This page has been created to discuss the specifics of running Ubuntu 5.10 and later on the Intel-powered line of Apple computers.
With the release of BootCamp for the new Mactel machines, installing Ubuntu should not pose too big a challenge. However, drivers for Apple hardware, including the "Airport" wireless system, will need to be added to the x86 version of Ubuntu, or be available for download on x86 systems.
Response from those in the community who have used Ubuntu on an Intel Mac, or who have just purchased an Intel Mac, should go here and would be appreciated.
GUID partition scheme incompatible?
I got to the partitioner phase with a Breezy disk, but it does not seem to recognize the partition scheme and instead tries to install on my Apple Partition Scheme external drive. -- Ikzann 2006-04-12 21:54:57
Video problems on Dapper
The most recent Dapper disk (today's) boots to the Install to... menu, but then when an option is chosen, it starts syslogd and klogd and then the screen displays a bunch of seemingly random lines and rectangles. -- Ikzann 2006-04-13 01:26:47
Problems on Breezy Live
Tested 5.10 x86 live cd on intel imac 2.0 Ghz with latest firmware. First anomaly, no ubuntu graphic displayed at cd boot loader/config. 2nd anomaly, Optical drive makes very loud noises during access, much louder than OS X access. 3rd Anomaly, X server fails to work at all. The only graphic that actualy appeared was the ubuntu logo during the bootup phase. 4th, Leaving the Live CD, see below.
If you choose to boot from the live cd from within the OS X startup disk preference pane, your mac will not automaticly boot from the HD when you eject the Live CD and reboot. Instead you will get a text error message asking you to insert a boot disk.
The mac EFI bios fails to boot from OS X on HD, manual Boot selection is needed (hold option at boot time, select macintosh HD). Next in OS X open the Startup disk preference pane and pick the HD again. -- robmckinlay 2006-05-15 13:09:00
Intel Macs differ from regular PCs in that they have something called EFI instead of a BIOS. This also implies a different partitioning scheme, GPT instead of the old MBR scheme.
Apple's BootCamp utility adds legacy BIOS support to the EFI firmware and resizes the OSX partition in-place to make room for another OS. The firmware update is not necessary for the non-pro MacBook since it already has legacy BIOS support.
OSX and Linux/Windows can coexist on one disk by having both an MBR partition table and a GPT partition table, which must be kept in sync. This will restrict you to three 'real' partitions, as is explained in http://wiki.onmac.net/index.php/Triple_Boot_via_BootCamp
Work is underway to add EFI/GPT support to Linux, but this is not supported out of the box in the Dapper Drake live cd.
Another issue is that current Linux drivers for the graphics chips used in Intel Macs require a BIOS. The alternative is using a generic unaccelerated driver.
So right now the BootCamp route is the more practical solution, and most of the howtos listed below take that route.
Links to HOWTO's and additional information
A fairly comprehensive howto for installating Ubuntu Dapper on a macbook (possibly also good for the minimac):
The web page of an Ubuntu developer, including a utility for setting the brightness of the backlight of a macbook:
One thread on ubuntuforums (macbook pro installation notes, more links):
Another thread on ubuntuforums (triple-booting macbook pro):
A howto for triple-booting OS X, Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux (iMac and MBP):
A Gentoo-based triple-booting guide on the same site with some additional background:
The next site is mainly for developers:
An overview on the above site of various boot- and install options:
The rEFIt boot loader for Intel Macs: