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Comments for Ubuntu + Mac: Pure EFI Boot - The Slightly Disgruntled Scientist

By System @system2014-09-07 00:58:33.000Z

There are 188 replies. Estimated reading time: 95 minutes

  1. C
    crunchy22014-11-03 23:04:34.000Z

    You're the man! Thanks so much for sharing. It worked wonderfully to make my new and shiny Mac mini 7,1 late 2014 boot Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS Desktop. One remark though: you missed the step to re-mount /boot/efi before chapter "Installing GRUB".

    1. JJason Heeris2014-11-04 03:01:14.000Z

      Good catch! It was right there in my notes, but I overlooked it. Should be fixed now.

    2. I
      In reply toUnknown [DwE4KFYW2]:
      israel2014-11-06 22:38:01.000Z

      It would be amazing if the future +mac ISOs would make an HFS partition and 'bless' it
      Thanks for this tutorial!! You are rad!

      1. JJason Heeris2014-11-07 00:13:09.000Z

        I filed bug #1369187 on Launchpad about this, actually. It might be helpful if people who try this on different systems leave a comment there detailing success or failure so the devs know how whether this approach is reliable, and what needs to change for various systems.

      2. B
        In reply toUnknown [DwE4KFYW2]:
        BMourelo2014-11-10 19:52:04.000Z

        Only to comment that in some Macs you can install Ubuntu using the EFI partition (vFAT) and Grub, see

        1. JJason Heeris2014-11-12 06:01:49.000Z

          Is that just for Macs prior to a certain model? Or can you do this on recent models as well?

        2. A
          In reply toUnknown [DwE4KFYW2]:
          Alex Rodenberg2014-11-18 08:30:43.000Z

          Unfortunately does not work for 12.04, the grub-install does not have the efi parameters to install on the HFS partition :( and I get /boot/efi doesn't look like an EFI partition.
          if just run with that target.

          1. JJason Heeris2014-11-18 10:22:48.000Z

            grub-install used to be a shell script, not a compiled binary, and so you could patch in the desired behaviour. Go to Mike Hommey's instructions, do a ctrl+f for edit /usr/sbin/grub-install, and see if those instructions help.

            I know I did this for 13.10, I have no idea if it'll work for 12.04. Prior to 2012, EFI support even on non-Apple devices was pretty sketchy, so you might be out of luck :/.

            1. AAlex Rodenberg2014-11-18 10:24:19.000Z

              I'm trying my current system install with 14.04 as we speak :) But I will give it a go if I run into problems with 14.04.

              1. JJason Heeris2014-11-18 10:25:05.000Z

                Let me know how it goes!

                1. AAlex Rodenberg2014-11-18 10:48:02.000Z

                  hmm i end up in my initramfs when i write boot at the grub console, and it doesn't go any further at a busybox console..

                  1. AAlex Rodenberg2014-11-18 11:16:38.000Z

                    had to add bootdelay=20 (could probably have used less) on the linux kernel line, I do have a harddisk and not a SSD so dunno if that factors in.

                    1. JJason Heeris2014-11-28 00:20:27.000Z

                      No, the Mac Mini I used had a spinning-platter HDD too. I wonder what could be causing that.

                      1. In reply toAlex Rodenberg:
                        C2Chris2015-09-11 18:14:56.000Z

                        How did you add the bootdelay? Was it something you did from the grub prompt?

                        1. A2Alex Rodenberg2015-09-11 18:17:00.000Z

                          Kernel line

                          1. C2Chris2015-09-11 18:24:37.000Z

                            Thanks Alex - sorry for being a noob, but can you tell me how to do this? Maybe some command examples?

                    2. In reply toJason Heeris:
                      AAlex Rodenberg2014-11-18 12:00:45.000Z

                      thats it, rest of install done according to your instructions working :) Imac 14,4 21,5" model.

                      1. C2Chris2015-09-10 21:57:29.000Z

                        Im having this issue as well - when I type in boot, it goes to initramfs and I can go no further. 2014 Mac Mini and I installed an SSD (512G

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                  2. In reply toJason Heeris:
                    MMario2015-12-02 00:13:56.000Z

                    Mike's instructions don't help. I think these methods are outdated. I'm using an Ubuntu MATE 14.04 to try to get a USB stick with a bootable HFS+ partition with Grub in it. I'm stuck right at the point where I'm supposed to "edit /usr/sbin/grub-install, look for xfat" according to his instructions. Well, grub-install is a binary as you said, so no go.

