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Thread: Intel Mac (Mactel) FAQ

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    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Huntsville, AL, USA

    Apple Intel Mac (Mactel) FAQ

    Welcome to the Apple Users Forum at
    This forum is focused on providing community support on the installation and setup of Ubuntu running on Apple hardware.

    This FAQ is targeted at Users with a Intel-based Macintosh computers (mactel) with Core and Core 2 CPUs or Xeon. If you have a PowerPC-based Mac (G3, G4, G5) Please see the PowerPC FAQ. Please be sure to always check this FAQ and the Mactel-Support Community Support Documentation before asking a question in the forum, and when asking a question in the forum, post your Mac's version string.

    Can I run Ubuntu on my Mac?
    YES! You will have to reduce the size of your OSX partition in order to make room for Ubuntu.

    How do I install Ubuntu on my Mac?
    (keywords: installation, vm, virtual machine, vmware, parallels, virtualbox)
    Several scenarios for installing Ubuntu on an Intel Mac have been covered in the AppleIntelInstallation wiki page. If you are not ready to take the plunge and just what to try out Ubuntu, you can use a Virtual Machine running in OS X. VirtualBox is a free, open-source virtual machine that runs on a Mac.

    Can I install / boot Ubuntu from an external drive?
    (keywords: installation, usb, firewire, external drive)
    The short answer is, "no" (Though few and far between have claimed, "yes").
    If you are willing to try something new. You can try booting via EFI.
    You also may be interested in trying a Boot CD.
    Reference: Old External Booting Discussion

    What about Parallels / VMWare Fusion / VirtualBox / Virtual Machine X?
    (keywords: installation, vm, virtual machine, vmware, parallels, virtualbox)
    Installing in a virtual machine is not quite the same undertaking as "Installing on your Mac". A virtual machine creates virtual hardware, including a virtual hard disk (contained in an image file) that you install to. You can ask questions in the forum here, but please make sure that you indicate you are using a virtual machine. You should also check the support forums for your virtual machine for specific help as well as's Virtualization forum
    Parallels Desktop Support Forum
    VMWare Fusion Support Forum
    Virtual Box on OS X Hosts Forum

    Should I use 32 bit or 64 bit?
    (keywords: 32bit, 64bit, x86, x86_64, x64, amd64)
    If you have a Mac with a Core CPU (not Core 2) then you can only use the 32 bit Ubuntu. If you have a Core 2 or Xeon, then which you pick is really up to you and what you plan to do. The 64 bit Users Forum has a great guide to the Pros and Cons of using 64 bit. NOTE that if you have 4GB or more of RAM, then you will likely need to choose the 64 bit version in order to utilize all the RAM.

    What is rEFIt?
    (keywords: efi, menu, bootloader, partitioning)
    rEFIt is a nice-looking boot selector for your Mac. It will prompt you to choose a partition to boot upon starting up and will default to booting OSX after a short timeout period. It also has some nifty utilities that are helpful when dealing with multiple operating systems on your Mac. rEFIt cannot partition your hard drive. rEFIt is not a boot loader.
    The rEFIt Project Website

    Can rEFIt damage my Mac's firmware / void my warranty?
    (keywords: efi, menu, bootloader, partitioning, break, applecare)
    rEFIt is not firmware. It is an efi executable. The Mac firmware (EFI) looks for efi executables in certain locations on a hard drive and will allow you to run them. It is much like having an app in OSX. You can easily remove rEFIt following the directions on their website. Some Apple store employees have claimed that rEFIt can break your Mac. There has been no evidence that this is true. If you are concerned about voiding your warranty, or Apple not covering an issue because of rEFIt, uninstall it.

    I installed, but Ubuntu won't boot / says "no bootable devices" / has a blinking cursor!
    (keywords: bug, installer, mbr, gpt, partition tables, no operating system)
    There is and has been for a long time, a bug in the Ubuntu installer that leaves your system unbootable after installing Ubuntu. It is easily repairable.
    Syncing Partition Tables
    Reinstalling GRUB
    Supporting Technical Data for Bug

    What is the Mactel-Support PPA Repository?
    (keywords: mac, intel, mactel, team, support, apple, software, fixes, driver, repo)
    Several savy Ubuntu Mac users have fixed bugs, and added functionality to certain software in order to make Ubuntu run better on certain Macs and placed them in a repository available to Ubuntu users until the fixes make it in to the main Ubuntu release.

    Can I boot Ubuntu directly from EFI?
    (keywords: efi, bootloader, grub2, grub-efi, elilo)
    This would be the ideal way to boot Ubuntu Linux on your Mac, but it is still, as of yet, relatively unsupported. If you would like to try it out see below.
    GRUB-EFI Installation Information

    Why does the battery monitor not show the right percentage? (and other strange power-related problems).
    (keywords: power, suspend, battery, charge, capacity)
    Try resetting the SMC.

    How can I have Ubuntu on an encrypted partition?
    (keywords: encryption, partition, install)
    HOW-TO: Dual-boot with Ubuntu encrypted

    Why is there are long delay booting up with only Ubuntu installed?
    (keywords: delay, efi, mbr, single-boot, ubuntu only, bless)
    Because of how the Mac firmware works, it does not readily look for what Apple calls a "legacy OS" and searches for an EFI executable before resorting to starting the Linux bootloader. You can shorten this wait time by blessing the Linux partition.

    How can I assign Right-Click to a keyboard key?
    (keywords: keyboard, mouse, mapping, xorg, shortcut)
    There is a forum post on remapping keys for this purpose. It may be useful to others remapping keys as well.
    Last edited by cyberdork33; March 5th, 2009 at 01:04 AM.

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