How to natively boot Linux on your Mac

“Linux is not for everyone. It is, however, a perfectly acceptable (and dare I say good) alternative to Windows and OS X,” Dylan Herx reports for Mactuts+.

“It offers near-limitless control over an operating system and is available for free,” Herx reports. “Furthermore, Ubuntu, a popular variety of the open-source OS, works well on a Mac, and best of all, it can be booted natively.”

Herx reports, “Running Ubuntu on your Mac will require a few things: an EFI boot menu called rEFInd, a Linux Live CD or USB, and some spare time.”

Much more in the full article here.


      1. thought so… nothing important. Like running BeBox on my old machine – a nice OS to fart around in but useless for the things I need. there was a time when Apple seemed to be disappearing… that OSX was doomed that I might switch to Windows eeeewwwwww and believed maybe a flavour of RedHat or other might be a saving OS. There was a time when i had windows boot if I wanted on my mac osx 10.6.8 but since 10.8.3 i have left windows and anything to do with Microsoft for the best and most trusted OSX. Linux is not my thing and offers nothing more.

        1. Why do Mac users feel compelled to pontificate on platforms they know nothing about?

          What exactly would those things you need be ? Surfing the web? writing documents? Sending Email? Oh…wait…did you really mean i-Tunes, iLife, i-Whatever ?

          The fact that you immediately thought of Redhat as a viable desktop OS instead of Ubuntu or Mint pretty much sums up your knowledge of what is currently going on and available in the Linux eco-system…more or less you don’t know what you are talking about.

      2. I can’t personally see booting into Linux. But running a Linux environment inside VirtualBox makes plenty sense as a solution for the many open-source niche tools that exist for any given vertical.

    1. Linux is not a waste of time. Because of my Linux/UNIX skills I was able to earn a six figure salary for the past 15 years, do very interesting and challenging work, and now am happily retired at the age of 59. There is more to computing than the Mac OS interface. Serious computing (large data centers, etc) runs on a Linux/UNIX backbone. If you want to work in the IT industry and earn a good living, running Linux on an old Mac or in a VM is a great way to get started.

    2. You could say that Linux on desktops and laptops are a waste of time – but not Linux in general. Big computing – research, data centers, the majority of the web – runs on Linux. Many things you use everyday, such as this website, run on Linux.

  1. Since most macs come with OSX for free, and even if not, $29 for OSX, where is the logic of installing Linux? Unless you want to tinker around a bit, there is really nothing to be gained by installing Linux, other than to say ‘I installed Linux on my Mac, and it works’ Wow.

  2. For people who keep the same Mac for many years, Linux may become an attractive option, given how quickly OS X drops support for Mac hardware.

    My earlier experiments with Linux lead me to dismiss it as “more trouble that it’s worth.” But I tried Linux Mint recently, and was floored by how impressive it was. Everything just worked, was well designed and hassle-free, with plenty of good applications available, and regular free updates. It struck me as a solid OS for daily use, and would be better in many ways than an out-of-date OS X that doesn’t support new applications.

  3. I don’t think there is any need to hate on Linux, I currently have an old core solo mac mini running a current Linux server build as my in home file server. I think Linux can be a great way to repurpose old hardware for things like file servers, when the hardware is too old to run current OSX Server. It is also fun to just play around with. In a way OSX is what Linux always strived to be, UNIX for the masses. I love OSX and it is the platform I trust to always work, when I need to get work done, Linux is what I tinker with on a system I don’t need so if I screw something up its no big deal.

  4. If you want to run Linux natively – most likely as a server of some type – then most people would repurpose a Windows box for that purpose. That would free a device from the agony of running Windows *and* leave more spare change for that person to buy an even better Mac on which to enjoy OS X.

    Linux is very good for specific purposes. If not for OS X, it might have even grown into a more widely adopted desktop OS as disaffected Mac users searched for an option to avoid Windows. But OS X evolved into a very good OS, Windows stagnated through the 2000s, and Linux remained primarily a server OS for web servers, supercomputer arrays, etc.

    1. Exactly. Lubuntu and an extra RAM stick turned a sluggish Win7 laptop into an enjoyable little machine. And on the Mac side there’s always emulation if you enjoy futzing around with operating systems for its own sake.

      But booting natively? On my iMac? Naah.

  5. Long time *nix devotee, ok, fanboy. SunOS, Solaris, HP-UX, Linux, *BSD and now OSX/Darwin. BSD under the hood of OSX greatly satisfies me. Some things still drive me nuts but I’ve been able to find workarounds for most. Still my Mac Pro w/ML is very satisfying as a workstation platform. Linux, however, pays the bills. Implementing a number of heavy-duty tasks related to web/database/reporting, etc is so much easier and quicker on Linux. But each O/S has it’s strengths and weaknesses. Comparing Linux to OSX is like comparing a Mac truck to a BMW 335D. Both are diesels, but very different creatures for different tasks!

  6. Why fool around with Linux on a Mac with OS X? The underlying engine for OS X is BSD Unix and it’s immediately available by simply starting the “Terminal” app. You are immediately delivered to a Unix prompt. Apple’s Unix variant is POSIX compliant, meaning it recognizes every standard Unix command and function. I have installed various Unix server applications on my Macs using the Terminal app. They run just fine. Why fool with installing Linux?

    1. apt-get install
      That’s why. Are you really equating the out-the-box power of an Ubuntu or Mint setup with you opening a terminal window in OS-X?
      Yes…you can approach the utility of a Linux box using OS-X….with a lot of unnecessary pain…but it is not the same….What all of you seem to miss is that I can do EVERYTHING you can do with your Mac out of the box with a standard Ubuntu or Mint install, however, you cannot say the same.

      1. So Ubuntu Linux does what from a command line that POSIX compliant Unix doesn’t? Oh, you mean it has a GUI on top of it that makes using it easy? Yeah, that’s kind of what the OS X GUI is, isn’t it? Tell me again what all Linux dies that Mac OS X doesn’t.

        1. It seems you have a slight problem with reading comprehension. Read what I posted again.
          The mere fact that OS-X ships without something comparable to core-utils “out of the box” makes this conversation with you a waste of time. The mere fact that OS-X has NOTHING even remotely comparable with the repos found on ANY mainstream Linux distro “out of the box” pretty much ends this conversation.

  7. These comments. Linux is still a better OS than Windoze will ever be. I have a KolibriOS setup on my laptop (Not Linux, but still open source) and it works great. I still use my Mac though, but I’m more “Anti-Microsloth” than “Apple Fanboi” so I like anything as long as its not Windoze. As much as I hate Android, at least they are helping killing off M$ Windoze 8ista. Sadly, Zombie Ballmer won’t be at MS anymore 🙁

  8. I have wanted to install a distribution of Linux on my system for some time. In particular, I would love to run some of my commercial VFX software that has Linux versions. The problem is, they require Linux distros that require a lot more Linux/UNIX know-how than what I have to get it installed and up and running. Is it possible to install and run software the requires Redhat on Ubuntu for example?

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