                    I still think that his and your instructions are missing some crucial steps. I've tried approaching this from the Mac OS X side, and from the Ubuntu side, and I'm stuck.

                2. B2
                  In reply toUnknown [DwE4KFYW2]:
                  baniowskinet2014-12-05 17:53:15.000Z

                  Great thanks! Your post has saved many hair pulling hours :)

                  1. U
                    In reply toUnknown [DwE4KFYW2]:
                    Ubuntu2014-12-07 19:21:21.000Z

                    I tried but I am stuck with the step where its trying to install mactel-boot, I am getting message that "mactel-boot not found" please help

                    1. JJason Heeris2014-12-07 21:46:53.000Z

                      Did you add the necessary PPA?

                      $ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:detly/mactel-utils
                      $ sudo apt-get update
                      $ sudo apt-get install mactel-boot

                      1. U2Ubuntu2014-12-10 16:22:03.000Z

                        First two commands ran fine with no errors, but when ran third one it's says not able to find mactel-boot

                        1. JJason Heeris2014-12-10 22:07:51.000Z

                          What version of Ubuntu are you trying to install? Maybe I need to add another series to the PPA.

                          1. U3Ubuntu2014-12-11 15:56:04.000Z

                            Thanks for the response. It's ubuntu 14.10.

                            1. JJason Heeris2014-12-11 22:04:04.000Z

                              Ah okay, I'll have to upload new packages for that. I hadn't realised I'd only done it up to 14.04. I'll do it later tonight and ping you again when it's done.

                              1. In reply toUbuntu:
                                JJason Heeris2014-12-13 00:03:02.000Z

                                New packages uploaded for Utopic/14.10 — let me know if it works now!

                                1. U3Ubuntu2014-12-15 15:30:13.000Z

                                  It's throwing error while running the command add apt repository and after this my wired internet connection also getting off. I am new to u

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                                  1. In reply toJason Heeris:
                                    PPeter R. Wood2016-07-13 04:10:41.000Z

                                    Any chance of getting packages for Xenial/16.04?

                                    1. JJason Heeris2016-07-22 00:23:06.000Z

                                      Should be up now. Let me know if they work, because I don't have a 16.04 system to test them on!

                                      1. PPeter R. Wood2016-08-23 13:22:39.000Z

                                        Yes, this did work correctly. Thanks!

                                        1. In reply toJason Heeris:
                                          TThorin Hanson2016-12-01 02:20:49.000Z

                                          Any chance we could get Yakkety/16.10? :D

                                          1. JJason Heeris2016-12-01 09:12:23.000Z

                                            Yes, but I'm travelling ATM, so not until early January :)

                          2. A3
                            In reply toUnknown [DwE4KFYW2]:
                            a_big_noob2014-12-15 22:38:53.000Z

                            This is a great walk-through of a process I'm currently attempting with an early 2009 Mac Mini that stopped properly booting up after the OS X update a couple months ago.

                            Unfortunately, I get stuck pretty much right at the very beginning! When I boot from the USB I've created and select to install Ubuntu, my display "wigs out" and becomes totally unreadable/unusable. For some reason, it seems the Linux installer doesn't play well with my broken version of OS X. I've tried multiple different versions of multiple different distros and so far, no luck.

                            Currently, I'm reinstalling OS X to see if I can at least get that running. Then I'm going to follow this to a T.

                            1. JJason Heeris2014-12-16 01:25:35.000Z

                              Another option might be to wipe the disk and use the server installer (which only needs console graphics).

                              1. A3a_big_noob2014-12-16 14:16:44.000Z

                                It looks like that's how I'm able to use the text-based installer, so I'm guessing you're right. But I may not be knowledgable enough to make that work. This is only the second computer I've ever installed Linux on, and I'm by no means a "computer guy." Just someone bored with extra hardware lying around.

                                Of course I'll try, though! Thanks for the recommendation.

                            2. A4
                              In reply toUnknown [DwE4KFYW2]:
                              asterix2014-12-24 13:27:51.000Z

                              Great Job, Jason !!!

