How to Install and Dual Boot Linux on a Mac

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Mac operating system (OS) is considered one of the most productive and efficient OS, but there might be certain situations that may require Linux as your system software. Going down to a market, purchasing a new Linux empowered device isn’t an ideal solution for this issue. With some additional products and some smart tweaks you can eventually turn your Mac in a Linux machine. The major advantage of getting both the OSes on your device is that you can switch to either of them to meet your business and professional requirements, when necessary. Running both the system software on a single device will make it reliable, performance oriented and ready for some bigger challenges. Buying two separate devices is a costly practice that can be easily avoided, if you’ve strong hold on setting up both of these on your device.

In this article, you’ll get to know about why you require dual boot on your Mac and how to install it in a simpler way:

Dual-boot allows you to continue running Mac OS X on your device, however, you can boot into Ubuntu when you choose to do so. Mac OS’s are relatively faster, efficient, and accurate than Linux, but Ubuntu has a special hold on parameters such as security, performance on servers, and minimal boot time to start up the device. Since, both the system software are Unix-like software, they gel up well and the distributions typically work quite well on the physical device. For some people getting both of them is a good balance as it allows you to get more familiar with Ubuntu, an operating system for Intel x86-based personal computers.

How to install Linux on Mac?

Dual-booting on a Mac PC is easy as you just need to stick in a LiveCD disk, containing Linux on it, and leave the rest of the device. Although, some early preparations may be required to deal with the pairing up of these two. Just insert the LiveCD disk and give some time to your PC as the installer will take care of all the difficult stuff. Before experimenting with your device, ensure that you’ve already backed up the whole data as backup should be there, if something wrong happens to the device. Use temporary hard disk drive, cloud storage options, or even USB storage devices to safeguard your important data and then collect the things that will assist you in the dual-boot process.

What all you'll need to establish a dual-boot mode?

The list of requirements is quite short, but make sure that you have all of these before you get started:

1. An Intel Mac, currently running some OS X 10.5 ‘Leopard’ or higher, which will be having dual-operating system from now onwards. Don’t worry, after the completion of this process, you'll have your OS X on your system, along with the other one.

2. A certified copy of Ubuntu Linux OS burned to CD. Try to get a latest version of Linux and check out Ubuntu's support pages to identify the one rightful compatible with your installed Mac version. Regardless of your PC hardware configuration, it is always recommended to attempt the latest version first and move back to older releases later, only if you run into problems with the latest version.

3. The rEFIt boot manager, a visually slick (think BURG) boot-interrupter, to install dual-boot system on your Apple’s device.

What are the steps to install and dual boot Linux on a Mac?

Macs use the EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) bootloader and Linux uses BIOS (Basic Input Output System), hence, you’ll be required to install rEFIt on your device to make it a dual-boot machine. Installing this software will provide a boot menu for selecting OS's located on different partitions and a user can make a choice that with which OS he actually wants to go with. With latest modifications, rEFIt will automatically detect OSes on any attached partitions, including bootable flash drives. Follow the below mentioned steps to dual-boot your Linux on Mac:

Step1: Install rEFIt

A typical PC works well with the GRUB boot-loader as it can be easily used to present dual-boot options, however, Intel Mac users will require to install rEFIt to perform the same process. This software is commonly known as a boot-interrupter that permits you to boot between OS X and your Linux distribution(s), depending upon the requirements of a user and projects. To install rEFIt, follow these steps:

A. Download the rEFIt-0.14.dmg disk image and ‘mount’ it on your Mac PC by double-clicking on it

B. Double-click on the ‘rEFIt.mpkg’ package, located inside the ‘rEFIt’ folder while accessing it from Finder

C. Now, quickly follow the instructions of the installation window and select ‘your Mac OS X installation volume as the destination volume,’ when asked

D. Once done, you’ll be able to see the rEFIt boot menu on your next restart

Step2. Resize your OS X

As you might have many important files, documents, images, videos, and other relevant stuff on your device, the next step is to make some space for your Ubuntu install. To do the same, open ‘Disk Utility’ in OS X > Choose the main hard drive from the left side > ‘Partition’ tab.

Now, click the ‘+‘ sign located at the bottom of the hard drive window to create a new partition. Additionally, the program also allows you to specify a partition size directly in the size box. For performing the Format function, choose the ‘Free Space’ option and click on the ‘Apply’ button.

Step3. Reboot with a LiveCD

Once all the above mentioned things are done, then you’re all set to turn your device into a dual-boot machine. You just need to pop your LiveCD into the disk drive and try to reboot. Press the ‘C’ key on your keyboard to boot from the Live CD, just after you listen to the start ‘chimes’ sound.

Step4: Install Linux to your created partition

iMac users using Bluetooth peripherals will be required to connect a wired keyboard and mouse to the machine for installing Ubuntu on their devices. Ensure that you only install Ubuntu on the free space partition that you’ve created in the earlier steps.

As soon as, the device will be able to install Ubuntu, it may prompt you to that the free space isn’t enough for the install. Then, you must double check the size or, choose the ‘Advanced’ option from the partition screen to adjust the partition size.

A user will be required to select ‘free space‘ and choose the ‘EXT4′ file system, when asked by the window. Before selecting anything, ensure that the mount point should be set as ‘/’.

Once you’re in the partition editor of the LiveCD, the whole process will now become straightforward and you have to be a bit patient as it might take some time to install it.

Step5: Reboot

Once all the processing and installation is done, then you just need to reboot your Mac. Select ‘Linux’ from the REFit bootloader during the system boot to run your Mac device on Ubuntu.

By following this process, you can easily save the amount of money that you’ll be spending on purchasing a new Linux machine. Running a device on dual-boot process will make it more productive, performance oriented and useful for home, business, personal, students, and other users. You may require to shutdown (completely, not just reboot) several times to bring this partition and dual-boot into action, hence, don’t panic if it doesn’t work in the first time. You can also remove this feature, if you decide that you don’t want to dual boot Linux on your Mac, any longer.

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Polly M Quinton has 34 articles online and 1 fans

Polly M Quinton has been serving at qresolve.com as a tech support engineer and offers tech support to global customers. Polly is known for her skills and wide experience in providing online technical support for laptop, Mac,desktop, iPods,tablets, iPhone, smartphones and virus removal. She has been an active blogger and article writer related to computers, information technology, peripherals and devices. Her articles let users know about the benefits of online tech support, computer support and the latest emerging technologies.

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How to Install and Dual Boot Linux on a Mac

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This article was published on 2014/05/29