Linux DVD images (and how-to) for 32-bit EFI Macs (late 2006 models)

Some time ago, Apple Mail on my white MacBook stopped communicating with gmail. As I recall, it was some error message that translated to “your mail client is horribly old and uses outdated security protocols“. Unfortunate, because OS X Snow Leopard was my favorite version of OS X. Anyway, I decided it was time to throw Linux on it.

At the time, I was having trouble getting the latest 64-bit Linux distro DVDs to boot. Eventually I came across ubuntu-14.04.3-desktop-amd64+mac.iso which actually did boot and install. Unfortunately, these mac-specific images seem to have fallen by the wayside as of late.

I figured it was time to look for a method to get this stuff running.

Before reading further: Make sure you’re in the same boat!

To be clear, this applies to the 64-bit Macs that use a 32-bit EFI. These tend to be all of the Core2Duo models from late 2006. More specifically:

  • iMac 5,1 – iMac 5,2 – iMac 6,1
  • Macbook 2,1
  • MacBook Pro 2,1 – MacBook Pro 2,2
  • Mac Pro 1,1
  • Xserve 1,1 (maybe)

If you’ve got an earlier Mac which is a CoreDuo (not a Core2Duo), it can’t run 64-bit anyway. If you’re on a later Mac, you’ve probably got a 64-bit EFI so most 64-bit Linux distros should install and run.

If you’re on some other (non-Mac) 64-bit machine that uses a 32-bit EFI, well… I have no idea. It could be worth a try.

Note that the MacBook Air 1,1 doesn’t have a DVD drive which makes things more complicated.

64-bit DVD Images for the 32-bit EFI models listed above

Warning: You’re best to skip below and create the disk image yourself. For all you know, I could be a botnet kingpin and you could be downloading the Botnet Linux 16.04 ISO. Or maybe the actual botnet kingpin hacked their way into the server and quietly replaced my ISO with their own. Beyond that, it’s also going to be really helpful for you to understand what problem you’re actually solving so that when new versions of your favorite distro come out in the future that you want disk images for, you’re capable of effortlessly handling it on your own.

I originally started with Ubuntu 16.04 and Fedora 24 which were modified to boot on your 64-bit-with-32-bit-EFI Mac. Both were tested on my MacBook. Since then I’ve added more distributions due to requests but have left it to others to test them (check the comments section).

If you want another distribution, leave a comment and I’ll try to create the image and put it up (you’re the one who gets to test it though). Keep in mind that while it only takes a couple minutes to do, the cost of server diskspace and bandwidth is a factor for me here – I can’t offer every version of every distro out there.
64-bit Linux ISO for Mac with 32-bit EFI

Fedora 26 Workstation Live (64-bit Mac) – 1.5 GB ( md5: 8ab82f48647f47c737b8a2a18d498ae4 )

Fedora 25 Workstation Live (64-bit Mac) – 1.4 GB ( md5: 80a6c458bf255e46f22ac984303aad14 )

Fedora 24 Workstation Live (64-bit Mac) – 1.5 GB ( md5: 964626a09f2ce01b15c2a79153d46323 )

Ubuntu 17.10 Desktop (64-bit Mac) – 1.4 GB ( md5: 967d3139b9324ead05e3b37588f89b00 )

Kubuntu 17.10 (KDE) (64-bit Mac) – 1.7 GB ( md5: 1eb608d1c5645f4cbd5338f3f13cf0ac )

Lubuntu 17.10 (LXDE) (64-bit Mac) – 921 MB ( md5: aac5644925e1dd63d701187ff6b37728 )

Ubuntu 17.10 MATE (64-bit Mac) – 1.7 GB ( md5: 2846987a22b3598991b976e53e3ccbbc )

Xubuntu 17.10 (XFCE) (64-bit Mac) – 1.3 GB ( md5: ff761516c1bae958bd7e9d939a2548b7 )

Ubuntu 17.10 Budgie (64-bit Mac) – 1.4 GB ( md5: 17f80a22bd1e493b3b70ef08056a7568 )

Ubuntu 17.04 Desktop (64-bit Mac) – 1.5 GB ( md5: 2d243f7107b370d237f93047561e2937 )

Ubuntu 17.04 Server (64-bit Mac) – 685 MB ( md5: 202bef97c940a8385113be052586371a )

Ubuntu 17.04 MATE (64-bit Mac) – 1.6 GB ( md5: 08648e4a4bea50272067267d2ec8aab3 )

Ubuntu 17.04 GNOME (64-bit Mac) – 1.5 GB ( md5: 4cdbdbae34263cd72bdb2a3179baea2b )

Lubuntu 17.04 (LXDE) (64-bit Mac) – 912 MB ( md5: 744e4f345b44edf9d0473d0d468f6c22 )

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Desktop (64-bit Mac) – 1.4 GB ( md5: f823cbabdd624c8394f7927e501807de )

Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS Server (64-bit Mac) – 829 MB ( md5: 197d8b37dee34c7f9cd112cff1f4a732 )

Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS MATE (64-bit Mac) – 1.6 GB ( md5: 0a01e852977efe38043dd101baf39ef1 )

Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS GNOME (64-bit Mac) – 1.3 GB ( md5: c321e8b5c48bff54990c7712c8d23908 )

openSUSE Leap 42.2 (64-bit Mac) – 4.1 GB ( md5: e1e2b259bc8168406187349e6bd1a4d2 )

openSUSE Leap 42.1 (64-bit Mac) – 4.4 GB ( md5: d3795bd2b648d49706c6148ba1d21def )

Note: If you previously downloaded a “live-9.0.0” image, you should download the “live-9.0.1” version below, as it addresses this LiveDVD bug which prevented installation.

Debian Stretch 9.0.1 Live Cinnamon (64-bit Mac) – 2.0 GB ( md5: ab3ba1cb0f345f5fbd96fcdcae9d6bb3 )

Debian Stretch 9.0.1 Live Gnome (64-bit Mac) – 2.2 GB ( md5: 1f0414742aca74925f0fdb5c3fe94316 )

Debian Stretch 9.0.1 Live KDE (64-bit Mac) – 2.5 GB ( md5: b9432b8622e7c415b459ce854c271b43 )

Debian Stretch 9.0.1 Live LXDE (64-bit Mac) – 1.9 GB ( md5: 1a80ac278546127a08365c3782f3b70a )

Debian Stretch 9.0.1 Live MATE (64-bit Mac) – 1.9 GB ( md5: 942804b5a5e3e587fe5ae5912310a4dd )

Debian Stretch 9.0.1 Live XFCE (64-bit Mac) – 1.9 GB ( md5: 844ad46528befbb578e36bfcceac30ab )

Debian Stretch 9.0.0 non-free including firmware Net Installer (64-bit Mac) – 324 MB ( md5: ee0b5c0af257d1a6dee85620bd92e745 )

Debian Stretch 9.0.0 non-free including firmware DVD (64-bit Mac) – 3.6 GB ( md5: ff2aaff60c344fe8931e3aa3a7247602 )

Debian Jesse 8.7.1 non-free including firmware Net Installer (64-bit Mac) – 266 MB ( md5: 03edd1786823a32da5f6d281615e2b92 )

Note: If you’re able and willing to use a “netinst” installer, and without the non-free firmware,
Debian provides an official debian-mac-x.x.x-amd64-netinst.iso which can be found at

Linux Mint 18.2 KDE “Sonya” (64-bit Mac) – 1.9 GB ( md5: c26c22270fc36402d697685441e53c9c )

Linux Mint 18.1 Cinnamon “Serena” (64-bit Mac) – 1.7 GB ( md5: f5e671d5f5eb5a6ae1c1b508ab0d9bf2 )

Linux Mint 18.1 XFCE “Serena” (64-bit Mac) – 1.7 GB ( md5: abac6584ebca00e9b8d9cd4ef7810f6e )

Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon “Sarah” (64-bit Mac) – 1.6 GB ( md5: 43a6b48bd844ef3620f768863a2d17ea )

Korora 25 Live Gnome (64-bit Mac) – 2.2 GB ( md5: 94b9c5581c6652d9bb247188e9f8371c )

Korora 25 Live Xfce (64-bit Mac) – 2.1 GB ( md5: 8784dc32e79d69da8fe60c2569d08c17 )

Korora 25 Live MATE (64-bit Mac) – 2.2 GB ( md5: 3f6fd446d9dba673160589f7bd889c2d )

Solus 2017.04.18.0 Budgie (64-bit Mac) – 1.2 GB ( md5: 43ac66d7de4c8854f4b56c89faea31dd )

Arch Linux 2017.05.01 (64-bit Mac) – 481 MB ( md5: 69682db7085bebabb5dcb4a038a9e4c3 )

Manjaro XFCE 17.0.5 (64-bit Mac) – 1.6 GB ( md5: 223583b52cac07a329b36546f65730ac )

CentOS 7 DVD (64-bit Mac) – 4.1 GB ( md5: d5baaee01ab9d64c5a88c779a711cd78 )

CentOS 7 Minimal (64-bit Mac) – 680 MB ( md5: da06627fe82cd6a828325b0241bb73bc )

Elementary OS 0.4 (64-bit Mac) – 1.3 GB md5: 280d814c80699cc2d06618c5870c6784 )

Elementary OS 0.3.2 (64-bit Mac) – 1.1 GB ( md5: 3ce983db17349f204379e066d3898dc3 )

Slacko64 Puppy Linux 6.3.2 (64-bit Mac) – 238 MB ( md5: a531e3bf50ac9c82f925dcec8459c436 )

Parrot Security OS / ParrotSec (64-bit Mac) – 3.6 GB ( md5: f77a3b8224f3c75ba7a150a35aa10ebd )

Kali Linux Light 2016.2 (64-bit Mac) – 1.1 GB ( md5: 20bc41b6abcc7487d26edd994d09bf4a )
Note: To upgrade to Kali Linux Full run “apt-get -y install kali-linux-full” after install.
Note 2: One of the comments indicates this ISO may not be working correctly. If you try Kali, please leave a comment to confirm whether or not it works for you.

