Sign up ×
Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free.

I'm running Mac OSX 10.6.8, have NO intention of moving to 10.7 or 10.8, since Apple is turning the platform into a "toy" system with too many restrictions.

So, for the past 8 months or so, I've been doing some exploratory "tunneling" to try to escape this---Ubuntu LOOKS pretty good, (running the web-based demo...) and I've even gotten it to install and run in a "virtual machine" [Oracle-VirtualBox].

it cannot "touch" the Mac hardware. So, I have no access to the NVIDIA card I've put into my MacPro, in the hope of accessing it, and it's "CUDA" GPU-parallel processing, to do rendering in BLENDER... Apple "of course" has disavowed NVIDIA, and there are no OSX drivers for NVIDIA cards... Hence my need to "natively" boot LINUX (Ubuntu, or any other "distro" that WILL boot my hardware)...

Does anybody have a working "recipe" on how to get rEFIt to work properly? (I'm a total idiot/newbie with command-line "stuff")

Or, is there a GUI-based "patch" that exists, that I can apply to fix this boot-loader related problem?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

That is definetely going to be a difficult process. Here is some information that may help you :

Installing Ubuntu on a Mac Pro (fetched from )

  • It is strongly suggested to use the Ubuntu 64 bits version (AMD64) to benefit from the full installed memory. Using the 32 bits will limit the memory to less than 3 Gb. The normal installation has been working seemlessly for a MacPro3,1 with Hardy (8.04 LTS), Jaunty (9.04) and Karmic (9.10).
  • The regular 64-bit Ubuntu CDs have trouble booting on older Intel Macs, such as MacPro1,1, due to EFI incompatibilities. You must download a special +mac CD of Ubuntu to work-around this problem. For 11.04, you can get it here: If you try to use a regular 64-bit Ubuntu CD on such systems, you may get the following blocking message while trying to boot off the CD:
  • 1. 2. Select CD-ROM Boot type:
  • **WARNING:** It is important to install the Grub boot loader on the Ubuntu partition (e.g. /dev/sda3), instead of the default disk root. This is done by selecting the Advanced options after partitioning and before the actual installation. By default, Ubuntu installs the GRUB boot loader on the disk root (e.g. dev/sda). This does modify the EFI and GUID boot loader, which then potentially removes your Mac OSX boot.... :( You must specify a partition for GRUB installation, e.g. /dev/sda3 ***Features & Support status:*** Sensors(Temps & fans) - Works out of the box Reboot - works out of the box Video & Effects (Compiz) - needs manual install HFS|HFS+ (only read) - works out of the box CDDVD|CD/DVD Writing - works out of the box Bluetooth|Bluetooth - works, with remarks Keyboard functions (Brightness,volume,...) - works, with remarks Ethernet - works, with remarks Wireless - works out of the box Sound - needs manual install Firewire - not yet documented
  • **Quick Install Quide:** Note: The best version of Ubuntu to use is 10.04.2, as 10.10 has issues with PulseAudio. 1. Get a wired USB keyboard and mouse to make the install easy. Before you install Ubuntu, if you have OSX running it is strongly advised that you use system updates to insure that your various firmwares are up to date (bluetooth,wifi,EFI). In particular your EFI firmware must be the latest version. See 2. When you power on hold down the left mouse button as soon as hearing the chime sound until the CD drive opens. Drop in Ubuntu 10.04.2 / 64bit / desktop edition. Reboot, and this time hold the "c" key down after the chime sound to boot from the CD in the drive. 3. Boot into the live CD at the option screen. Not the install option. 4. Go to Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal. Then type
    sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda
    This will delete all your files and your operating system currently on your hard drive. Since we only want to wipe the first few hundred MB of data at the beginning of the drive wait 2 minutes, then press Ctrl-C. The output should show how much of the drive was 'zeroed' or wiped, which gives you an indication of the transfer speed of that drive BTW. 5. Go to System -> Administration -> gparted Now, Device -> New Partition Table. Select msdos partition and press OK. This gives the BIOS on the Mac Pro a partition table it can boot from. If you don't do this, your new install will not boot when complete. 