Discussion in 'Apple' started by Fred McKenzie, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. Although slightly off-topic, csms may be the best forum for this LINUX

    My new toy is a Raspberry Pi. It runs Raspbian, a variation of Debian
    LINUX. In order to learn more about LINUX, I am attempting to install
    Debian LINUX on a spare internal HD in a Mac Pro.

    I have downloaded ISO disk images of Debian in four forms: 32 bit net
    install, 64 bit Gnome live desktop, 64 bit LXDE live desktop and a
    "Mini" version suggested at one website.

    So far, all attempts to install have failed. Using the rEFIt program,
    the newly installed LINUX HD appears, tries to boot but fails (no
    bootable device).

    Except for the "Mini" CD which hangs up half way through the boot-up
    process, the CDs and DVDs all boot on the Mac. It seems to me that this
    proves that Debian will work if I can only find the secret!

    Can anyone tell me how to install a working Debian LINUX on my Mac Pro?
    (I did manage to install a bootable version of "Puppy LINUX".)

    Fred McKenzie, Jan 17, 2014
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  2. Fred McKenzie

    JF Mezei Guest

    Not familiar with the peculiarities of this, but remember that the Mac
    has a highly customized EFI firmware. So you have to make sure that
    when you load the Linux HD, you setup the GPT partition and possibly
    have to load a linux boot EFI program in that partition.

    While the MAC EFI has added logic to parse through an HFS volume to find
    the boot file, it may require a standard EFI program to let it parse
    through a Linux disk to find its boot file/block.
    JF Mezei, Jan 17, 2014
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  3. I've done this using rEFIt and a live DVD (which contained the Ubuntu
    variant of Debian and some other software).

    The live DVD allows you to skip the rEFIt step the first time, though
    you'll still need to get rEFIt working in order to boot from a disk.
    Doug Anderson, Jan 18, 2014
  4. Doug-

    I think rEFIt is working. There was a command issued in the Mac
    Terminal program that was supposed to make it work. It is able to see
    the installed LINUX system and lets me select that HD. I'll try to find
    the Terminal command and do it again, in case that is the problem.

    I have two "Live" disks for Debian (Gnome and LXDE). They each appear
    to install correctly when I choose the direct installation option. When
    choosing the Live option and then running the install program, it fails
    when it tries to install the Grub software.

    I found several websites that talked about installing Ubuntu. I did not
    realize it was a variant of Debian. I am hoping to end up with an
    installation on the Mac that resembles Raspberry Pi's Raspbian.

    Fred McKenzie, Jan 18, 2014
  5. JF-

    Would that LINUX Boot EFI program be the Grub software?

    I have tried several ways to partition the HD. My apparent best results
    have been when I first created a single partition on the Mac and then
    deleted it. I let the LINUX installation program determine its
    preferred partitioning scheme.

    At first I thought the problem was that a "boot" flag had not been set.
    Setting the flag does not appear to make a difference.

    Fred McKenzie, Jan 18, 2014
  6. Fred McKenzie

    JF Mezei Guest

    I have no idea. I did ask my buddy Mr Google and one page it found:

    seems to provide a good explanation of steps to do. You need to end up
    with a .efi file in the EFI partition on the drive you are booting from.
    that .efi file contains information/code that lets you boot onto the
    right partition.

    (eg: some efi code that understand the linux file structure and can find
    the boot file/block on the specifci partition, as well as the config
    that tells it which partition to boot from).
    JF Mezei, Jan 18, 2014
  7. You can easily run Debian in a VM, like VirtualBox. The VM is
    preferable if you plan to mess with the operating system because you can
    always escape up one level for repairs. It's not so great for
    application development because of the performance overhead.
    Kevin McMurtrie, Jan 18, 2014
  8. Fred McKenzie

    Alan Browne Guest

    I haven't tried Debian so can't help you with the specifics. But a
    thought about experimenting with other OS' on a Mac:

    The "best" way IMO is under a virtualizer such as VMWare Fusion or
    Parallels. That way your computer isn't "out of service" while you
    tinker with Linux.

    As a general purpose tinker Linux, Ubuntu is quite popular (and there
    are many more of course). You DL the 64 b version (marked as "AMD" just
    to make things confusing) burn as an ISO and then install. (There may
    be a way to avoid burning a DVD or loading it onto a stick...)

    Of course you can use any distro of Linux that you like.
    Alan Browne, Jan 18, 2014
  9. This project has turned out to be more difficult than expected! Rather
    than fussing with a virtualizer, I purchased another HD for the 4th slot
    in the Mac Pro. I have older versions of Parallels and Fusion but got
    tired of them wanting an upgrade fee each time OS X was updated.