                              I had only a error when i try this command:

                              $ sudo grub-install --target x86_64-efi --boot-directory=/boot --efi-directory=/boot/efi --bootloader-id="$(lsb_release -ds)"
                              Show me a not possible to found a grub unity to /dev/sda1. Verify your device map.

                              any sugestions?

                              1. JJason Heeris2014-12-25 06:56:57.000Z

                                From reading some forum posts about this, I'd guess that a good first bet would be: reboot and try reinstalling grub again.

                                Failing that, I'd need some more information, eg. the output of fdisk -l and the contents of /etc/fstab.

                                1. A4asterix2014-12-26 13:58:59.000Z

                                  Thank you, its works for me , using the partition option type Guided – use entire disk
                                  I will to try again, with Manual Partitioning, to verify where is wrong.
                                  Happy New Year!

                              2. C3
                                In reply toUnknown [DwE4KFYW2]:
                                cubic232015-01-15 11:29:30.000Z

                                Hi Jason, thanks for the great tutorial!I followed your steps using the Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS Desktop Installer on a MBP 6,2 with a new SSD dri

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                                1. J2
                                  In reply toUnknown [DwE4KFYW2]:
                                  Justin Time2015-02-01 15:12:18.000Z

                                  What would you recommend to *double-boot* a Mac with the choice of OS X or Ubuntu at startup? As you said, the most elegant way is what I am looking for as well.

                                  1. JJason Heeris2015-02-01 22:44:26.000Z

                                    I've tried a variant of this approach for dual booting on a Mac Mini server (two hard drives). I put OS X on the first drive, and did a normal Ubuntu EFI install on the second drive ie. I had two EFI partitions after that (/dev/sda1 and /dev/sdb1). GRUB was installed on /dev/sdb1. Oddly enough, the one for OS X was vfat, and the Mac bootloader sees that fine; it didn't see the Ubuntu one.

                                    I then followed the instructions here for the Ubuntu EFI partition (leaving the OS X EFI partition alone) ie. converted it to HFS+, added the mach_kernel files etc. Then Ubuntu showed up in the Mac bootloader.

                                    The one problem I've been unable to solve is getting Ubuntu to boot by default. No matter what efibootmgr commands I run, I cannot get the Mac bootloader to boot Ubuntu by default. I'm still trying to figure that out.

                                    If you don't have two hard drives, I think as long as you (a) resize your OS X partition so there's some empty space at the end, and (b) carefully check the partitions that the Ubuntu installer wants to create, you should be fine.

                                    1. J2Justin Time2015-02-02 06:10:45.000Z

                                      Thanks for clarifying this! This is helpful information because for day-to-day operation, the ideal way for me is a default boot option which sticks until I deliberately choose the other one. grub has this with their DEFAULT=saved / GRUB_SAVEDEFAULT=true options, rEFInd has it automatically.

                                      My macmini has two disks, but from my perspective, two EFI partitions complicate things. I want one EFI partition on the system SSD to boot either OS X or Ubuntu from a partition of the SSD. Choosing with the option key at bootup is fine. From what you write, this should be feasible just with the mac bootloader.

                                      1. JJason Heeris2015-02-02 11:37:42.000Z

                                        Just be warned: I actually tried to do this with a single EFI partition too (ie. mounting /dev/sda1 as /boot/efi and installing GRUB), but I couldn't get it to work. Let me know if you figure out how!

                                  2. I2
                                    In reply toUnknown [DwE4KFYW2]:
                                    ichicolco2015-02-11 09:23:48.000Z

                                    Great set of instructions - thanks for sharing. One question for you. I see in your repository you have the macfanctld. I added it to my 14.

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                                    1. M2
                                      In reply toUnknown [DwE4KFYW2]:
                                      Michael2015-02-21 06:47:04.000Z

                                      I've been following your steps exactly but I've ran into a problem with "Fixing the EFI Partition". gdisk tells me that /boot/efi is on /dev

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                                      1. O
                                        In reply toUnknown [DwE4KFYW2]:
                                        obrientimothya2015-03-16 00:41:01.000Z

                                        +1 here - fantastic stuff! Thanks Jason :-)