refit on MacBook wont see Mint USB

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refit on MacBook wont see Mint USB

Postby großerBecher on Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:34 am

Hello, who can help?

I try to run a live USB stick with Mint 14.1 cinnamon on my MacBook. Refit 0.14 is installed. Without USB stick plugged in, refit will load its menu. But, having the USB stick plugged in, its illuminating diode will glow for some seconds and then the boot process will freeze with a white screen, neither showing the refit menu nor the OS X password screen.

The Mint USB stick worked well on a Windows Notebook where I created a dual boot configuration from that USB stick. So IMHO that USB stick is fine. I created the stick following this instructions http://www.ubuntu.com/download/help/cre ... on-mac-osx and using the linuxmint-14.1-cinnamon-dvd-32bit.iso from this website.

My MacBook is a 2006 white MacBook 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, OS X 10.4.11 (good old 'Tiger' without Bootcamp), 32Bit EFI implementation.

Any ideas what goes wrong? Are there any logs that could shed some light on the frozen boot?

Thanks + regards
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Re: refit on MacBook wont see Mint USB

Postby srs5694 on Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:15 am

Don't be so sure that the USB flash drive is OK -- at least, not if you define "OK" as "OK for a Mac." Apple uses EFI 1.1, whereas PCs use EFI 2.x (aka UEFI). What's more, Apple deviates from the standard EFI boot mechanism, so efforts to create EFI-bootable media that work on both PCs and Macs often fail. To make matters even worse, there are significant model-to-model differences between Macs and PCs. It's even worse in your case, since you've got a 32-bit EFI. If you're trying to boot a 64-bit distribution, it won't boot in EFI mode, even if you've got a 64-bit CPU, since a 32-bit EFI can't handle the 64-bit EFI binaries that are included on 64-bit distributions. If you've got a 32-bit distribution, chances are it doesn't include any EFI support. Thus, the only way you'll get that USB drive to boot on your Mac is to boot it in BIOS mode. In theory, rEFIt can do this; but as I've just outlined, there are enough weird problems that you may be forced to do it some other way.

I don't know about Mint, or even the very latest version of Ubuntu, but in the recent past, Ubuntu has released a special Mac version of its distribution to work around these problems. Ironically, this version omitted the EFI support, since it's easier to get the installer booted in BIOS mode. You might look for such a version of Mint. If that fails, look for a directory on your USB flash drive called EFI/BOOT (it may vary in case from this) and delete or rename it. That will remove the EFI boot loaders from the equation, leaving only the BIOS boot loader.
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Re: refit on MacBook wont see Mint USB

Postby großerBecher on Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:39 pm

srs, thanks. Unfortunately there does not seem to be such a dedicated Mint-distro for the Mac and there's also no EFI/BOOT folder on the stick.

Any other suggestions? Anyone succeed in installing a current Mint or Ubuntu distro on a white Macbook?
:?
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Re: refit on MacBook wont see Mint USB

Postby srs5694 on Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:24 pm

You could try going the other way (forcing an EFI-mode installation), but it will be a bit tedious. The broad outline is as follows:

  1. Ensure you've got a 32-bit version of Mint.
  2. Install rEFInd, which is my updated version of rEFIt that includes some necessary features. Test that rEFInd works.
  3. Edit the refind.conf file. Locate the also_scan_dirs line. Uncomment it and add "casper" to the list.
  4. Prepare a USB flash drive with a FAT filesystem. (HFS+ might also work, and might actually be necessary. Be prepared to try both ways.)
  5. Copy all the files from the Mint install image to the new flash drive.
  6. Reboot into rEFInd with the new flash drive attached. You should see one or more entries for launching OS X and a Linux entry that refers to "casper\vmlinuz", and perhaps one that refers to "casper\vmlinuz.signed". Highlight one of these entries. (If it doesn't work, try again with the other one.)
  7. Press F2 or Insert twice. You'll see kernel options.
  8. Add "file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper only-ubiquity quiet splash --" to the boot options and press the Enter key.

With any luck, the installer will launch in EFI mode and perform an EFI-mode installation. I make no promises that this will work, though; there are a number of things that could go wrong.
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