I have an old MacBook Pro 2,2 which doesn't run recent OS X versons and I'd like to wipe it and install Ubuntu Studio (ie. not a dual boot situation).

  1. I downloaded the ISO and burned a DVD with Disk Utility but it was not recognizable in Mac OS, nor bootable.
  2. I then used "the Unarchiver" to get at the files in the ISO (which Disk Utility doesn't recognize as a valid ISO) and burned all the contents of the folder to a DVD by selecting them all, right clicking on them, and choosing ""Burn 13 items to disk"". This version is readable but not bootable.
  3. Next I tried to use a USB stick, following these directions for Mac OS X. The resulting stick is not recognized from within Mac OS X and also is not bootable.
  4. I've also tried creating a USB stick using UNetbootin but the USB stick is readable on Mac OS X, but when I reboot while holding Option/Alt it doesn't come up as a boot option (just the Harddrive shows, same as #2).
  5. I installed rEFInd to help with booting and the DVDs made above still don't work. (See below for further detail on the rEFInd attempts)

Using rEFInd:

  1. The disk burned in #1 above gives the following screen but nothing is selectable and no keypresses are registered: Select CD-ROM Boot Type
  2. The disk burned in #2 above still doesn't load.
  3. The USB stick in #4 begins to boot and then crashes as follows: Firmware refused to boot from volume

I have yet to try @dsefvonz's suggestion (hopefully tonight) but am also open to any other ideas!

  • If you have additional details, edit them into your question. Oct 30, 2015 at 17:52

3 Answers 3


The problem lies in the fact that your mac has a 32 bit efi boot loader and is unable to address 64 bit boot schemes. This means that any 64 bit os will have a 64bit boot loader and so your mac won't be able to see it.

There are two options that I have discovered for my mac pro 1.1. The first is to use unetbootin to put ubuntu on to a usb stick and then head over to plopboot and grab the bootloader iso and burn that to a cd. Place the cd in the drive and then reboot your mac. You will then be given the choice to boot from usb. Select this and then leave the live system to boot, and then install. Note that as of writing Ubuntu 15.10 has a bug, so unetbootin,usb-creator and similar do not successfully work to create the pendrive install. To overcome this, try using gnome-disk-utility and choose to restore an image to the pendrive. I haven't tried this myself (I'm about to now) but there are reports of it working.

The second option is to edit the cd image to change the boot loader files, which I have done with a windows 7 image but haven't yet tried with a ubuntu image. Instructions are here - http://www.jowie.com/select-cd-rom-boot-type.

A third idea springs to mind, which you may have described above - to install from the harddrive, via grub. You might need to install grub first using super grub cd or similar. There is a good article here Install Ubuntu from ISO image directly from hard disk of a system running Linux?

One thing that you will need to watch when ubuntu is installed, is system temperature. Install macfanctld and then edit the config file (/etc/macfanctl.conf) and increase the minimum fan speed to 1200. This consumes more energy but is a safe operating speed for all conditions. Enjoy!

  • Thanks! I am running after going the long way around (my answer) but will mark yours so folks in a similar situation can start here. And thanks for the tip about the fan!
    – Laryn
    Nov 23, 2015 at 12:53

Which ISO did you try? I think only the x86_64 is efi bootable.

Installed 15.10 from usb on a MacBookPro5.3 recently - everything except wifi and the nvidia 9400M, 9600M GT combo worked. Had to boot with nomodeset to get unaccelerated graphics to work (accelerated works with nvidia drivers).

  • I downloaded the 64-bit ISO but my Mac doesn't recognize it as a valid ISO, hence all the hoops jumped through above. I can't even get to the live boot demo, let alone the install screen yet. :)
    – Laryn
    Oct 30, 2015 at 22:03
  • Try to skip Step 3. in the usb guide link
    – dsefvonz
    Oct 30, 2015 at 22:14
  • Thanks I will give it a try as soon as I get a chance and let you know
    – Laryn
    Oct 31, 2015 at 0:44

So since my computer seemed to have problems both creating a bootable DVD and booting from the USB although the UNetBootin stick seemed to be valid), I think I've found a solution as follows:

  • Partition Mac Harddrive with an additional small partition for the installer (FAT), a new partition for Ubuntu (FAT), and leaving Mac OS X on one partition (this wasn't part of the initial plan, but maybe good for future firmware updates)
  • Unmount USB stick, then copy the UNetBootin USB stick over to the installer partition using dd
  • Reboot and now I have a penguin showing up in the rEFInd menu and can boot to the Ubuntu Live CD.

For more in depth on how to do this, check this answer.

I haven't installed yet or tested whether wifi or anything else works but those are other questions now that I can at least boot to Ubuntu! (And if things are working well after installing on the partition, perhaps in the future I can burn a bootable DVD from within Ubuntu and install over the whole harddrive rather than a smaller partition)

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