PCLinuxOS KDE5 2017.03 (64-bit Mac) – 1.4 GB ( md5: e9b11ef4628381de3499d3a58050497a )


  • Burn to a DVD. I don’t believe it’ll work via USB (though you could try I suppose). Hold the “option” key on your Mac during boot and select the image. It might be detected as “Windows” or something by the boot menu.
  • When you format/install, you’re best to use MBR for the hard drive (not GPT). Most distros will automatically use MBR as part of their “auto format/install” when you use these disk images, but if you do some custom partitioning, you’ll want to keep an eye out.
  • I haven’t tested to see if it works with a dual-boot system. The MBR bit might cause complications here.
  • If you redistribute the images, please either leave the “” bit in the file name or replace it with something that clearly indicates it isn’t an official ISO. That way if there are problems with it, people won’t think it’s an official ISO that’s broken.

If you’d like to help offset the bandwidth costs, note that I do have a game on Steam called Alarameth TD. And yes, it supports Linux (linux-specific notes are in the forum). Most of the 2006 macs don’t have the jam to play it mind you (Intel GMA950 is a bit weak), but purchasing for your main rig or as a gift for a friend who might be a tower defence fanatic is always appreciated!

How-to: Making a standard Linux distro ISO compatible with 32-bit EFI Macs

The “problem” with the 32-bit EFI macs (as I understand it) is that they fall apart when they try to load a “multi-catalog” disk image. Most linux distros use multi-catalog images so that they support both BIOS and EFI. When the Mac tries to load the disk image, you get the cryptic “select CD-ROM boot type” text. Since the mac hasn’t loaded any keyboard stuff yet, you can’t actually choose any of the options.

The cleanest solution (I’ll go into alternative solutions in following sections) is to change the disk image to be BIOS-only (non-EFI). Basically, remove other items from the El Torito catalog. That’s what the old Ubuntu amd64+mac ISO’s did. The 64-bit BIOS linux bootloader kicks in, and all is well. A more detailed explanation can be found here.

Converting the ISO

This is done via a very simple C program. Credit goes to the poster here. A lot of extra info if you expand that thread’s bug discussion. Here’s the code (slightly modded to let you provide the file name instead of hard-coding it):


Saved it as “isomacprog.c” (remove the “.txt”), and compile it with:

cc -g -Wall isomacprog.c -o isomacprog

After that, make a COPY of the original ISO for your linux distro and run it against the copy. Something like:

cp original.iso macversion.iso
./isomacprog macversion.iso

This isn’t guaranteed to work on every Linux ISO image out there, but it’s worth a shot, and is what I’ve used for the images above.

The same notes apply as with the ISO’s I provided above. Burn to DVD, use MBR, etc.

Alternative Options

I’ll be honest: I prefer the above solution for the following reason:

  • Simplicity – it’s the least complicated option.
  • Robustness – as long as you partitioned as MBR, it should survive most distro version upgrades since they tend to equate MBR with BIOS, and GPT with EFI. This can matter if it updates the bootloader (I’ve had a GPT bootloader get borked by an upgrade before).

If you’ve got a bad DVD drive or MacBook Air, I’d be inclined to try pulling the drive first and install Linux via another machine (swap the drive back in after and hope for the best).

But if forced to use USB or intent on going the EFI32 route, here are a few places I’d start:

  1. Thread: Ubuntu 15.04 on Mac Mini 2,1 with EFI boot (2007 Intel) – The guide uses rEFInd on one USB stick. On a 2nd USB install disk it uses a Ubuntu USB install, but adds a bootia32.efi to the /EFI/BOOT folder. When starting up the Mac, uses ALT to bring up the manager and chooses rEFInd. Then once rEFInd has loaded, selects the option that contains “bootia32.efi”.

    Once the Ubuntu install is complete, grub fails to install, but there are steps listed to manually install a grub-efi-ia32. Much of it is based on the steps that Jason Heeris provided on his blog. This is a very “EFI-native” solution, but I’d personally still be a little concerned about the potential for major release upgrades to overwrite the bootloader with a new 64-bit EFI.
  2. Hackintosh bootloader solutions – The hackintosh community has been finding solutions for Apple’s EFI compatibility limitations for years. If you’re looking for something very Mac-specific, search for Mac Pro 1,1 and add ML/MountainLion/10.8/10.9/etc to the search. Otherwise you can peek into various bootloaders like Chameleon, Pike’s bootloader, etc., but your are more likely to hit some trial-and-error bits there since every guide looks at a different purpose (some for just intented for having a different bootloader, some aimed at hackintoshing, etc).

The End

If something above worked (or didn’t work) well for you, leaving a comment below might help the next person out. Also helpful for letting me know if the server I rented to host the ISO’s on went down, or if you’re not comfortable compiling an image yourself and need a specific ISO provided.



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  1. Any chance you’d be interested in creating an iso for Elementary OS?

  2. Thank you! Very much appreciated!

  3. michaelconner

    Was able to get elementary OS Loki to boot on my iMac5,2 using the C program. Many thanks!

  4. michaelconner

    I take it back — while the elementary OS (Loki) disc booted after running the C program on it, it crashes upon installation; it’s also very sluggish.

    Linux Mint 18 (Cinnamon) works flawlessly, however. Again, many thanks for having this page and the program to convert ISO images up.

  5. Hi Matt, I try to “openSUSE-Leap-42.1-DVD-x86_64.iso” but doesn´t work and return error data type. Can you help me please??? Thank in advance.

  6. Thank very much Matt. Now it is installing…
    I don´t know why my CentOS 6.5 return error when execute isomacprog rutine.

  7. These images are great – thanks Matt. On a side note (seeing as we’re all using this era of Mac) – does anyone else have a problem with the display backlight not coming back on after the display has shut off to save power? It works fine coming back from a Suspend on my Macbook Pro 2,1, just not when the display has switched itself off.

  8. doctor john

    If i m not mistaken i read that Elementary OS Loki supports 32bit EFI but i can’t find something
    like Etcher running in 10.6.8 to make the usb.
    If you have any idea i ll be happy to check it.

  9. Does this actually boot into EFI mode? I have tried this a few times with an Elementary DVD I created. It does boot into 64 bit Elementary using this method but its using BIOS to boot not EFI.

    • Hey Jim. The 64-bit BIOS is the intended behavior, akin to the amd64+mac ISO’s that they used to provide for Ubuntu. It basically removes the 64-bit EFI item from the disk catalog so that a 32-bit EFI machine doesn’t try to use it (which causes a hang), and instead uses the 64-bit BIOS item on the disk catalog.

      (edit: if looking to use an EFI bootloader for a particular reason, I do have a couple links listed under “Alternative Options” which might provide some help there)

  10. Ok I’m in need of some help. I’ve burned the Ubuntu image to a DVD but I can’t get it to boot on an xserve 1,1 holding the alt key on boothe just ejects the disk eventually or if there’s a hard drive it just shows the hard drive to boot from. What am I missing?

    • Hey Kenneth,

      A couple possibilities off the top of my head:

      1) When I wrote this up and went through the various Mac models, I put a “maybe” in the list above beside the Xserve 1,1. I don’t remember why specifically, but something I came across must have brought some uncertainty when it came to the Xserve as opposed to the other Mac models in the list. So it could be that it just *won’t* work on the Xserve.

      2) A bad DVD burn, or a picky DVD reader in the Xserve is always possible. A couple of our older macs from that era have optical drives that have started getting really finicky.

      If you are determined to give it another shot, I’d try burning the image to a different DVD-R brand from a different burner than what you’d used the first time. Temporarily hooking up a SATA optical drive to the Xserve could be worth a try as well (then try both your previous DVD and the freshly burned one).

      But if all that fails, like I said, it’s within the realm of possibility that the Xserve is just going to be a no-go from the start.

      • Thanks for the reply. I’ll give it a go on new dvd’s as these are almost a decade old and did give issues with playing movies. Also I see the problem with those macbook drives and it makes sense. Had to use an external drive on an old macbook to get the install to work. How do you recommend using a sata DVD drive on the xserve? Will it boot from the drive through a USB sata setup you think? Like an external DVD drive? Or is there a sata port I’m missing somewhere inside? Thanks again.

        • Not sure on the USB – for some reason I’ve been under the impression that it needed to load the UEFI stuff to access that which might throw a wrench into booting from a non-UEFI disk. Could be worth trying though. As to the SATA, the specs I had pulled up indicated that the Xserve 1,1 had support for up to 3 SATA drives – if that’s the case, and if it uses the typical SATA cable/connector it should be possible to yank an optical drive out of a typical PC (or another you’ve got laying around) and put it in temporarily for the install.

          • sorry to be a nuisance but what would you recommend burning the disc with and what settings if any specific? just want to make sure i cover all possibilities. thanks for all the help.

          • I’m usually not picky about the burning program and just use whatever’s handy. My go-to’s tend to be CDBurnerXP on Windows and Burn on OS X, but burning a disc image is a pretty basic task so just about any program should do it without issue.

            As far as drives (if you’ve got choices), the standard internal drives that fit in a 5.25″ bay have been the most reliable for me over the years. Laptop drives, and internal slot-load drives have failed me on many occasions. Very limited experience on external USB drives.

