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I do a lot of scientific programming and data visualization.

My intention is to have a Mac partition, an ubuntu partition, and a free partition should I choose to install Windows 7 later. It would be a bonus to have instructions for that too.

After 3 weeks of combing the web and seeing contradictory advice and approaches, I found this thread and links which look like the most promising and in depth analysis: LINK:askubuntu.com/questions/367254/how-to-upgrade-from-refit-to-refind

I have no valuable contents in my current ubuntu partition, so I am planning on starting from scratch. The current issues I am experiencing are: 1) rEFIt shows a confusing population of "bootable" images despite there being one Mac and one linux partition; 2) I believe I installed grub into my ubuntu partition, and it probably was a mistake; 3) when using ubuntu, sometimes the screen will dim and all interaction fails for ten or so seconds, then the screen will brighten again and interaction returns (BIOS issue?); 4) I attempted to remove the tiny partition at the end of disk multiple times, but it always returned (is this the HFS+ partition?).

What must work when I finish the reinstall in both OSX and ubuntu: 1) wireless network; 2) speakers; 3) camera; 4) gpgpu; 5) thunderbolt monitor and network support; 6) suspend/resume with all devices restored; 7) with ubuntu running, shut lid and have exterior apple icon light turn off;

Here is my intended course of action: 1) destroy all partitions except for the tiny first and last ones and the Mac partition; 2) remove rEFIt or preempt it with rEFInd then remove rEFIt; 3) recreate the two partitions (1. Windows 100G, 2. ubuntu 128G); 4) boot into USB flash with non-MAC ubuntu 13.10. 5) then perform installation.

But here are web-sites that conflict from which I need to choose instructions: 1) LINK:www.betweendots.com/topic/28-how-to-install-ubuntu-on-a-macbook-pro-retina-2013/ 2) LINK:help.ubuntu.com/community/MacBookPro11-1/Saucy avoiding grub; 3) LINK:www.rodsbooks.com/refind/ 3.1) LINK:askubuntu.com/questions/367254/how-to-upgrade-from-refit-to-refind 3.2) LINK:www.rodsbooks.com/linux-uefi/ 3.3) LINK:www.rodsbooks.com/efi-bootloaders/ 3.4) LINK:www.rodsbooks.com/efi-bootloaders/bootrepair.html 3.5) LINK:www.rodsbooks.com/refind/ 3.6) LINK:www.rodsbooks.com/refind/bootmode.html 3.7) LINK:www.rodsbooks.com/refind/using.html

Number 3 has a deep and careful analysis of rEFInd, part of which I have shown as links.

If you were to make an optimal dual boot on my machine, are there any other actions you would suggest? Are there adjustments to the instructions you would make?

I am a bit weak in configuration, and although I've done a lot of research, I feel I need a helping hand getting this just right.

So, here is the question. What is the exact sequence of steps to partition, EFI, and install ubuntu such that I avoid all those little gotchas that plagued me for the last few weeks?

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1 Answer 1

First, if you really meant Ubuntu 12.10, that version reaches end-of-life (EOL) status next month, according to this site. I therefore recommend updating to 13.10, or perhaps even 14.04 LTS (which is in beta-2 now, and will reach final release status next month).

The current issues I am experiencing are: 1) rEFIt shows a confusing population of "bootable" images despite there being one Mac and one linux partition

That's not much to go on. rEFIt shows a description when you highlight any given item, and those descriptions may provide clues about what each entry does. With that information, as well as observations of what happens when you select each entry, you may be able to figure out why there are so many entries and what you can do to remove unwanted ones. (Typically, removing an EFI boot manager file will remove its entry. If they're BIOS-mode entries and you're not booting anything in BIOS mode, you can disable BIOS-mode booting in rEFInd, but I believe not in rEFIt.)

3) when using ubuntu, sometimes the screen will dim and all interaction fails for ten or so seconds, then the screen will brighten again and interaction returns (BIOS issue?)

In recent versions of Ubuntu, this can signal that the system is under heavy load -- a program may be chewing up a lot of CPU time, for instance. I'm not sure with what version this feature was introduced, though, so I'm not sure if it was present in 12.10.

