Debian-based distros on a Mac?

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Debian-based distros on a Mac?

Postby 3fRI on Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:46 pm

My iMac and MacBook don't seem to like Debian-based distros (i.e., LMDE) when I try to install them on either hard drive. The install seems to work fine initially, but when I reboot, the distro won't launch. :? Yet I have no problem installing and booting Ubuntu-based distros such as MInt and Bodhi on either. The MacBook no longer has any Mac OS on it, but I think it still boots with EFI. I installed rEFIt on the iMac since I still dual-boot OS X and MInt on it. Does anyone know of a fix or workaround? Thanks.
System 76 Pangolin: 4x Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-3230M CPU @ 2.60GHz, CrunchBang 11 Waldorf 64-bit
iMac 21.5: Intel Core 2 Duo 3.06 GHz, dual boot Mac OS 10.6.8, CrunchBang 11 Waldorf 64-bit

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Re: Debian-based distros on a Mac?

Postby ChipButty on Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:19 pm

Have you tried holding down the Option key when you boot up? If you don't have rEFIT on the Macbook I would suggest trying that, but if LMDE isn't showing up on the iMac maybe something else is going on.
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Re: Debian-based distros on a Mac?

Postby srs5694 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:07 am

It's hard to tell what's going on with your setups, since you've provided so few details. This is made all the harder because Macs are pretty weird in the way they boot, even by EFI standards, and there are even model-to-model variations.

Ultimately, I think your best bet is to learn as much as you can about the EFI boot process in general and the Mac boot process in particular. There are lots of documents on the Web that might help. A few that come to mind include:

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Re: Debian-based distros on a Mac?

Postby 3fRI on Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:58 am

ChipButty, yes, I've tried holding down the option key while booting but the distros wouldn't boot

srs5694, thank you for the links. It'll take me a bit to digest the info and try out a couple of options. The Debian-based distros I've tried work fine with Virtual Box, but fail to boot after installing them on the hard drive. I've never had a problem installing Ubuntu-based distros and have even installed other distros such as OpenSUSE and PCLinux.

Perhaps, I'll stick with Mint and Bodhi on the MacBook and buy an older refurbished Windows laptop to experiment with Debian-based distros such as CrunchBang. :mrgreen:
System 76 Pangolin: 4x Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-3230M CPU @ 2.60GHz, CrunchBang 11 Waldorf 64-bit
iMac 21.5: Intel Core 2 Duo 3.06 GHz, dual boot Mac OS 10.6.8, CrunchBang 11 Waldorf 64-bit

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Re: Debian-based distros on a Mac?

Postby ChipButty on Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:17 pm

I am running Crunchbang on my Macbook, it's what I'm using right now and it's currently my main distro on the machine. My issues with installing Linux on Macs is the Grub thing. Once you have more than one distro then rEFIt will load Grub and then you choose which distro to boot, and that has never been easy for me. In fact I find the whole Grub thing to be more complictaed that it needs to be. Anyway I'm using a 2006 Macbook which had Mac OS X, Mint XFCE, and Crunchbang and they all boot up.
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Re: Debian-based distros on a Mac?

Postby srs5694 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:04 pm

ChipButty wrote:My issues with installing Linux on Macs is the Grub thing. Once you have more than one distro then rEFIt will load Grub and then you choose which distro to boot, and that has never been easy for me. In fact I find the whole Grub thing to be more complictaed that it needs to be. Anyway I'm using a 2006 Macbook which had Mac OS X, Mint XFCE, and Crunchbang and they all boot up.


You might want to look into using rEFInd and an EFI stub loader (available with 3.3.0 and later kernels) to boot in EFI mode rather than use the BIOS mode with GRUB that is how most Linux distributions install on Macs by default. EFI-mode booting of Linux doesn't work perfectly on all Mac models, but it works on most of them, and it can be a much cleaner solution than doing it in BIOS mode.
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Re: Debian-based distros on a Mac?

Postby 3fRI on Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:29 pm

I agree about the Bios Grub thing being perhaps unnecessarily complicated. I usually partition manually: /boot, /, /home, and swap, which has always worked when installing and booting an Ubuntu distro.

Meanwhile, I've downloaded the rEFInd CD ISO image and will try it out tomorrow if I can. Since my MacBook (2007) no longer any remnants of OS X, I'll have to stick with Linux options and see if I can install CrunchBang along side of Mint Xfce.
System 76 Pangolin: 4x Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-3230M CPU @ 2.60GHz, CrunchBang 11 Waldorf 64-bit
iMac 21.5: Intel Core 2 Duo 3.06 GHz, dual boot Mac OS 10.6.8, CrunchBang 11 Waldorf 64-bit

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