            As for specific settings, when I’ve got an optical burner that I *know* is flaky I’ll tend to try a slower burn speed – in the past I’ve had dying drives that only worked reliably at a specific speed setting (some max, some the slowest, and some a specific one in between).

    • Try the ‘c’ key.

  11. Nathan Hanson

    Thanks for these images! I was successful in loading Freya onto a macbook 2,1 and an iMac 5,2. On the iMac (without a working optical drive), I used an external DVD drive (USB) and after a full shut down, started up holding down both cmd and alt. After some time, all the while holding down those keys, it loaded to the installer.

    Thanks again! I’m so happy to keep these machines running, while I start exploring Elementary.

    • Nathan Hanson

      Clarification: I first put on a fresh install of OS X, then ran Boot Camp Assistant (partition, clicked the option that didn’t include downloading anything, then quit). Then shut down, then startup with cmd + alt keys.

  12. Any way you can do an ElementaryOS 0.4 one?

    • It should be up now! Shift-refresh if it doesn’t show up on the page immediately.

      • I have tried to boot this one (using USB) by manually adding bootia32.efi to the EFI folder as suggested elsewhere (just get a simple bash shell in GRUB on boot). I have also tried installing rEFInd on another flash and trying to boot this one from the other flash (had to convert to img.dmg from iso and then write to flash with dd and then add bootia32.efi). Finally got it boot (after 3 days of trying various methods). But when it comes time to partition the drive, during installation, things start going wonky. It keeps failing to create a partition on the drive. I tried running gparted to clean the drive and try again and gparted keeps crashing. So ran it from CLI, cleaned drive (all partitions off, one new big partition). Installation runs fine, til I start entering username (while it is partitioning in background) and it fails again. It asked if I wanted to try BIOS or UEFI mode for the drive. I tried both. Same issue each time. Any suggestions? I am fairly certain that the drive is 100%. But will try another tonight.

  13. Hi Matt

    Really cool that you are giving some more life in these old macs! I have been trying to make an OpenELEC install on my mac mini 2007 for a while now but with no luck… It is a linux “just enough OS” that runs Kodi. Can you maybe try to make a compatible usb install? Thanks.

  14. Hi Matt,
    I’ve been considering putting Linux Mint 18.1 Cinnamon on my 5,1 iMac as mine seems to not have some of the issues that were common with this model (screen problems). It’s a good computer but really pokey on OS10.6.8. I just use it for browsing using an older version of Firefox.
    I’m totally new to Linux but is sounds like a cool way to extend the life of this computer.
    So the above information is for totally wiping out OSX and replacing it with Linux?
    I’ve reduced what I have on this system so I could do two partitions of 250MB, one for OSX and one for Linux and have seen other tutorials on dual booting a mac but they were using newer machines that don’t have the 32bit/64bit issue of the 5,1.
    Another question is if I partition, do I need to do a swap partition at that time or does the installation take care of that for me?
    Also, should I get a usb to ethernet adapter first? Other tutorials suggested that this was needed.
    Thanks in advance for any help.

    • Hey A. Styrmo,

      The above has only been *tested* as a full-on replacement (wipe + install linux). If you’re looking to dual-boot and 64-bit isn’t an absolute necessity for you I’d actually be inclined to try using the official 32-bit ISO from the site (which should hopefully need no modification at all!). The reason has to do with the MBR/GPT bit: the Mac has the disk partitioned as GPT, whereas in the above 64-bit instructions I’ve really put an emphasis on using MBR – the emphasis is there because in the distant past (back when they made the official “mac” ISO) I had OS upgrades try updating the bootloader to the 64-bit EFI one. Mind you, I may have had some wonky config, but in any case, using MBR is intended to encourage the bootloader to persist as the BIOS variant across updates/upgrades.

      That said, you *could* try using a modified 64-bit ISO (as above). It’ll probably work. But be aware that there’s the chance an OS upgrade might bork things: if that does happen, you’re probably going to have to boot from a LiveCD and try to repair the boot loader manually.

      As for the swap partition, most distros have an automatic partitioning scheme that takes care of adding swap – however, some of the automatic partitioning schemes don’t really do dual-boot (and may insist on wiping everything). Chances are you’ll be following a tutorial for dual-booting and doing “manual partitioning” where you’ll want to make a swap partition. Alternately you could skip the swap partition and make a swap FILE after installation (do a quick search for this) – caveat is that not every file system supports swap files, so you must be partitioning as something standard like EXT4 (nothing fancy like BTRFS).

      To the USB ethernet adapter: Personally I wouldn’t get one beforehand. Linux distros have recognized nearly every ethernet adapter I’ve thrown at them. Boot from a LiveCD and make sure you can browse the web. If it works fine I’d only look at getting a USB ethernet adapter if the ethernet adaptor was being flaky (randomly drops out, doesn’t recover after wake from sleep, etc).

      One last thing: DO A TIME MACHINE BACKUP first (external USB hard drive is fine if you don’t have a Time Capsule) and make sure your original OS X installation media still works. That way if something goes horribly wrong you can get your system back to the state it’s currently in.

      In case you do decide to try the 64-bit route and aren’t keen on manually modifying the official ISO, I’ll try to get a modified Mint ISO up on this page within the next hour (try a shift-refresh of the page if it doesn’t show up). Edit: it’s up!

      Good luck!

      • Hi Matt,
        I’m typing this on my new Linux Mint 64bit iMac. =^] The iso you provided worked flawlessly. I was so impressed with Linux even running on the LiveCD that I decided to just do the full wipe and install. Of course before starting I did both a Time Machine backup and a clone backup with SuperDuper and I know my Snow Leopard disk still works but I don’t think I’m going back. The Mint installer took care of everything, very painless. Everything seems to work, network, bluetooth, etc. I can access all files in my MacMini. Can I write files to the drive in the MacMini? Is it safe to write files or move (universal) files (wav, pdf etc) from a Linux machine to a Apple formatted system?
        I was having problems accessing a USB drive attached to the Apple Airport Extreme directly as I’m not sure what username and password it’s looking for. I just moments ago discovered I could gain access indirectly via the MacMini under Volumes. I would like to be able to access it directly though so that the MacMini doesn’t have to be on just to get to it and keep music files on it so the files are available to all computers on my network and just point Rhythmbox to there.
        Thanks for your help so far!

        • If you’re copying files over the network (shared folder on the Mac Mini), there generally shouldn’t be any issue – network protocols are the only thing in play and clients don’t have to care about what the underlying file system is. On the other hand, if you’re moving around a physical hard drive between machines though (whether internal or USB/external), sometimes things go flawlessly and other times you can run into quirks depending on the file system used.

          As for the Airport Extreme, fire up “Airport Utility” on your mini (or another machine in the home running OS X). Alternately there should be an “Airport Utility” from Apple in the app store for iOS devices (iPhone/iPad/etc). I know for the Time Capsule it’ll let me configure username/password stuff for the internal drive, so I’m assuming a USB on an Airport Extreme is probably handled in a similar way.

  15. Przemysław Gast

    Hi Matt!
    Thanks for Fedora 25 🙂 I wish I could run Korora 25 (Gnome and XFCE) on my Mac Mini (2.1). Could you compile it, as I am unable to do such magic on my own. 🙂

    • Both the Gnome and Xfce Live CDs for Korora 25 should now be up in the list now (shift-refresh this page if they don’t show up right away). Good luck!

      • Przemysław Gast

        THANK YOU! 🙂 BTW I have installed Fedora 25 on my mac mini. It does not pass ISO check at startup, you have to bypass it (ESC key). Then it installs fine (default partitioning).
        I will let you know how is Korora doing. Thanks again!

        I have successfully installed Korora 25 XFCE in first attempt. Due to the HW limitations I would probably not install gnome version of Korora. Korora 25 XFCE is working. 🙂 Thank you.

  16. kimtoufectis

    So no love at all for my 32-bit processor Intel Core Duo (early 2006) iMac? It would have been nice for the 64 bit requirement to have been mentioned before I bought a stack of DVD’s so I could burn the image onto one…

    • The 64-bit stuff (and Core2Duo list of machines) are mentioned pretty early on in the writeup!

      That said, I suspect the 32-bit installer for most distros will probably boot and install fine on your machine without any needed tweaking (I’d guess they use a 32-bit BIOS/EFI loader which the Mac hopefully shouldn’t struggle with). So it’s probably worth burning a standard 32-bit ISO from your favorite distro’s page and giving it a try.

      • kimtoufectis

        I appreciate your reply. To be clear, I was remarking not of your lucid post but of the announcement on the Raspberry Pi site that “Because we’re using the venerable i386 architecture variant it should run even on vintage machines, provided they have at least 512MB of RAM.”

        Given that my iMac has 2GB of RAM (and finding no mention of other hardware requirements) I bought the shortest stack of DVDs I could find (ten) to try it out, burned one with the image, and got nowhere…as you are aware I was wasting my time with a 32-bit Intel iMac.

        • Actually, assuming you’re talking about the PIXEL (or whatever they called it)… the i386 variant should be 32-bit (64-bit is often referred to as amd64). So it *should* be possible to get it to work on your 32-bit iMac, assuming somebody didn’t mis-speak/mislabel it.

          Took a quick peak just now and it looked like PIXEL might be distributed as .img images – they may not be able to be burned directly to a DVD like the .iso variants are. They may be intended for some form of USB install, but like I said, I only took a quick peek. Throw the typical possible-Apple-trickery on top of things and there may be a couple more headaches in store. But at some point I suspect someone *should* be able to get it working. May be worth experimenting with trying to get it going over USB in the meantime (save your blank DVD’s for when someone else has a reliable DVD method available).

