/) to see what's going on...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Re: Boot Issue Ubuntu 12.10 Macbook Pro 5.1

    I used the same Ubuntu version and waited a few minutes. I couldn't switch to console .
    Maybe I'll try other images.



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