Monday, November 30, 2009

Installing Ubuntu 9.10 on an iMac

Fired up after the Open Source Developer's conference in Brisbane, I decided to try dual booting my recent iMac with Ubuntu 9.10 and MacOS X.

Boot camp assistant lets you resize the Mac partition down a bit to make way for a "Windows" partition.

boot camp partitioner.png

Then I inserted the Ubuntu installer CD and rebooted. Up comes the familiar Ubuntu installer.

ubuntu on imac.jpg

The partitioner knows about MacOS and the only glitch was that the partition slider acts a little strangely. Nothing bad happened though.


As with my last install, it took a long time downloading language files for Australia but in the end it finished and my first reboot ended in a pretty crash.


In the end all is well and I can boot into either MacOS or Ubuntu by holding the Option key at boot. Choosing "Windows" gives me the Grub boot menu which I notice offers MacOS X (haven't tried booting that way yet).

Normally I run Linux on a netbook where it works nicely thankyou. Switching between MacOS and Ubuntu on the same hardware makes me appreciate what a polished OS MacOS is. It's silly, I know, but the fonts are just better on the Mac and that makes a difference to me.

Ubuntu on iMac for me doesn't reboot cleanly for some reason but otherwise things work, including my Bluetooth Magic Mouse (although no right-click or scroll).


Kaos2K said...

Hi. I found your blog via Google.

I will buy an iMac 27" (200) this holidays and i want to do a triple-boot configuration with Mac OSX, Windows 7 and Ubuntu. I know that it is possible in the Mac mini (There are tutorials). Do you think i will have problems doing the same in de iMac?

At least i want to install Ubuntu if a triple-boot configuration it's not possible.

jamesey said...

didnt you have to install rEFIt first?

Peter B Marks said...

No, I didn't use rEFIt, I'm not sure what it would do for me.

Incidentally, in the GRUB menu I see MacOS but it won't actually boot if chosen.

m26k9 said...

Thank you for this.
I was looking for a tutorial on installing Ubuntu 9.10 on a new iMac 27".

Could you please tell me which I cannot expect to work right after the install. Does LAN and sound work?

Also apart from partitioning with Boot camp did you do anything else in OS X before installing Ubuntu? LIke installing rEFIt?

Thank you?

Peter B Marks said...

Lan and sound both work.

I read some stuff about EFI but never installed or needed it.

m26k9 said...

Thank you a lot for that Peter.
I read many having problems getting that massive 2560 resolution.

Are you using the proprietary ATI driver? also did you try going back OSX and if it works?

Thanks heaps Peter.

Peter B Marks said...

No special driver. I'm getting 1920 x 1200 which is what a 24" iMac does, you lucky person with the 27" sorry can't help you there.

I just noticed that there's no sound. Bluetooth works (even to a Magic Mouse - with right click!).

No wireless device is showing.

m26k9 said...

Thanks again Peter. That helps a lot.
I hope I can get full resolution with ATI drivers.. I am guessing LAN is still working. No sounds could be a problem as I am going to use to the machine for Ubuntu..
Will comment back with my results.

Thanks Peter.

Peter B Marks said...

Yes, LAN is working!

Please do let us know how you go.

Julien said...

Did you manage to get the sound working ??

I am curious. drop me a line if you di d!

m26k9 said...

As for me I did not get sound working but I actually did not try harder. There seems to be a way to get it working with new ALSA drivers. But it doesn't work right out of installation. Basically everything else do.

Kaos2K said...

Sound is working. Solution here:

Kaos2K said...

Sound working. Solution here:

Peter B Marks said...

Wow, thanks! I'll give that a try.

m26k9 said...

Thanks Kaos2K. That seems simple enough.

Julien said...

man, good for you guys.. still not working on my imac24 !!! I tried all the possible models different in modprobe.

arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! Ubuntu you suck!!

m26k9 said...

Julien, I know this is not the solution you are looking for, but how about you plug in a small USB-audio adapter? They are really cheap and I think it would work. I use one with a Gateway laptop. It came with Vista but I put XP on it and couldn't get sound to work. So I just plugged in one of those USB-adapters and worked without a problem. I love working on Ubuntu on the iMac.. For some reason Ubntu looks much better on it than Mac OS.. :-)