          • kimtoufectis

            Yes, I was hoping to give Pixel a whirl. I’d be glad to try the USB approach, but my sole guidance is that same article on Pixel for PCs and Macs (that had me burn a DVD just for practice), instructing me to “Download the image, and either burn it to a DVD or write it to a USB stick. For the latter, we recommend Etcher.”

            I know how to burn a DVD, but what does writing it to a USB stick entail? Etcher doesn’t seem to have ever run on a 32 bit Mac, and when I click on the downloaded .iso file my Mac says it couldn’t be opened because it has no mountable file systems. I browsed the web for alternatives, but found nothing that my Mac will run…

          • If it’s an .iso I usually end up using “dd” when on OS X and Linux distros, but since a typo can easily wipe your system, searching for a safer way through a utility/program is probably ideal.

            If you don’t come across something in a reasonable time frame, you could try out Fedora’s media writer via another machine if you happen to have one around – the Windows and Mac OS X versions should let you write a custom .iso file. I say “on another machine” though because it looks like the Mac version of the utility might be 64-bit. It can currently be found at: . Again, this is assuming you were provided with a .iso – I don’t believe it supports .img .

          • kimtoufectis

            My other computers are :
            – an even older G4 iMac (“sunflower” design) running OS X 10.5;
            – a ChromeBase (an all-in-one desktop verson of a Chromebook)
            – a current-era MacBook Pro for work that I can’t install software on
            – an OLPC XO laptop (with an early version of Fedora deep inside)

            Are there any viable alternatives for this task, in that list?

          • Just peeked around a bit. UNetbootn OS X version seems to be 32-bit (just tried it and unless activity monitor is lying, it’s 32-bit). Maybe give that a try on your current OS X machine. Might get *really* lucky and it could be a Universal Binary (both PPC and Intel) – haven’t seen those in a long time, but then again… haven’t seen a 32-bit program for OS X in a long time either. If it *is*, then it might work on your older G4 also.

            If for whatever reason that *doesn’t* work, possibly the Fedora writer on the MacBook Pro. The Fedora utility doesn’t have to be installed on the machine in OSX- it can be run from it’s disk image and simply ejected afterwards. Unsure if it needs name/password to write to the USB drive though (a number of tools do since it’s a pretty low-level disk operation).

            Don’t know about the others… the only tools I really use are Rufus (Windows) and “dd” (OSX/Linux) – “dd” is my go-to because it’s reliably always-there and just plain works, but like I said… a typo can be really bad. Only used the Fedora utility out of curiousity.

            That’s really about all I can think of right now. Hopefully something there helps, but if not, maybe someone else can chime in.

          • kimtoufectis

            Thanks again.

            I tried this program before asking for help, and tried it again today. It fails on startup. I tried restarting, tried ignoring the failure and retrying, all to the same end.

            Should it reveal anything to you that would suggest a course of action, here’s the top of the report of the failure:

            Process: unetbootin [366]
            Path: /Applications/
            Identifier: com.yourcompany.unetbootin
            Version: ??? (???)
            Code Type: X86 (Native)
            Parent Process: launchd [134]

            Date/Time: 2016-12-30 12:47:36.254 -0500
            OS Version: Mac OS X 10.6.8 (10K549)
            Report Version: 6

            Interval Since Last Report: 1493273 sec
            Crashes Since Last Report: 28
            Per-App Interval Since Last Report: 15 sec
            Per-App Crashes Since Last Report: 6
            Anonymous UUID: (I redacted the long ID code recorded here)

            Exception Type: EXC_BAD_ACCESS (SIGBUS)
            Exception Codes: KERN_PROTECTION_FAILURE at 0x0000000000000000
            Crashed Thread: 0 Dispatch queue:

            In the meantime I’ll see what I can do on my late-model MacBook Pro sans admin rights…

          • I have never found UNetBootin to work flawlessly. What finally worked for me was something akin to this guide: there was an intermediary command to convert the iso to an img.dmg file that I found elsewhere, which worked. But unfortunately I cannot find the link. Will check when I get home.

          • kimtoufectis

            After failing with unetbootin on my Early 2006 Core Duo iMac (installs but won’t run) I downloaded the Fedora Media to my work MacBook Pro (your fallback suggestion).

            Next I failed with my 2003 G4 iMac (it wouldn’t install because it isn’t a Universal Binary as hoped).

            When I try to run it from the disk image I get a message box that says it “can’t be opened because it is from an unidentified developer. Your security preferences allow installation of only apps from the Mac App Store and identified developers.” And as you might imagine, can’t change those security preferences…

            Hey, can’t fault me for being unduly wedded to any single approach…

          • For that try right click the app and click open. There is also a key you can hold down to bypass this while clicking to open the app. But I cannot recall which. Just try one each of option, cmd and shift. Depending on your OS there is also a setting that can be changed in the preferences pane to allow apps from unknown developers (hidden since Mavericks IIRC.)

  17. I have compiled the ISO for openSUSE Leap 42.2 and can confirm it installs nicely on a 2007 Macbook 2,1 (2006 version with newer CPUs, see Wikipedia)
    I had to “parted” the disk back to empty and then let Leap install a its bootloader into MBR.

    A first attempt where the bootloader went into its own partion failed to boot, I could only boot from disk indirect by the DVD ISOlinux bootloader from the SUSE install DVD. It then gives the option to boot from disk which works that way.

  18. Worked great on my Macbook mid 2007 (Core 2 Duo) – Thank you so much!!

  19. I have MacPro 1,1. This image is to make bootable Ubuntu 16.04 installer DVD. Works well for me.


    MacPro 1,1 has 32-bit EFI. Without this iso image only 32-bit OS can be installed which limits RAM access to 4GB. With Matt’s iso file I can boot, intall and run 64-bit Linux on this 32-bit EFI machine.

    Before upgrading to 16.04, my MacPro 1,1 was already on 64-bit Ubuntu but it was only 14.04. To upgrade it, the iso file makes everything simple the same way as we would downloading and installing Linux on any other computer.

    For Ubuntu 14.04 there was a MacPro 1,1 (32-bit EFI) x64 distro available. For Ubuntu 16 and Fedora, there aren’t any otherwise as far as I know.

    Here the spec of the Mac for reference:

    – Model early MacPro 1,1 2006
    – Memory 32 GiB
    – Processor Intel Xeon(R) CPU X5365 x 8 (2 x 3GHz Quad-Core)
    – OS type 64-bit

    This is valuable. I offer great thanks to the author.

  20. Steven Narmontas

    This process worked on a late-2006 iMac 5,1 . I used the provided isomacprog to modify ubuntu-16.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso, which was freshly downloaded from and it booted and installed perfectly. Thanks!

  21. I’m planning to upgrade my Mac to quad-core processors, Is the same process or I do have to do something else?


    • Take care in these points when upgrading processor:
      Clean both surfaces very carefully. I use alcohol wipe many times until no residual and no contaminant is visible on the heat sink and on the processor. Stanley knife blade helps and use with care. Use pressure air to help cleaning where possible. Make sure also the contact side is clean. Apply heat transfer compound to the interface on one side with an “X” pattern. Do this step carefully to prevent subtle problems relate to heat dissipation which will be difficult to trace and will need redoing the installation process.
      For Mac OS on the MacPro 1,1 with or without processor upgrade, OSX El Captan 10.11.6 is possible.
      For Linux, with or without processor upgrade, download the iso here and make bootable installer disc. Boot from it and install as you would on normal PC.

    • On my Macpro 1,1 a pair of Intel X5365 is used. It is legacy Xeon processor, code name Clovertown. Refer to this wikipedia link

  22. THANKYOU for this tool. I can confirm it works great on both openSUSE-Leap-42.1-NET-x86_64.iso and openSUSE-Leap-42.2-NET-x86_64.iso on MacBook2,1.

  23. Seth Forgosh

    I’d love a working copy of Centos 7. Thanks for the ISOs that you’ve done so far.

    • CentOS 7 should be up now. Shift-refresh the page if it doesn’t show up right away. They should currently be found at the end of the list.

      I wasn’t sure which you wanted – I usually assume minimal would be used for a CLI server and DVD for a GUI Desktop, but lots of possibilities here so I did both the Minimal (~700MB) and DVD (~4.1GB).

      Edit: let me know if you’d prefer the Live GNOME or KDE.

  24. VP FlutterShy

    I can confirm this method works with ubuntu server 16.04.1

  25. Many thanks Matt for the converted CentOS 7 image! 🙂 Does anybody know here if CentOS 7 run’s in desktop mode well on these old Apple iMac computers? I think CentOS 6.8 would be somewhat less hardware hungry? Whatever, will try CentOS 7 the next days. 😉 Again a BIG thanks Matt for yours effort in this topic. I tried some times ago to build a corresponding 64bit OS @ 32bit Apple EFI install media but was never successful….

    • It seems that I have understood here something totally wrong. 🙁

      Is it right, that this method will install a 64bit Linux OS which runs effectively in legacy EFI CSM (BIOS) mode? So, with this solution I will NOT have any AHCI support at my Samsung 840 pro SSD, right? If that’s true then this workaround will have the same limitations like a 64bit Windows 7 OS which is installed in legacy CSM mode. 🙁 Very unfortunate…

      Therefore it can be said, that in native EFI mode only a 32bit Linux install is possible but NOT a 64bit one.

