I've been trying to install Ubuntu 12.04, 13.04 and 13.10 onto my mac mini using every tutorial I could find using dd or even a program similar to UNetbootin for mac, and nothing seems to be working.

I only have the mac option for now so I'm not able to make a bootable USB on windows and every time I try to boot it says isolinux.bin missing or corrupted (except with the other program i don't recall what that error was, it was an early attempt.)

I've now been trying for three weeks and and I have downloaded each Ubuntu many times and checked everyone of then and even installed them in VirtualBox. I'm currently trying to install windows 7 into VirtualBox to start trying from windows, so I'll respond when I do, but why has every attempt of mine failed after checking and rechecking to make sure I do it right, made sure I was dd to the disk and not the partition. Any ideas?

My cdrom doesn't work (kind of) also. It doesn't accept any types of cds besides blanks. so unfortunatly I can't even completely format a new copy of mac without downloading an image from the internet and copying it to a pen drive also. I do have refit, or actually refind which is a continuation of refit because refit isn't maintained anymore. And when I boot and select my flash drive to boot from that's when the screen flashes like any normal boot and throws the error. also I have tried refit. – user162727 24 mins ago

the mac is from 2009, I've even tried installing ubuntu into virtual box and used dd to copy it to the flash drive, also made a backup image via dd of the virtual machine and tried restoring it to my second partition and neither of the two options have worked. giving the same or simalar error.

P.S. I'm only posting this because I've already searched this database and tried everything that I could find and nothing worked.


This question is old but it seems to be viewed a lot so thought i'd post this for anyone who happens across this..

This is for installing Ubuntu 13.10 on mac as the main OS (no refit or refind or dual boots) from an external usb drive, using OSX to prepare the media.

  1. Create two partitions on an external usb drive via Disk Utility. Format them both MS-DOS and name the first BOOT and the second UBUNTU.

  2. Extract the contents of the Ubuntu ISO that you have downloaded. You can use a free program called Keka

  3. Copy (drag and drop) the content of the extracted ISO to your BOOT partition

  4. Use this Ubuntu guide for using dd to create a live disk on your UBUNTU partition.

  5. Reboot and hold down the option key, select EFI Boot and then Install Ubuntu

Essentially all we are doing is creating a partition for you mac to boot from and launch the installer and then a second live media partition that the installer will recognise and use to complete the install.

  • When you make the partitions, I assume we need to dd the ISO/img contents to just a partition (/dev/disk5s2) rather than the entire disk (/dev/disk5) – Evan Mar 5 '14 at 21:13
  • Please note that you must not reboot right after your installation finished, as per Purinda Gunasekara's tutorial he gave in his answer. Otherwise MacMini will not recognize GRUB as default bootloader. – Denis The Menace Jan 14 '16 at 17:41

I had the same sort of problems with the Ubuntu installation and configuration process on Macs (Mac mini to be specific here). I fixed most of the issues I experienced, such as Wireless connectivity and power management, and made a little guide so anyone who is interested can read and comment on it if you got questions...


Update: for Ubuntu 14.04 https://theredblacktree.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/installation-guide-for-linux-mint-17-ubuntu-14-04-on-apple-mac-mini-late-2012/


I have my Mac Mini up and running the best option is always to install REFIT first. It takes care of all of the oddities of booting up an external USB or CD ROM.


When you install refit make sure you reboot twice. Then on the second reboot it will display multiple options to boot. Either your OSX or any external devices it sees.

If however you want to replace OSX totally, which I don't recommend, its best to do it with the external DVD.

I installed 12.04 which works very well.

After thought... I found that when I installed Ubuntu on my MacBook Air there was nothing I could do except buy and external drive and load it that way. Seems Apple have "dongled" the firmware to such an extent that that was the only way. Might be time to get that external drive or fix existing one ;)

  • just updateded it, thanks, I wasn't aware I could update the question. – n0grip May 29 '13 at 13:38

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