    So far I have been burning CDs and DVDs from ISO files using Disk
    Utility. I tried to restore an ISO to a thumb drive, but it did not

    Doug Anderson mentioned use of rEFIt. I found that I had missed a step.
    Now booting from LINUX just hangs up without an error message, but the
    LINUX HD shows up as two drives! I think I have a partition problem.

    The article that JF Mezei referenced appears to discuss the kind of
    problem I'm having. I'll study it and see if it has the answer I'm
    looking for.

    Thanks to all for the good advice.

    Fred McKenzie, Jan 18, 2014
  10. Fred McKenzie

    isw Guest

    Just out of curiosity, how much of a hit does something like VB impose?
    Do things take twice as long? 5% longer? Or what??

    isw, Jan 18, 2014
  11. I found that most of Linux distros didn't install on my MacBookPro.
    Some of the distros LIVE CDs wouldn't even be recognized by the boot
    code. I did find a couple that ran from the CD but none that would
    install and boot.

    I attribute this to Apple's proprietary hardware and drivers needed to
    run things like Windows, which is why BootCamp has it's own drivers.
    Fusion and Parallels remove this layer and emulate generic X86 hardware.

    To do Kickstart testing, I bought a recycled 486 with 1GB memory and
    10GB disk. It booted the network boot CD just fine and I was able to
    download Centos and Ubunto into it without a problem.

    If you need a Linux laptop, I'd get a recycled or cheap PC and use that
    installed of trying to get around the Mac proprietary hardware. Most
    instructions for getting Linux running assume a PC platform, not a Mac.

    It's your time or your money. You choose.
    Michael Vilain, Jan 18, 2014
  12. I haven't used it in a while. The problem is that resources aren't
    shared efficiently between the native and virtual VM so using MacOS and
    the VM at the same time needs a lot of RAM and CPU. MacOS is also
    gaining a considerable amount of bloat and it hasn't been performance
    tuned enough to compensate.

    The best thing to do would be to try it. VirtualBox is free and trivial
    to set up.
    Kevin McMurtrie, Jan 19, 2014
  13. Fred McKenzie

    Lewis Guest

    Lewis, Jan 19, 2014
  14. Fred McKenzie

    Alan Browne Guest

    With VMWare Fusion, on a 2 core machine, you'd hardly know it was
    virtualized - less than 10% for sure - possibly less than 1 - 2%.
    Really - the guest OS is running on the metal directly most of the time.
    Alan Browne, Jan 19, 2014
  15. Fred McKenzie

    Barry OGrady Guest

    If you have OSX installed you have Darwin Linux installed.
    Barry OGrady, Jan 20, 2014
  16. Darwin is a BSD (Berkely Systems Development) UNIX variant, not Linux.

    There was a version of Linux called MKLinux based upon the Mach Kernel
    for the pre-G PPC Macs. This was funded by Apple as a possible basis for OSX.

    However when Steve came back, it was dropped because the GPL was incompatible
    with his business needs, and he brought with him NexStep, which was built
    on BSD.

    You can open a terminal and get a BSD shell, which these days looks an awful
    lot like a Linux shell, and install X-Code, the development environment
    and download and compile many programs which were first developed on Linux.

    When I did it last, there was no library of the programs (called PORTS)
    available precompiled, but may have changed.

    You can also install X-Windows, the UNIX windowing system which is also
    used by Linux.

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jan 20, 2014
  17. No, some of the commands are different. For example, the cp command
    for linux takes an -a argument, while the BSD cp command takes -R and
    requires you to have or not have a / at the end of the from argument.
    (I forget which).

    The lp type commands (command line printing) are different but since Apple
    bought CUPS, was that Tiger?, MacOs uses the CUPS versions, which are now
    standard in most Linux distributions instead of the Linux ones.

    The shells were different too, BSD uses sh (Bourne shell), and CSH (C shell),
    while Linux uses BASH (Bourne again shell). Later versions of MacOs use
    BASH, and a stripped down version of BASH as sh, but also include CSH and
    a version of KSH.

    There were also SYSV (pronounced sys 5) UNIX versions of the commands which
    were closer to what became the Linux versions, but not the same.

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jan 20, 2014
  18. The way I interpeted it was the he wanted actual Linux experience on his
    Mac so that he could transfer it directly to his Raspberry Pi.

    I think he said that in his first post. I also think he specified the
    distro that he wanted to use.

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jan 20, 2014
  19. Here is the original post. As I said, he was quite specific:

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jan 20, 2014
  20. Installing linux was easy for me. But, getting the boat loader (rEFIt)
    working properly was harder. Getting the disk partitioned correctly
    was both hard and scary.

    I did this in October, didn't take good notes, and thus don't really
    have anything specific to offer in working through the preliminary
    steps. Here is a page that makes it look easier than I remember, so I
    don't totally trust it.

    Here is a more detailed page that seems more believable:

    Good luck!
    Doug Anderson, Jan 20, 2014
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