      Well, there exist the theoretical possibility to install and run a native 64bit EFI Linux OS at a (compliant) 32 bit EFI system through a “64bit to 32bit EFI wrapper”. However, for Linux (and Windows) this is currently only a hypothetic option. Interestingly this seems to be possible with more recent (64bit only) Mac OS X versions which are modified with a special boot loader (from MacRumors user Tiamo). MacPostFactor uses this way to install newer 64bit OS X editions on 32bit EFI Apple computers. 🙂

      Whatever – someone should really try to build a independent “64bit to 32bit EFI wrapper” which can be used “OS independent”. 😉 😀

      • Hey Clemens,

        Yeah it’s in BIOS mode. And yes, Apple disables AHCI when booting this way, which as you indicated hits nearly everyone installing Windows on their Macs too. If you’re intent on enabling AHCI though, a few threads to look at:

        …it’s a bit on the complex side. You can choose between either trying to patch the first part of the MBR to flip AHCI back on before the boot loader starts (main focus of first link), patching GRUB to write to the PCI config space to do it (main focus of 2nd link), or enabling AHCI at boot time (3rd link but you’ll want to “lspci” to find your device and search around to confirm the setting). It’s possible that there may be other alternatives too (via rEFInd etc), but I haven’t looked too heavily into it.

        Note that most of the guides out there tend to be Windows-centric to the point where they’ve even got a 440byte “patchcode.bin” floating around that can be quickly written to the drive for Windows booting with AHCI (although sleep apparently ends up broken). Nothing quite like that for Linux that I could find, but manually patching the MBR should be possible anyway.

        • Hi Matt

          Many thanks for your detailed answer and thanks for these links. Well, – all these tweaks to enable AHCI in legacy BIOS mode at an older Apple computer are not really reliable. Especially not under Windows. That’s the reason why it is (strongly) recommended to install on newer (more UEFI compliant) Apple computers also Windows in (U)EFI mode. 😉
          However, regarding my legacy iMac I am now back on 64bit OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.5. 😉 It runs (in native EFI mode) thanks to MacPostFactor (and the Samsung 840 pro SSD) awesome on my late 2006 (32bit EFI based) iMac. The built-in “64bit to 32bit EFI wrapper” makes it possible. No limitations regarding AHCI. 😀

          I think because of its open source concept such a wrapper solution will work even better with Linux. All the corresponding EFI related drivers are included. Will ask MacRumors user Tiamo how much of work will it be to port his “64bit to 32bit EFI wrapper” to Linux. 😉

          Many thanks Matt for all your efforts in this topic here!

          Kind regards

  26. Thank you Matt — this worked great with my macbookpro2,2

  27. Chris Harrington

    Hi Matt,

    One of your modified Linux distros worked for me! After banging my head for several weeks, I was able to boot Linux Mint on my Mac Mini 2007. This model is in the same boat as the 2006 models – 64-bit Mac using 32-bit EFI (or so I’ve read).

    My main goal is to get either Parrot Security Linux or Kali (preferably Parrot) for the same Mac Mini. Is this something you might be able to do? I have zero experience compiling in C, otherwise I would try it myself. Thanks for whatever you can do.

    • Hey Chris, ParrotSec should be up now at the end of the list (shift-refresh if it doesn’t show up immediately). I used the full edition (around 3.5GB) since it includes all the tools which I’m assuming is the big aim. Hopefully it works for ya! If not let me know and I can try to get Kali done up though it might take a bit longer since the server’s getting low on disk space and I’ll have to figure something out before I get the next disc image done up.

  28. John Graber

    Am I totally off my rocker to wonder if this method could be used on a FreeBSD installation iso?

  29. XenServer 7 wanted

  30. OpenSuse Leap Image confirmed OK on MacPro 2006 ugraded to FW 2.1

    • did you have any issue with grub?, my macmini didnt boot up without the installation dvd

  31. Jakus Asikainen

    Linux Mint 18.1 works great on my 1,1 with an r9 380 upgraded gpu anyone tried this with stock arch or manjaro would love a pacman base instead of apt don’t have much experince with code to try it myself but i am going to keep trying

    • I have had some success doing an arch install. Just getting the installed system to boot is my final hurdle.

      • @TarnAlcock,
        Arch installs the system in MBR, choose manual install in GUI. Otherwise your mac won’t see the bootloader. It’s easier if you install ubuntu or Linux mint first, then install Arch afterwards. If you choose the option replace Arch in a partition ( in the install program) without installing a bootloader, then it wil boot perfectly. The Ubuntu family install the bootloader better for a mac then Arch does. If you choose for the last option, then you’ll use the grub loader from Ubuntu (or Mint).
        I did it this way a year ago with a 32 bit distro of manjaro.

        • I assume you mean ArchBang? As far as I can see Arch has a manual install process? I have yet to get my arch system booting. Been loath to do ANOTHER re-install and have just been fiddling with the boot partition trying to get it to work. Tried syslinux over grub the other night. No luck.

  32. I am finally getting elementary 4.0 (Loki) installed on my mac mini 2,1.

    Firstly, I could not use the cd-rom as it is non functional. I tried various methods of getting it to boot with USB, but so far the simplest and most reliable method has been to install GRUB 2 on a flash drive (using a virtual machine to run ubuntu and mounting the flash in there. First, enable universal sources, to install p7zip and do an apt-get update.). More instructions here:

    I used this grub.conf file: but added the graphics setup inside the if .. fi statment from the tutorial at the top of the file.

    I used the same configuration for ubuntu (the ISO structure is the same) just renamed the menu entry to elementary and same for the iso.

    I am finishing the install as we speak. (*edit* ran without a hitch) I also had to use a new hdd as it kept failing to partition my 500GB. Sadly. Sounds a little wonky.

    If my instructions are unclear or if you need a little help, feel free to comment.

    *edit* Elementary Loki was running fine after install. Except reeeeealy slowly. So tried Ubuntu. It worked until the second reboot. Then tried Fedora 24. Installed beautifully (so fast!) but would not boot up after install.

    Going to try roll my own Arch iso and see what happens.

    • infinite overflow

      Could you or someone else please put up a concise and clear guide to doing this with
      a USB pen drive (or two), preferably on a blog with screenshots (not in comments here) and link it here?

      I do not have access to DVDs or the DVD drive (replaced it with a second hard drive on the mini). What I do have is a 2007 mini which has a 64 bit Core 2 Duo processor and a 32 bit EFI.

      I added the 32 bit efi file into the EFI folder on the USB pen drive and somehow got to see it in the boot menu on the Mac, and when I chose it, it dropped me into a grub shell, where I got completely stuck. I’d like to install Korora (a fork of Fedora) and stay current (on software/security) for as long as possible since the mini is still working fine.

      Also, thanks a lot Matt, for putting up the ISO images here and providing so much flexibility for people!

      • TarnAlcock

        Hi. Unfortunately my mac died almost after I got it running. Which is a shame! Was going so nicely! So. I cannot do screenshots or anything.

        Fedora has it’s own special way of doing things. I never quite got it to work properly in this scenario.

        In order to get the install USB working, what I did was install grub (32 bit) onto an old hdd Using an ubuntu live distro in a virtual machine, on my windows box. (with rEFIt installed as well.) Plugged in as a usb external. Google is your friend here as I do not know your setup.

        From there I added the prepared ISOs into the root of same drive and created appropriate boot entries for each ISO in the grub.cfg. This helped tremendously with setting up the config file:

        I did have varying levels of success in this regard. It took a lot of tinkering. But Arch install and subsequent booting ran without a hitch. Usin an unprepared ISO!

      • @Infinite Overflow
        yes,it’s possible to put on usb using kind of bootia32.efi built with grub.
        Just dd copy this iso on usb stick , The stick does boot on MacBookPro DuoCore 32bits and
        also on windows10_type uefi (64bits of course ) as live “lubuntu xenial” .
        In MacBook_revival_Playground there are readme or pdf giving details of howto do this.
        The iso’s here are not only bootable as cdrom image but also as usb image (a.k.a isohybrid
        including uefi awareness)
        It ‘s just fun
        Have a good day.

  33. Thank you Matt,
    most of the distro´s booted perfectly, except kurora and fedora, on my macbook Pro 2,2! I finally settled with Linux mint 18.1.
    I´ve tried to compile the c program, but the terminal told me the file didn´t exist and I´ve been looking for a solution on the internet, but nothing! What am I doing wrong? I did this in Linux mint btw. and I´ve changed the command lines, necessary for Linux.
    It´s not a hot issue for me, Linux mint is running perfectly, I just like to learn new things.

    • Hey Poerwo,

      If the error you’re getting is “bash: cc: command not found”, you may not have the c compiler installed. Try “sudo apt-get install build-essential” to get it (and some other basic tools for programming) installed. Note that instead of “cc” you can use “gcc” (example “gcc -g -Wall…..”)

      If you’re getting “cc: error: isomacprog.c: No such file or directory”, note that you’ll actually want to rename the isomacprog.c.txt file to isomacprog.c (example “mv isomacprog.c.txt isomacprog.c”) which is the standard naming convention for C files. The “.txt” was appended on the end on the server because both browsers and search engines tend to handle .txt files predictably when trying to view the contents of it on the web, but you do want it to actually end in .c for the compiler to read it. I’ll edit the writeup to make it clear it needs to be renamed.

      If you’re getting “macversion.iso: No such file or directory”, make sure you’ve replaced macversion.iso with the file name of the original ISO you’ve downloaded (or have renamed it to macversion.iso).

      Hopefully I’ve caught all the possible cases there. Good luck!

      • Thank you for the reply, I’ve tried under Mac Os Lion, which runs on an external HD and the C program compiled. Just got Linux mint KDE version running, thanks to the C program, somehow compiling didn´t work under Linux.

  34. Jonathan B

    Hey dude, great work here! Any chance you could make a PCLinuxOS ISO? Tried running the script against an ISO that I downloaded with no luck. If not, no worries – thanks in advance! 🙂

  35. You are my new Idol! THANKS!

  36. RedNumber1

    Anyone figured out how to get FreeNAS 64bit running on the 1,1 / 2,1

  37. Hi Matt, thank you so much for this. It’s put new life into my old Macbook 2,1 which was just gathering dust despite it’s potential.

