iMac i3 running 10.6.8

  1. I've downloaded the 12.0.4 32-bit Intel ubuntu.iso and converted it to ubuntu.img and moved to root.

  2. The "USB for OS X" instructions say insert USB Flash media.

    My flash media is FAT32.

    But, if one were to use Disk Utility to Erase, what format is correct: FAT, ExFAT, Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitivity), or Mac OS Extended?

  3. Found the drive: /dev/disk1 and unmounted OK.

  4. Issued: sudo dd if=/ubuntu.img of=/dev/rdisk1 bs=1m

  5. The copy goes fine, BUT at the end I get a OS X message that The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer.

    This is not in the Ubuntu instructions. So, I choose the Ignore option.

  6. Issued: diskutil eject /dev/disk1 and restart with Option held down.

    No USB drive shows up to boot from. Eventually I get an "Unrecognized Disk" error. I'm not surprised because my memory is that to get a bootable drive for a Mac requires some version of the correct OS X to be on the disk.

    Yet, the folks who wrote these instructions would certainly know this fact -- yet their instructions don't work.

  • There are various instructions for USB Mac installs scattered over the Ubuntu website. They are not consistent. A couple are kinda right in giving a procedure that is known to work (basically dd'ing the iso from the USB onto a partition on the hard drive and booting off that), but it's known to only work sometimes. Use your optical drive. That's my advice to you. You will save yourself a lot of time and frustration. May 1 '12 at 8:59
  • So following the instructions "use CD" I again downloaded12.0.4 32-bit Intel ubuntu.iso. As instructed I inserted blank CD.
    – DVC
    May 1 '12 at 11:36
  • Sorry. I'll try again. Following the instructions "use CD" I again downloaded the 12.0.4 32-bit Intel ubuntu.iso. As instructed, I inserted blank CD. Dragged .iso into OS X Disk Utility and burned it to the CD and re-started with C held-down. Nope! Back to OS X. The CD is full of non-Mac "stuff" like .inf and .exe files so I don't see how it could boot. Seems like the DOWNLOAD section should have a way to select a Mac download because this .iso seems like it is for Windows.
    – DVC
    May 1 '12 at 12:06
  • Re-reading the OS X USB and CD instructions, it is certainly possible to interpret the instructions as only saying how to create a drive that HAS Ubuntu. It doesn't actually say the drive can be booted on a Mac. Are there instructions that get v12.04 to boot on a iMac? (Or, boot via a Windows running under Bootcamp.) One alternative would be to boot the CD on a Windows system and follow the instructions at: mac.linux.be/content/….
    – DVC
    May 1 '12 at 12:29
  • Hi DVC. The iso you downloaded is not actually Windows specific but will not play nice with Macs. If you go to this page you'll see some links for Mac versions. Unfortunately (and I asked) it doesn't seem like they are available yet. I don't know when the links will work. May 1 '12 at 20:30

Spent half the day on this but finally have a solution: The application unetbootin will quite happily open up the iso file, extract everything and create a bootable USB stick.

Select your distribution and version

  • 4
    Was the USB flash drive you created with UNetbootin actually bootable on a mac? UNetbootin's official site says otherwise. Under Requirements: "Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7, or Linux, or Mac OS X 10.5+. Note that resulting USB drives are bootable only on PCs (not on Macs)." Mar 21 '13 at 20:43
  • No I was not trying to boot a mac with the drive, I was creating it for another machine, didn't try booting the mac off it sorry.
    – Duncanmoo
    Mar 25 '13 at 10:31

I'm actually not surprised Ubuntu's instructions don't work for creating a bootbale USB for Mac. I thought about it some more and eventually figured out that these instructions were to create the bootable drive if you're using a Mac computer, and I know this because in Disk Utility, my 4 gigabyte Verbatim USB flash drive is formatted as MS DOS (FAT) with a partitioning map scheme of Master Boot Record which is not recognized as boot media under OS X. So in short, the instructions are severely misleading, because any Mac user would likely assume these instructions would be for creating the bootable media to work with OS X, but it'd only work with Windows. What gives it away even more is Ubuntu's lack of regards for making the USB bootable through your operating system's native partitioning program, ergo, Disk Utility or Computer Management for Windows users. At first I thought it was because they made the assumption you would know how to make the drive bootable (I didn't) but then I figured out why the guide was sorely lacking... Terminal does all the work for you. So I've since given up in making my USB bootable, it's clear that Mac computers are very closed sourced as far as software and hardware goes, Linux was always meant for PC computers, not Macs.


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