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installing Linux on Mac Mini as dual boot

Posted on 2011-09-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12

I am trying to install Linux on a Mac Mini, which currently has Snow Leopard, as a dual boot system.  Bare in mind, I am a Mac beginner.

I have installed rEFIt and also created a partition for the installation.  All good so far.

I have tried both Linux Mint (latest version) and also Ubuntu 11.04, with I think, slightly more success with Mint.  I am following this instruction set: http://www.maclife.com/article/howtos/install_linux_your_mac


This is the issue.  When I boot Mint from my cd, I get a lot of text messages going by showing the booting process.  Good so far.    However, it reaches a certain point where the screen blanks.  The cd drive continues to chatter for a bit and then silence and a blank screen.

It seems to me (just a guess) that it is using a simple tty driver during the boot process and then when it boots it switches to a graphical video driver which does not work.   Just my thoughts.  Both mint and Ubuntu behave in a similar fashion, though I think I get more initial messages from mint.

I should point out, that with Mint in the cd, when I reboot with the 'c' key held down, I get an initial Mint screen which has several options:  Start Linux Mint, Start Linux Mint (compatibility Mode), etc etc.  If I choose Start Linux Mint, I get the effect as described above.

Any idea on how to fix this?   Is there another distro which might work?  Has anyone here done this successfully?
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Question by:BeerFizz
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8 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:BeerFizz
ID: 36504202

Just to add.  It seems that when I have the initial Mint screen, I can move throught the boot options.  If I have a boot option selected, I can press the tab key and there is the oportunity to modify the boot parameters.   Anything there that migth affect the issue I am having?

Thanks
Phil
0
 

Author Comment

by:BeerFizz
ID: 36504726

Well, I got a bit further.

The Initial Mint menu I mentioned above, is called a Grub Menu.

If you select the first option, press tab and put this:

nouveau.modeset=0

in as the last paramenter, then the video works.

However, I'm now stuck because my mouse and keyboard are BT and are not talking to Mint.

Any ideas anyone?
0
 

Author Comment

by:BeerFizz
ID: 36505922
Dug up a USB keyboard and Mouse from the basement.

Got a bit further.

I think I have everything fully installed.   When I power up, I have the choice of booting to osx, which works fine, or to Linux, which does not.

When I choose Linux, it appears to boot and then the screen goes blank???  Is this the same issue as before?  Video driver not working??

Any ideas?

Thanks
Phil
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Accepted Solution

by:
TobiasHolm earned 2000 total points
ID: 36509825
> Is this the same issue as before?  Video driver not working??

Yes, it's the same issue.

Try modifying /etc/default/grub:

open up a terminal window (CTRL+ALT+t)
sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

Open in new window


Edit line: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="nouveau.modeset=0"

Save the file and run:
sudo update-grub

Open in new window


Reboot your PC.

Ref: http://askubuntu.com/questions/44391/computer-does-not-have-the-necessary-hardware-to-run-unity

I have not Mac myself so I haven't tested this though...

Regards, Tobias
0
 

Author Comment

by:BeerFizz
ID: 36510580
Hi Tobias,

Thank you for your response.

I seem to be caught in a bit of a catch 22.

I can't boot into mint, because I can't see the screen...

I can put in the install disk and boot from that.   From there, using the file browser, I can see under places, the 'File System", on the apple hard drive.  If I open that, I can navigate to etc/default, gedit grub and make the changes and save the file.  So far so good.

However, when I try to run update-grub I have issues...

1) where is update-grub looking for the grub file?  Probably the non modified one on the cd.
2) when run, it gives an error... grub-probe:  cannot find a device for / (is /dev mounted)

since I still running off of the CD, I assume /dev is not mounted, or there is not a writable one, or at least its the wrong one.

Any ideas?   Is there a way to update a 'foreign' grub file to the boot area of a 'foreign' disk?

Thanks
Phil
0
 

Author Comment

by:BeerFizz
ID: 36511323

Looking at:
Editing the GRUB 2 Menu During Boot
in:
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2
it seems to indicate that I can edit the grub command lines during boot, by holding down the shift key.


When I am in the rEFIt menu, I can right arrow over to TUX, the penguin, hit return and hold down the shift key, and sure enough, the menu comes up.   I can then make the nouveau.modeset=0 change again to the end of the boot line and it boots.

I can now reboot and login after shudown.   Need to fix the enet, and then get the correct nvidia drivers.

Thanks Tobias for the help.
Phil



.

0
 
LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:TobiasHolm
ID: 36512747
Hi!

To be able to run update-grub when booting from a CD you have to mount the Linux root harddrive partition.

Boot an Ubuntu or Mint LiveCD and start a terminal window. Check which partition you want to mount:
sudo fdisk -l

Open in new window


Mount the right partition and set it as root (I use sda1 in the example below):
sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt
sudo mount --bind /dev /mnt/dev
sudo chroot /mnt
sudo update-grub

Open in new window


But it might be faster to boot from harddisk and enter Grub menu to manually add the nouveau.modeset=0 argument. Then enter a terminal window and use the sudo update-grub command.

Regards, Tobias
0
 

Author Comment

by:BeerFizz
ID: 36512818
Hi Tobias,

Thanks for your help and great responses...

Going to post another question regarding Mac Mini, Linux and Ethernet
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