    Is there a way to get the full 4GB used on the system (Macbook 2,1)? Supposedly it is only using around 3GB instead of the full physical 4GB installed in the system.

    • Been a few years since I looked into it (I put 4GB into the 2,1 also), and I seem to recall the 3GB barrier being a chipset limitation. I believe it’s one the Intel 945 mobile chipsets if you want to do any digging.

      • Thanks, Matt, you’re right. Seems to be a chipset limitation and I wasn’t able to find any workaround.

  38. Hi,

    Thanks for the information and images. I have used the Fedora 24 image and upgraded to 25. Wondered if anybody experienced any graphical issues with 25 on a Mac Pro 1,1 with a 7300GT card? Straight after the upgrade the screen was covered in wavy white lines.


    • Hey dtonlinux,

      Hopefully someone chimes in who’s in the same situation (and has ideally come across a fix), but in the meantime, my best guesses here would be that it may either have to do with the new Wayland-by-default session in Fedora 25, or be a driver issue.

      You can try switching from the Wayland session back to X by clicking the gear icon by your name in the login screen.

      If that doesn’t work, you could always try the proprietary nVidia drivers – for the 7300GT I believe the current driver (as of this date) is , although you can select the card from to get a list of all driver versions. Alternately there’s the negativo repo at if you prefer to go that route. I don’t know whether the proprietary nVidia driver supports a Wayland session or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it fixes up stuff in an X session.

      • Hi,

        Thank you for the comments. Started reading about the Wayland changes and supported NV chipsets as it is a strong chance that is the issue. I possibly didn’t help myself by upgrading so may do a straight install to see if that suffers similarly.
        Will let you know if I find a solution. All fun as they say!

        • It would appear my leaving it alone and restarting it over lunch has resolved the issue. Will check the logs to see if there is anything in there but may well have been an update conflict between xorg and Wayland I assume.

  39. Piet Nutbey

    Thanks for this helpful tool! Currently installing Elementary on MacMini 2007 ( macmini 2,1) – so far things are looking good!

  40. Seven_Spades

    I have been trying to install Elementary 4 on a Mac Mini 1.1. Unfortunately I am getting the following error:-

    “This kernel requires an x86-64 CPU, but only detected an i686 CPU. Unable to boot – please use a kernel appropriate for your CPU”

    Is there any work around for this?

    • I believe the Mini 1,1 came with the Core Solo/Duo processors (not the Core2Duo that most of the other late 2006 macs came with). Core was 32-bit, while Core2 was 64-bit. So you’re probably stuck using a 32-bit Linux Distro. Unfortunately, I believe Elementary’s last version with a 32-bit ISO was Freya 0.3.2 – so your only easy option for getting Elementary to work is using that older version – Loki 0.4 only comes in 64-bit as far as I’m aware, but it could be worth looking around a bit in case someone’s created a custom build/spin/flavor. Note that a number of other distros (Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu, etc) still offer 32-bit ISO’s so that’s a possible option as well, assuming you aren’t too hooked on Elementary.

      One other option if you don’t mind shelling out a bit of cash and opening your Mini is to try upgrading the processor to one of the Core2Duo models. A quick peak at eBay shows that the Intel Core2Duo T7600 seems to be available for around $25-30 USD from a number of vendors in China. Instructions for CPU replacement can be found at . While they list difficulty as “Difficult”, I’m pretty sure that’s going by their old standards before Apple started gluing everything together – I’ve opened a Mini a few times and while it’s time consuming it’s not all that bad. Anyway, assuming the CPU upgrade is successful I’d expect that a 64-bit variant of Linux (including Elementary) would *probably* work, but can’t make any promises here because I haven’t tried it myself. Since it involves both time and money, you might only want to consider this option if you’re okay with trying it from a fun/hobbiest standpoint rather than an “I’m really depending on this to work” standpoint.

      Anyway, hopefully something in there helps.

      • Seven_Spades

        Thanks I will try Freya. I am just looking to find something to do with this old machine

  41. SaintVitusCrush

    For those who like to “roll their own” with Debian (I prefer to put a minimal workstation environment together piece by piece), the isomacprog works on the Jessie amd64 mini iso. I successfully installed the base system on my Blackbook 2,1 using the modified iso burned to CD. Next will be my Mac Pro 1,1. I don’t see why it wouldn’t also work on the Debian Live CD, although I didn’t try it. Thanks to Matt for providing the info and link to the source needed.

  42. Hey Matt,

    Hate to be another person asking for help but (and here’s where I ask anyway) are you able to create a version of Manjaro that’ll run on my Macbook 2,1?

    I’ve been trying to get my Macbook 2,1 to dual boot OS X and Manjaro, and I’ve tried compiling Manjaro myself with the c program you listed but it doesn’t seem to be working. In some of my many attempts I’ve managed to get the live CD running and seemed to have installed it onto a partition I made from OS X, but when I reboot it doesn’t show up on rEFInd, or otherwise fails to load when it does. I’m starting to think there’s something funny about the .iso I’m using, or perhaps I’m just missing something obvious…

    Is there any guidance you might be able to give me?

    • I’ll start by noting these are shots in the dark: I haven’t used Manjaro and it’s been ages since I’ve used multiple partitions on the same drive on a Mac.

      My first thought is that the Manjaro installer might be trying to install an EFI boot partition by default. Reason is that OS X uses a GPT partition table (or hybrid GPT/MBR if you’ve run boot camp at some point). It may be throwing a wrench into things.

      Assuming you manage to get the live CD running again, I’d go through the Advanced Partitioning option in the installer and make sure you’re not getting a separate /BOOT/EFI anywhere. You should be able to either use a single ext4 partition for /, or split partitions into / and /boot (plus the optional /swap and /anythingelse in both cases). I haven’t used Manjaro myself and don’t know what partitioning tool it uses but usually in an advanced partitioning scheme the various linux distributions make some sort of distinction. If there’s a both a text based and GUI install available they may use different partitioning tools so if you feel like the partitioner is fighting you it could be worth trying the alternate one.

      After what looks like a successful install, if rEFInd isn’t seeing the partition, try skipping rEFInd and instead hold the option key when you hear the startup chime and see if the Manjaro install shows up (likely as “Windows”).

      If nothing works and you’re really suspecting an issue with the image, you can get the md5sum of your c-modded ISO. Assuming you’re doing this from OS X it should be a matter of “md5 macversion.iso”. Reply with it and let me know which Manjaro variant you used (ie KDE 17.0). I’ll grab and mod a copy on this end and let you know if it matches (if it doesn’t I can upload mine).

      • Thanks a lot for the reply. I tried going through advanced partitioning and it installs fine, but I still don’t seem to be able to actually run it from rEFInd. I also can’t seem to get the OS X bootloader to work even though the option key works fine otherwise. Considering just trying some other distro at this point.

        As far as the md5sum goes, I got this from the Manjaro XFCE 17.0 iso I modded: e7c1b5bbdaa22df7e562130c011c49d7

        Thanks again for your help.

        • Just tried here and got the same md5sum. Another distro could certainly be worth a try – even Ubuntu or Fedora 24 might be worth it as a test since both worked on the white macbook here (although I wasn’t dual-booting – was a full wipe/install). If neither of those work I’d strongly lean towards it being a dual boot issue and/or issue with the hybrid efi/mbr.

          Good luck!

    • Hey Endo, it should be up now at the end of the list (shift-refresh page if it doesn’t show up right away).

      • Thanks Matt. I installed the debian version, it seemed all fine. However when i try to boot using the optionkey or rEFIT, it doesn’t show up. This is the result of the partition inspector:
        *** Report for internal hard disk ***

        Current GPT partition table:
        # Start LBA End LBA Type
        1 40 409639 EFI System (FAT)
        2 409640 96221407 Mac OS X HFS+
        3 96223232 104034303 Linux Swap
        4 104034304 234440703 Unknown

        Current MBR partition table:
        # A Start LBA End LBA Type
        1 1 409639 ee EFI Protective
        2 * 409640 96221407 af Mac OS X HFS+
        3 96223232 104034303 82 Linux swap / Solaris
        4 104034304 234440703 83 Linux

        MBR contents:
        Boot Code: Unknown, but bootable

        Partition at LBA 40:
        Boot Code: None (Non-system disk message)
        File System: FAT32
        Listed in GPT as partition 1, type EFI System (FAT)

        Partition at LBA 409640:
        Boot Code: None
        File System: HFS Extended (HFS+)
        Listed in GPT as partition 2, type Mac OS X HFS+
        Listed in MBR as partition 2, type af Mac OS X HFS+, active

        Partition at LBA 96223232:
        Boot Code: None
        File System: Unknown
        Listed in GPT as partition 3, type Linux Swap
        Listed in MBR as partition 3, type 82 Linux swap / Solaris

        Partition at LBA 104034304:
        Boot Code: None
        File System: ext4
        Listed in GPT as partition 4, type Unknown
        Listed in MBR as partition 4, type 83 Linux

        • Hmm… I’m not really sure what to suggest at this point. If it were me, chances are I’d be temporarily pulling the drive and swapping it into a PC to rule out something Apple-esque as being the cause and then going from there. Either that or swapping in another (empty) 2.5″ drive, nuking the partition table completely, just installing linux, and seeing if that works.

          I suppose one thing you could try to ensure that OS X has modified the partition to be a hybrid efi/mbr variant would be to nuke the linux partition and start the bootcamp process from OS X – let it get to the point of creating the windows partition (at which point it’ll have hopefully changed the table to the hybrid though go as far through the process as possible in case it delays that step). Then boot the debian installer, nuke the windows partition and create the linux partition.