I attempted to remove the tiny partition at the end of disk multiple times, but it always returned (is this the HFS+ partition?).

Partitions vary from one computer to another, so your description is inadequate. If you want to discuss your partitioning scheme, include the output of a partitioning tool, such as gdisk, parted, or GParted. Sometimes the output of other commands can be useful, too, such as df -h or sudo blkid.

What must work when I finish the reinstall in both OSX and ubuntu: 1) wireless network; 2) speakers; 3) camera; 4) gpgpu; 5) thunderbolt monitor and network support; 6) suspend/resume with all devices restored; 7) with ubuntu running, shut lid and have exterior apple icon light turn off;

Each of these is an independent issue. You should ask separate questions about each one -- but be sure to search the site for similar questions first. I suspect that some of them have already been answered.

Here is my intended course of action: 1) destroy all partitions except for the tiny first and last ones and the Mac partition

Without detailed information about your current partitions, I can't comment on the wisdom of that course of action.

But here are web-sites that conflict from which I need to choose instructions

Conflicting advice on different Web sites is the nature of the Internet. I'm the author of some of the pages you referenced (the ones under http://www.rodsbooks.com), so obviously I think they provide useful and accurate information. Note that just because two sites give conflicting advice doesn't mean that either of them is necessarily wrong; it's often possible to achieve a given goal in multiple ways, or one procedure might be optimal for one situation and another might work better for another situation.

What is the exact sequence of steps to partition, EFI, and install ubuntu such that I avoid all those little gotchas that plagued me for the last few weeks?

I'm afraid that I can't answer that question, and in fact, nobody can. You haven't really said what "little gotchas" are bothering you (unless perhaps you're referring to that list of unrelated things you said "must work" -- but those are post-installation issues that don't relate to installation procedures). What's more, you've presented insufficient detail about your current setup. To top it off, whether you know it or not, you're asking for a personalized set of installation instructions for your computer. Macs in particular tend to be quirky; what works on one model fails on the next. Thus, unless somebody has installed precisely the OSes you want to install on your exact model with your exact goals, any step-by-step solutions are likely to fall down somewhere along the line.

I recommend you look over the sites to which you linked and do one (or both) of two things:

  • Come back with more specific questions, such as "will such-and-such a partitioning plan work?" (with detailed existing partitioning information presented) or "will such-and-such a set of boot loaders work?"
  • Try to perform an installation and come back with questions about specific problems you encounter.

I'm sorry if this isn't what you want to hear, but I'm afraid your questions are rather vague and open-ended.

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I am embarassed. I meant 13.10, just as you said. –  jlettvin Mar 31 at 4:42
    
Thank you, Rod. I am embarassed. I meant 13.10, just as you said (hasty save of message). I was hoping to try 14.04 but need experiments to know that my apps work. rEFIt shows duplicate clues (multiple grub entries for the same entry and multiple alternates although there are only two bootable partitions, the current four identical non-MacOS icons all boot to ubuntu). I am eager to replace rEFIt with rEFInd, and I will report what happens. Dimming was in 13.10 not 12.10 (my typo). Yes, I see separate answers but with conflicting contexts. You are right. I was too vague. I'll be back. –  jlettvin Mar 31 at 4:56
    
Multiple GRUB entries could mean that GRUB was installed to multiple partitions by accident, and/or perhaps you've got both BIOS-mode and EFI-mode versions of GRUB installed. –  Rod Smith Apr 1 at 0:08
    
I tried 14.04 but it is unusable since the cuda drivers have a conflict that needs resolution bug, and cuda is a requirement for me. I went back to 13.10 using rEFInd on brand new partitions, which got rid of the rEFIt confusion (thank you). But 13.10 is unusable since the camera is not supported and camera is a requirement. So, my current idea is to wait until 14.04 is fully released and try again. I spent about 6 hours trying to fix the cuda dpkg conflict before I decided to wait. I will return later with the results. –  jlettvin Apr 2 at 1:42
    
You might consider filing a bug on bugs.launchpad.net for your CUDA problem (assuming that's in an Ubuntu package). Bugs don't get fixed magically; they need to be reported as a first step. –  Rod Smith Apr 3 at 0:52

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