How to create a Linux Mint LiveUSB for an old MacPro (1.1 and 2.1)

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How to create a Linux Mint LiveUSB for an old MacPro (1.1 and 2.1)

Post by mcroger »

As most are aware, these old machines had an early version of EFI, in 32 bits, while the CPU can support a 64 bit OS.

There are different ways to install Linux, most use the « legacy » mode, while other install the EFI mode but at the expense (IMHO) of very complex processes for a beginner or using Refind, which is OK but I prefer to skip additional tools when I can.

The advantages of EFI are the support of the additional SATA connectors, and based on my own experience, a better thermal and fan control without additional software on my own system (Mac 1,1 upgraded to 2,1 and a double quad-core X5355).

This tutorial explains how to achieve it quite easily (hopefully) based on the post of Sergey’s blog: ... macpro-11/

Linuxmint ISO of your favorite flavour
Bootia32 :
Another PC (I used another Linuxmint)

We are going to use the “manual” way described by Sergey (with some minor differences).

1) Prepare the flashdrive partitions and folder

Create GPT partition table (in Gparted e.g.)
Create the EFI partition: FAT 210 MB, name EFI with boot flag
Create the Linux partition: EXT4 (several GB based on the drive size)
Create folders /efi/boot and /boot/grub on the EFI partition

2) Copy the relevant files to the EFI partition

Copy vmlinuz (kernel) and initrd.lz (initial ramdisk) from Linuxmint iso /casper folder to /boot/grub
Put the Grub2 bootia32.efi file to /efi/boot
Create a text file “grub.cfg” with the following content in /boot/grub

Code: Select all

set timeout=10
set default=0

menuentry "Install Mint64" {
   linux /boot/grub/vmlinuz boot=casper file=live-media-path=/casper/ ignore_uuid priority=low noefi nomodeset
   initrd /boot/grub/initrd.lz
This is what you should have at this stage


3) Extract the content of the Live ISO to the EXT4 partition

4) Boot holding the ALT key and select the orange EFI Boot icon

Doing so enables to boot and install Linuxmint from the flashdrive.

However, at the post-installation reboot, it may be necessary to edit the grub entry (Escape then Edit) to add “noefi” in order to boot. Then you should also apply it permanently by editing /etc/default/grub and updating grub2. Some say it is no longer necessary, it was needed in my case.

And if you still end up with Minimal Grub command line, the easiest is to reboot on the LiveUSB drive, and use Boot-Repair to fix grub.

To check if the Mac has properly booted in EFI:

Code: Select all

[ -d /sys/firmware/efi ] && echo UEFI || echo BIOS
Mac Mini 2011 i5 - Radeon 6630m - 16 GB , dual boot Ulyana / Mac OS High Sierra
Mac Pro 2006 x5355 - ATI 5770 - 16 GB, dual boot Ulyssa / Mac OS El Capitan
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Re: How to create a Linux Mint LiveUSB for an old MacPro (1.1 and 2.1)

Post by bleulemonade »

Has this worked for anyone else? I have tried it two different ways and neither works.
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