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Thread: Problem with keyboard functionality at start-up

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Problem with keyboard functionality at start-up

    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.
    Last edited by bapoumba; January 6th, 2014 at 11:18 PM. Reason: removed font formats.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Ubuntu Mate 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: Problem with keyboard functionality at start-up

    Moved to Apple Users.
    | My old and mostly abandoned blog |
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Re: Problem with keyboard functionality at start-up

    I would debate that the move was unreasonable based on the nature of my question, but no matter.

    Update: My logitec keyboard did not work with the Mac in the grub loading screen. I was able to pair the keyboard easily within the live CD, but (not surprisingly now that I think about it) the computer failed to recognize the keyboard upon reboot. Perhaps the computer will recognize a Mac bluetooth keyboard, but I fear I may have taken that capability away as well since OS-X is a thing of the past. Regardless, while I can do a fresh install from the boot CD, my problem will be sure to return again the first time the power goes out because I do not feel like paying 50-60 dollars to buy my own Mac keyboard.

    Further thinking has made me realize I was limiting the scope of my search too much by limiting it to Macs, so I broadened it a bit and found a new angle. Why is it that grub is not timing out and loading the first option? From what I can tell, that is a default setting...
    Last edited by Michael_Kolonay; January 10th, 2014 at 12:06 AM.


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