6. Finally double click the install button on the desktop. Select manual partitioning when the option comes up during the install. Click free space -> Add -> select the filesystem type as reiser or ext4 (your preference, google it, reiser is better for most) and the mountpoint is "/" without the commas. Click OK and continue and ignore the message about no swap partition, most are better off without it. 7. Start by setting up your wifi / network connection (network manager icon top right). The next thing you should do is System -> Administration -> Update Manager and install all of the updates and then reboot. Next go to System -> Administration -> Hardware Drivers and install all of the closed source drivers for graphics cards and such. It is best to install restricted drivers for network and wifi cards last of all. Reboot after this also. If you want the restricted video codecs so you can play all media go to System -> Administration -> Synaptic. Quick search for restricted. Right click ubuntu-restricted-extras and mark for installation. Click Apply on the top bar. 8. To enable the sound on the headphone jack on the back facing side of the machine Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal. Now type
     sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf
    and scroll to the end of the file and add the line:
    options snd-hda-intel model=imac24
    Save and reboot. From here on the Mac Pro will run like any other Ubuntu install. Done.
  • **Keyboard** Beware to specify the Macintosh keyboard layout during installation. Using the Mac Aluminium keyboard may cause troubles. If you ever switch to NumLock and your keyboard goes crazy Tongue out :-? press the F6 key for 1-2 secs. Multimedia keys (F7-F12 for basck/forward/volume control) and Eject keys work out of the box.
  • **Video** By default, the Vesa driver will be installed from the Ubuntu CD. This works OK. However, if you wish to speed-up display efficiency, and access 3D acceleration for e.g. OpenGL and Compiz, you should install the ad-hoc video driver. The MacPro3,1 ATI card is an ATI XT2600HD. There are lots of artifacts. Using ATI drivers. During boot, the splash screen has a bunch of white flickering pixels. Usually, the menu System/Administration/Hardware drivers should do well in most cases. Alternatively, you may try to install the required drivers using EnvyNG, which comes as a set of packages in the universe repositories: envyng-core, envyng-qt, envyng-gtk. (X) WARNING: on Karmic, the ATI driver installation crashes the machine ; this can only be fixed by removing the radeon drivers, and returning to the default vesa driver. In a few words, avoid installing the proprietary drivers for the ATI card under Karmic. The only way to install the driver is to use EnvyNG. The nvidia v180 drivers installed and worked fine for X, but the console will be flaky unless you build "vesafb" into the kernel and use a boot option that provides 1024x768 resolution
  • **Bluetooth** The Apple bluetooth module in the Mac Pro works without issue under Ubuntu 10.04. However at boot the following error message is displayed and logged since the module connects to the USB bus. kernel 2.6.32-24-generic : [ 5.522591] hub 5-1:1.0: unable to enumerate USB device on port 3
  • **Sound** For the HDA Realtek ALC885/intel sound, the default installation does not enable sound output. An easy solution is to edit: sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf and add at the end: options snd-hda-intel model=imac24 This is the only option that works. Other model=macpro is not effective. Currently Only the back sound output port is working properly. The front audio port does not output at full volume. Better than nothing :)) .
  • **Ethernet** A few ethernet issues have been reported (see below). Beware there are 2 ethernet plugs.
  • **Wifi** Wifi Automatic installation The Wifi card is a BCM 4328. It is usually well detected from the Administration/Hardware Drivers which should see a Broadcom STA wireless driver. It seems the SSB module may require to be unactivated in some cases, e.g. with sudo modprobe -r ssb sudo modprobe wl then add wl at the end of file /etc/modules Wifi Manual installation from Broadcom Manual install can be done using Broadcom proprietary drivers and following the README. Wifi Manual installation using ''Ndiswrapper'' Alternative is to use NdisWrapper wget mkdir driver unzip -a R151517.EXE -d driver/ cd driver/DRIVER/ sudo ndiswrapper -i bcmwl5.inf sudo ndiswrapper -l sudo ndiswrapper -m sudo modprobe ndiswrapper then add ndiswrapper at the end of /etc/modules Create file /etc/init.d/ndiswrapper with content: ### BEGIN INIT INFO # Provides: ndiswrapper # Required-Start: # Required-Stop: # Default-Start: S # Default-Stop: # Short-Description: enable to load ndiswrapper # Description: enable to load ndiswrapper ### END INIT INFO rmmod ohci_hcd rmmod ssb rmmod ndiswrapper modprobe ndiswrapper modprobe ssb modprobe ohci_hcd ############# end file ############ Make it executable and start it as a boot process service with sudo chmod 755 /etc/init.d/ndiswrapper sudo ln -s /etc/init.d/ndiswrapper /etc/rc2.d/S99ndiswrapper
  • **Other related links**:

Related questions:

Good luck!

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.