          Alternately you could tinker with gdisk (not fdisk) to see if it’s possible to get the hybrid efi/mbr set up – I know people have used gdisk to remove the hybrid bit so don’t know if it’s also capable of creating one but it’s a possibility.

          Yet another option if you just want to see if the install itself is valid would be to try and find a grub bootloader image that can be burned to a CD, boot from the CD, and then try to load your debian install from the drive via the grub command line (possibly something like “set root=(hd0,4)” followed by “chainloader +1”).

          Beyond those, I’m really out of ideas. Maybe someone will chime in with something a little more straightforward though.

          • Hi, Matt. Now it works. I did a full re-install of OSX. Then I used Bootcamp to create a partition for linux, intalling debian i made the ext4 partition before the swap one. Finally i installed the grub boot loader on the same partition (ext4) of the linux one.
            (as suggested here )

  43. Wonkster Mcgee

    Thanks for taking time to do this, it’s been interesting following along and trying different things, but I’m still unable to get an installable image on a Macbook 2,1 (1.83 C2D), or an iMac 12,1.

    I haven’t downloaded any of your images yet, deciding to roll my own first. I DL’d Elementary Loki directly and ran the compiled code agains it, which finished with “Done” and so I assumed success. However, there was no difference in size between the before & after? The install attempt bombed, but I’m thinking because the Mac Disk Mounter didn’t recognize a file system on the .iso, and so subsequently, even though the disk burned to a DVD, it does nothing (not mountable) when used as install media.

    I then tried Ubuntu 14.04.5 direct from Ubuntu, supposedly this iso is tweaked for Mac, but I had the same issue with the iso not being readable. I found a site with a way around that using DD and bs=1m, and this allowed the iso to mount, but Mac OS doesn’t see it as bootable media. I did not run the compiled C code on this ISO as I didn’t think it required it, but perhaps that’s the issue, not sure. I guess it’s about time to try one of your iso files, but I’ll admit my confidence in anything based on Ubuntu working at this point is not good :p

    • I personally wouldn’t try DD or use built in Apple programs for burning the optical disk. Provided you’re not dealing with images in the apple specific formats (dmg, etc), nothing beats a standalone disk burning program for burning to optical media from an ISO.

      For burning the disk from OS X, you may want to try Burn ( ) or SimplyBurns ( ). Both free and open source. Been a bit since I’ve used them but I believe Burn uses the “copy” section to burn the ISO while SimplyBurns has a “burn image” option. If you think your drive itself might be eating disks, try at a slower burn speed.

      As for the size of the modded ISO being unchanged, that’s to be expected. If you want to verify that *something* happened, you run “cmp -b original.iso macversion.iso” and will see a short message like “original.iso macversion.iso differ: byte 4028481, line 2216 is 221 M-^Q 0 ^@”. The md5 will obviously differ too if you’d prefer that route.

      The Ubuntu-provided older versions should certainly work (I’ve used them in the past) – just make sure you’re downloading the one that has “amd64+mac” in the file name (ie ubuntu-14.04-desktop-amd64+mac.iso ). If even Burn/SimplyBurns are failing to create a good disk from a distro that *should* be working (Ubuntu as an example) I’d suspect the optical drive might be on the fritz.

      • Wonkster Mcgee

        Thanks for the fast reply. Question: Are you creating these ISOs on a Mac? I ask because research indicates this is a fairly old and well known problem with mounting an Ubuntu based ISO on OS-X. My failed attempts were with two Ubuntu based distributions, but I’ve read it occurs with others. I wasn’t checking or mounting the images beyond running md5 to verify them. I burned them from Finder with a contextual menu and directly from Disk Utility. It was when I used Disk Utility that I noticed the ISO would not properly show up in the left pane of D.U., and then found it would not mount due to the “No mountable file system” error and googled the issue that turns out to be OSX is unable to read the hybrid layout on the ISO. There are solutions, the easist is to burn the ISO using another OS. Your Fedora 24 ISO burned perfectly using OSX’s Hdiutil and its ‘burn’ command. I installed it, but man o man is it slow. I’m not a fan of Gnome 3, it turns out. But then I haven’t run Linux since the days of KDE 2 and E 16. Anyway, here’a link to the issue from Ubuntu’s forum:

  44. kostastnt

    Could you please upload Kali Linux? Thank you very much!!

    • It’s up (shift-refresh page). I’m low on disk space at the moment so I put up the light version – assuming you’re looking for all the tools, you can upgrade it to the full version after install via “apt-get -y install kali-linux-full”. If that causes hiccups or if you need a different variant (gnome/etc) let me know and I’ll try to get something figured out but it may take a couple days as I’ve got quite a bit going on at the moment.

      Good luck!

      • kostastnt

        It will be perfect!! Thank you very much!! I just tried and i can confirm it works!

        I will try Kali and i will report if success or not!

        Thank you again!!

        • kostastnt

          Unfortunately Kali isnt working. A package is corrupted and installation is aborted around 70%..

          As i said earlier Parrot works perfect and i will give it a try, since Kali isnt working!

          Thank you again!

  45. NoseyNick

    Somewhat related to this post, I hope you can help…

    I’ve managed to break my GRUB config on one of these silly split 32-bit-EFI-64-bit-OS macbooks. I can boot if I have a (Matt-fixed openSUSE) recovery CD in the drive, but not without. Was previously working, but I managed to break it during some recent round of reconfiguring/reinstalling, perhaps by trying efi-grub, but still broken after switching back to GRUB. Without a recovery CD in the drive I get a folder icon with a question-mark and nothing else. My GUESS is openSUSE has “cleverly” done something “wrong” to the hybrid GPT/MBR tables, or probably decided to install a 64-bit grub (especially as SUSE seems to have dropped all 32-bit support).

    If anyone has encountered this before and has tips for an easy fix it would be appreciated, otherwise I’ll probably slog through it next time I get a few hours spare, and get back to you. Cheers!

    • same problem here… did you find any solution?

    • A bit late, but I’d dump into a terminal from a recovery/live DVD and try:
      parted -l
      (that’s a lowercase L)

      …one of the lines it spits out should be “Partition Table: ____” (either “msdos” if it’s MBR, or “gpt” otherwise).

      If it did end up getting converted to gpt, you can search around for “convert gpt to mbr” (gdisk seems to be common using the recovery method) but be forewarned that it’s on the risky side regardless of the method you choose so you’d likely want to back up first.

      There’s of course always the option of wiping everything and starting over with “parted /dev/sdx label msdos” or “fdisk -t dos /dev/sdx” (replacing SDX in both cases with your actual drive).

  46. Justin Cownden

    Thank you very much for publishing this how to. A friend gave me an old mac pro 1.1 and i’ve been searching for a distro that would boot on it and just used the isomacprog.c program on manjaro kde 17 and finally got something to boot on it. Much appreciated to you and the other person who came up with that program.

  47. Thanks man, I really appreciate your effort on making this.

  48. After 3 days dealing with openSUSE leap 42.1 and the macmini 2007 I already installed and booting the OS … Thank you Matt

    • Henrik Mattsson

      openSUSE leap 42.2

      I have tried different installation setups now using EXT4 and the default filesystem.
      And tried grub in MBR and / but when I restart my computer after the install I only get the blinking folder.
      How did you do to install? If I am using the install dvd I can boot my installed system.

  49. Hi, has anybody got Arch Linux up and running at all? Thanks.

    • Stephen Zubko

      The Swedish Linux Society (–> Extix Linux) version called Archex installs and runs on my MacPro1,1 without modifications, exactly as downloaded. But I wanted to see Wayland in action, so I installed Matt’s version of Fedora 25, which went without a hitch and is running well. Many thanks to Matt and the original C coder!

  50. Tadeusz Raczkowski

    Finally got Linux Mint 18.1 Cinnamon working on a 2007 macbook 2.1 thanks to your iso and it works like a charm. Just wondering if your instructions for converting an iso would work on OpenBSD 6.1. I would like to see how well this BSD would work on an old macbook.

  51. MaDMaLKaV

    Your tool plus the Debian Multiarch image makes a great combo for Mac Pro 1.1: it allows to boot in EFI mode and start a 64 bit install using the two SATA ports that are disabled if OS is started in non EFI mode.

    My only problem is I wasn’t able to get it to boot directly, and also didn’t got Refind to install OK. Creating a Refind USB boot disk and copying its boot folder to /boot/efi/EFI works OK. Will try to figure out why it is that to provide a cleaner solution.

    • MaDMaLKaV

      I was sleepy when I tried that and skipped a step, I just retried and it can install grub efi without need of refind perfectly.

  52. This was sooooo amazingly helpful! Thank you. I have linux mint working awesomely

  53. Saagar Arya

    how can I do this with Cloud Ready?

  54. Nicky Maragos

    Hi Everyone.

    Just to add my experience. After much struggle to get a linux distro to even run by CD ( the test or live cd ) – the closest i ever got was the “press 1 or press 2 to boot option” , even the fast 1-enter -1enter did not work – well i did get the 1 to appear a few times.

    So i grabed the Linux Mint 18.1 Cinnamon “Serena” (64-bit Mac) – untested , downloaded on my windows machine and used imgburn to burn the iso to a CD

    I powered up the macbook 2007 2.1 , loaded osx10.6 as per normal , installed the dvd , then shut down the macbook.

    I restarted the macbook, help the option key and eventually the option of the osx Macintosh harddrive or windows appeared , Arrow left and enter and i was running Linux Mint within 2 to 4 minues , a few error message came up in the background terminal , but eventually the linux desktop came up fine

    As i have been using / testing linux mint on my Windows machine in a virtual box i decided to add some new life into the macbook – everything still works with 10.6 so far but it is surprising how much we rely on internet and youtube these days – firefox has stopped being updated for 10.6 , and i guess it will be fine for many years to come.

