Ubuntu – How to burn a bootable install disk that the MacBook Pro can read


I have an old MacBook Pro 2,2 which doesn't run recent OS X versons and I'd like to wipe it and install Ubuntu Studio (ie. not a dual boot situation).

  1. I downloaded the ISO and burned a DVD with Disk Utility but it was
    not recognizable in Mac OS, nor bootable.
  2. I then used "the Unarchiver" to get at the files in the ISO (which Disk Utility doesn't recognize as a valid ISO) and burned all the contents of the folder to a DVD by selecting them all, right clicking on them, and choosing ""Burn 13 items to disk"". This version is readable but not bootable.
  3. Next I tried to use a USB stick, following these directions for Mac OS X. The resulting stick is not recognized from within Mac OS X and also is not bootable.
  4. I've also tried creating a USB stick using UNetbootin but the USB stick is readable on Mac OS X, but when I reboot while holding Option/Alt it doesn't come up as a boot option (just the Harddrive shows, same as #2).
  5. I installed rEFInd to help with booting and the DVDs made above still don't work. (See below for further detail on the rEFInd attempts)

Using rEFInd:

  1. The disk burned in #1 above gives the following screen but nothing is selectable and no keypresses are registered: Select CD-ROM Boot Type
  2. The disk burned in #2 above still doesn't load.
  3. The USB stick in #4 begins to boot and then crashes as follows: Firmware refused to boot from volume

I have yet to try @dsefvonz's suggestion (hopefully tonight) but am also open to any other ideas!

Best Answer

The problem lies in the fact that your mac has a 32 bit efi boot loader and is unable to address 64 bit boot schemes. This means that any 64 bit os will have a 64bit boot loader and so your mac won't be able to see it.

There are two options that I have discovered for my mac pro 1.1. The first is to use unetbootin to put ubuntu on to a usb stick and then head over to plopboot and grab the bootloader iso and burn that to a cd. Place the cd in the drive and then reboot your mac. You will then be given the choice to boot from usb. Select this and then leave the live system to boot, and then install. Note that as of writing Ubuntu 15.10 has a bug, so unetbootin,usb-creator and similar do not successfully work to create the pendrive install. To overcome this, try using gnome-disk-utility and choose to restore an image to the pendrive. I haven't tried this myself (I'm about to now) but there are reports of it working.

The second option is to edit the cd image to change the boot loader files, which I have done with a windows 7 image but haven't yet tried with a ubuntu image. Instructions are here - http://www.jowie.com/select-cd-rom-boot-type.

A third idea springs to mind, which you may have described above - to install from the harddrive, via grub. You might need to install grub first using super grub cd or similar. There is a good article here Install Ubuntu from ISO image directly from hard disk of a system running Linux?

One thing that you will need to watch when ubuntu is installed, is system temperature. Install macfanctld and then edit the config file (/etc/macfanctl.conf) and increase the minimum fan speed to 1200. This consumes more energy but is a safe operating speed for all conditions. Enjoy!