Installing fedora on Mac Book Pro

Fedora 17 provides EFI boot support which makes it possible for us to boot it on Mac. This is a detailed guide on how to install Fedora on your 64 bit Mac Book Pro.

Check if your system is supported

ioreg -l -p IODeviceTree | grep firmware-abi

If this returns “Firmware-abi” = < “EFI64”> then your system is supported.

Dowloading

You need the 64 bit version of fedora 17 (any spin).

Partitioning

Before you install another system you need to partition your Mac HDD to resize your Mac partition and add some extra free space.

1) Open Utilities

Screen Shot 2012-12-19 at 3.33.00 PM


2) Open Disk Utility

Screen Shot 2012-12-19 at 3.33.25 PM

3) Select the “Apple HDD” (The top one in the hierarchy)

Screen Shot 2012-12-19 at 3.33.37 PM

4) Click on partition.

Screen Shot 2012-12-19 at 3.34.34 PM

5) Decrease the size of the Macintosh HD to make some free space.

Screen Shot 2012-12-19 at 3.35.51 PM

6) Click Apply

Building your USB

Unetbootin doesn’t work (atleast for me), you can try but for me the bootloader just hangs in there forever. A simpler method, which actually works, is to make your USB using ‘dd’ command.

1) Get your USB’s Identifier.

Run :

diskutil list

Output:

➜ ~ diskutil list
/dev/disk0
 #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
 0: GUID_partition_scheme *500.1 GB disk0
 1: EFI 209.7 MB disk0s1
 2: Apple_HFS Macintosh HD 399.2 GB disk0s2
 3: Apple_Boot Recovery HD 650.0 MB disk0s3
 4: Apple_HFS untitled 209.7 MB disk0s4
 5: Microsoft Basic Data 524.3 MB disk0s5
 6: Linux LVM 99.3 GB disk0s6
/dev/disk1
 #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
 0: GUID_partition_scheme *4.0 GB disk1
 1: EFI 209.7 MB disk1s1
 2: Microsoft Basic Data MY USB 3.7 GB disk1s2

Note: I have multiple OS’s installed on my Mac already, so your output might differ mine.

My disk’s name is “My USB” and we can infer from the output that its identifier is disk1s2 , which is in the disk /dev/disk1 [This might be different for your system]. Make sure you get this step right!

2) Unmount your USB

diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk1

3) Copy the image onto your USB

su -c "dd if=SOURCE of=/dev/rdisk1 bs=8M"

where SOURCE is the .iso file, and /dev/rdisk1 is your drive.

Notice the r in /dev/rdisk1

Note: This command takes a while and shows nothing on the screen.

Booting

Now, that you have your USB ready, insert it into a slot and boot your mac. As you see the white screen press and hold the “option key”. You should see something like:

IMG_20121219_150610

Select “Fedora”/”Fedora Media” from the list.

IMG_20121219_150623

Now, you should be able to install fedora like you do it in any other system.

Some Issues with Fedora on mac

  • You can’t increase the sensitivity/speed of your trackpad. There is a setting entry for that purpose but that doesn’t seem to work.
  • Your brightness settings and keyboard backlight settings do not get saved. Every time you reboot you need to readjust them.
  • F* key shortcuts (F1, F2 … F12) doesn’t seem to work. That is because they are already booked to do other functions like increasing volume, brightness, backlight etc, and using Fn + F* combos do not seem to work.
  • Your wireless drivers won’t get installed automatically. I had to download mine and install them manually.
  • The bluetooth mouse support is crappy. I have to restart the bluetooth drivers 5-6 times before I get the external mouse connected.

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  1. Hi Aneesh,

    Thanks for posting the instructions for installing Fedora 17 on Mac Book Pro. I tried them for installing on my Mac OS X v 10.6.8 and ran into the following error:

    Vals-MacBook-Pro-2:~ val$ su -c dd bs=8M if=/Users/val/Desktop/Fedora-17-x86_64-Live-Desktop.iso of=/dev/disk2
    su: illegal option — c
    usage: su [-] [-flm] [login [args]]

    Do you have any suggestions on how to go around it?

    I also tried:

    Vals-MacBook-Pro-2:~ val$ su val -c “dd if=/Users/val/Desktop/Fedora-17-x86_64-Live-Desktop.iso of=/dev/disk2s1 bs=8M”
    Password:

    ^C0+0 records in
    0+0 records out
    0 bytes transferred in 367.510214 secs (0 bytes/sec)
    Vals-MacBook-Pro-2:~ val$

    In this case after waiting for a long time and quitting with Ctrl-C notting gets copied on the USB stick:-(

    Hope you might have some useful suggestions.

    Best regards,

    Val

  2. Hi

    Does dual boot work? We dont need rEFLT? I got till resizing the HDD but got a little spooked after that because the mac started acting a little funny (hanging suddenly and so on)

    Thanks
    Anup

  3. @Anup: I don’t think so. I think mac’s EFI boot manager is more than enough for our needs. I only know about Mac Book Pro late 2011 edition, but I think it should be the case in all Mac Book Pro’s as EFI boot hasn’t really been changed in Mac.

    Plus, regarding the HDD partition, I can’t reckon how that could cause any problems.

  4. I got the -c illegal option error as well. To work around it, first I executed the command:
    > su –
    to switch to root user. You have to enter your root password, if a root account has not been enabled follow the steps on this knowledge base article http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1528.
    Next, I executed the command inside the quotes but without the quotes
    > dd if=SOURCE of=/dev/rdisk1 bs=8M
    I ran into some trouble with the bs option. After some googling I found that the the M should be lowercase. The final command I executed was:
    > dd if=SOURCE of=/dev/rdisk1 bs=8m
    The final output was:
    111+1 records in
    111+1 records out
    932184064 bytes transferred in 184.745156 secs (5045784 bytes/sec)

    The output’s symmetry is suspect, but I am hopeful it worked.

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  6. Hello, thank you for this info. Well I also had the same problem with the su – command, it didn’t work for me. So I turned into root with su, and then tried without “”, :
    dd if=/Users/me/Desktop/Fedora-15-x86_64-DVD.iso of=/dev/rdisk1 bs=8m

    But when I reboot holding option (or alt )key down ( I have the old macbook with snow leopard) my USB is not shown in the menu. I am pretty sure the file was properly copied. In my USB if I mount it after logging in, I see the files of FEDORA. Do you think the problem is that I want to do this with Fedora 15? I also tried refit software, and I get the same thing. I also tried this method http://www.zebpedersen.co.uk/?p=962
    but my disk was destroyed and now even recognizable. The main problem is that the disk can’t be properly configured to boot form there. Do I need to force my mac boot from USB, and how? Please give me any suggestion ! Will be much appreciated !

    Thank you in advance Aneesh !

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  10. Aneesh,

    I don’t know if you have time to answer random questions from people on the net, but I am having trouble installing Fedora on my Mac Pro. I ran your inquiry on Terminal to ee if my computer is compatible and this (including the inquiry)is what I got: Macintosh:~ jimlesire$ ioreg -l -p IODeviceTree | grep firmware-abi
    | | “firmware-abi” =
    This looks to me like I have a 32 bit system, not 64, even though the computer say it’s a 64. Is this a problem I can or should fix?

  11. After I reboot the mac and enter fedora media, I keeps having this trouble:
    Warning: could not boot
    Warning: /dev/…..Fedora…. does not exist

    Starting Dracut emergency Shell