    But like my other mac laptop a G4 Ibook i find it still works as a great word processor and early games machine,, use VLC player for movies as long as they are not highly compressed – codex, i can use 104 for the browser but as of 2016 i just cant watch any youtube – so 1 small item and it makes the computer obsolete

    The only drawback is that i have used puppy linux of a cd or usd and stored in ram , and it has the option to save a config or swap file on the hard drive so that it gets all the machine variables right and boots quicker, a shame this version of mint does not do that , it would make placing the dvd and booting much faster

    Matt – thank you for all of the hard work on this issue for our specific versions of macbook ( i do also have a imac 5.1 i will try this on as well – yes 3 mac pc’s in the house )

  55. Edwin Brietz

    I am about to try this with a iMac5,1 I am going to buy soon. I will probably pick Ubuntu or OpenSuse. I want gnome 3 so as to keep a similar DE. I hope I can find a keyboard and mouse that will look good with it!

  56. Thanks! Your script worked for me to install Solus MATE on an iMac 5,1. I installed the Broadcom wifi drivers and all is good.

  57. Tom Cranston

    I burned to a DVD. The DVD boots on the
    Mac. Took a while to come up. I began to wonder if it goes directly to
    install, or live session. I turned the machine off as I want to see how
    well it works in live session as I do not want to wipe OS 10.6.8 yet.

    Anybody know if boots to live session?

  58. Tom Cranston

    Does boot to live session like the official version from mint does? I just want to run it live to see how it performs on a MacBook. I may or may not want to install. I do not want to install right now. Mint came up but was taking a long time to get to the desktop so I was worried that maybe it was automagically trying to install so shutdown.

  59. Thank you so much Matt, you definitely cracked the blocking point to install a modern distro on the Mac mini 2.1 and unlicking its 64 bit potential, I amso grateful!!

    For newbies like me who like to keep things simple here are the steps I followed to get a dual boot:

    1- Partition the main HD (Shrink the OS X partition and and leave 20Gb Free Space for Linux)
    2- Install REFind (not sure I needed to do that but it felt reassuring)
    3- Download the amd64 distro of Lubuntu 17.04
    4- Modify it using your little C program
    5- Burn it on a DVD
    6- Boot Lubuntu from the DVD (will not work if step 4 is not done, as Matt explains very well on his page)
    7- Run the normal Lubuntu Install – it detects the free space on the main HD and installs Lubuntu gracefully alongside Mac OS X

    Now when I boot I have the REFind menu and then the GRUB menu, which seems redundant, but apart from that everything works fine and most importantly, I didn’t break the OS X installation.

    I hope this helps your visitors, it took me a lot of trial and error (goose chase to try and boot from a USB Key, trying to boot several distros from DVD, etc.) to get to a simple path to install this dual boot.

    Tanks again

  60. David Monroe

    I have Ubuntu 14.04 installed and working on a Mac Pro 1,1 already, but I want to upgrade due to some weirdness with NFS. Does anyone know if it’ll screw the pooch if I try to do a distribution upgrade in place without actually grabbing an ISO and installing from scratch?

    • Don’t know of how much guidance this will be, but when I’d originally attempted upgrades on the white Macbook (and had partitioned with EFI rather than MBR), the upgrades were very hit and miss. I seem to recall at least one LTS -> LTS working but upgrading to other releases often wrecked the boot loader.

      When I used MBR I didn’t run into the issue during upgrades, but since the internet was very slow here and each update took overnight, I only went through the process as minimally as possible.

      If you decide to take the plunge, make sure you’ve got a backup handy and a bootable install DVD (test it first to make sure it boots) just in case!

      Edit: should probably add, since the drives in the Mac Pro are a little more accessible, if you happen to have an extra hard drive kicking around you could always consider adding it temporarily and cloning your drive. Then if the upgrade falls apart just clone back to the original drive.

      • David Monroe

        I’m not even 100% sure how my drive is partitioned (I’m at work at the moment). I’m assuming it’s MBR since 14.04 or is sort of old and I installed Linux clean with defaults – there is no Mac OS left on this system.

        I’ll be sure to try going to another LTS.

        This is my Kodi system. While I was typing I had a “Duh!” moment. I have all my movies, TV Shows etc… on other drives, my boot drive really only has the OS, a few programs, and a few videos that don’t fit any indexed category that don’t matter much anyways. I can totally put a different hard drive in and install to that, then put my media back without it being much of an issue. I can even copy my old FSTAB over and get the drives mounting back exactly where they were before and probably can copy my Kodi config files too.

        You’ve been a great help, I’m not sure why I didn’t already think of this considering I sort of did this before when I switched from Mac OS to Linux (I got way too many interruptions from Apple specific stuff and Chrome telling me it was out of date and couldn’t be updated on Mac OS – there wasn’t a way to turn a lot of those warnings off).

      • David Monroe

        So, long story short, I yelled “Leroy Jenkins!” as loud as I could, didn’t unplug any drives and sat at my workstation and did the upgrade over SSH and VNC from 14.04 to 16.04.

        It worked great.

        My NFS issue is gone and I was able to mount up the movie drive via NFS on my 1st Gen Apple TV running OSMC. I went ahead and re-added the Kodi repository afterward before even booting into the Kodi desktop (I have it setup as a window manager) then “installed” it again so there wouldn’t be version issues. I’m in the clear.

        FYI – I’m not a big Apple fan despite the Apple TV and the old Mac Pro. It’s all a bunch of happenstance that I have this stuff, but I’ve long been a fan of Mac Pro’s for being being great server-class hardware that can usually be picked up at a reasonable price on the used market. The fact this 11ish year old computer is still in use is a testament to that.

        So, between your experience and my experience I’m going to declare “14.04 to 16.04 on an ancient Mac is probably okay”.

  61. dtonlinux

    Do you guys use Linux exclusively on your Mac Pros or still keep OS X on it too? Thanks for all the ISOs by the way Matt.

    • Jonathan B

      I have El Capitan and Debian Jessie dual booting on my Mac Pro 2,1. Both work great!

  62. Hi, can you make linux dvd images for the older mac minis that are not intel based. So far the best i got to work on a Mac mini that can’t be upgraded past Leopard 10.5.8 was Ubuntu 12.04 powerpc iso for G4 or G5’s ( didn’t try the alternate yet but i suspect it might also work). So is that ubuntu and XBMC for Ubuntu the best i can do with my Mac Mini ? Or Can you help me get Linux Mint or Open SUSE on it ?!?! or OSMC or Android or a Iatkos Hackintosh if your a genius !!!lol!!! Just wishful thinking maybe… but great work !!!

    • This is something you’ll have to look around a bit for – distro support for the old powerpc stuff is pretty hit and miss these days, and creating a PPC installer isn’t quite as simple as the little C program here.

      If you just want a newer version of Ubuntu-*something*, some of the derivatives seem to have support ( has a desktop powerpc iso for Ubuntu MATE). I believe Ubuntu still caries updated server images for PPC also if you’re willing to try installing the server and then manually installing a desktop environment from the command line.

      As for Mint or openSUSE, if a couple searches don’t come up with anything, you could ask in their respective support forums (or on reddit). Just ask if there’s a PowerPC installer available – you’ll usually find someone super-familiar with the distro who’ll know whether there are official (or unofficial) builds for a certain architecture.

      Good luck!

  63. I just wanted to say thank you for posting this. I spent almost three weeks trying to figure out why I couldn’t get my iMac to recognize 64-bit media and why it’d boot, but couldn’t load 32-bit media. This was great as it gave me the understanding, language, and tools to make it work. I’m trying the isomacprog on an Arch Anywhere ISO now.

    • Hello, again. Maybe you can help me out. I can not seem to get GRUB installed correctly with Arch. No matter which –target I use the system won’t boot. I even tried Arch Anywhere and Archbang. How did you install GRUB?

  64. Pietro Leone

    Hi, thanks for your work, it gave me some hope to use again my MacPro 1.1 (32GiB RAM, damn Apple and her crap custom EFI). I installed CentOS7 using your iso on my MacPro 1.1 (August 2006), I succeeded in installing it, but I cannot boot from HDD. If I try using CentOS rescue to boot from the first HDD (the only one) I get “no boot device”. Even reFind seems not to find any bootable device.The CentOS device does not appear when I try alt-boot. Any suggestion?

    • I don’t think anyone’s confirmed the CentOS full DVD install working, though one person got the minimal version working in the comments below and I’m not sure why the full version would be any different. In any case, it might be worth trying to temporarily install Ubuntu 16.04 (I’ve used that one and know it works).

      If Ubuntu 16.04 works, then we’ve narrowed down the issue to something CentOS-specific. Let me know in this case and I’ll put a note by the CentOS image indicating it may not be working.

      If Ubuntu 16.04 *doesn’t* work, then it might be an issue with the hard drive still being GPT. If you’re not dual-booting you can use parted or fdisk to re-create the partition table as MBR (“ms-dos”), though this will wipe anything else currently on the drive. If you *are* dual booting, and assuming it’s with OS X, you’ll have to let Bootcamp run at least once and create a bootcamp partition since it converts from GPT to hybrid gpt/mbr during the bootcamp process – at that point you can erase the boot camp partition and attempt the linux install beside OS X.

      Someone else may have a better idea but that’s the route I’d personally go.

      • Pietro Leone

        Hi, thanks for your answer, I tried the CentOS minimal install, I need CentOS because I am studying for RHCA and my MacPro still has enough horsepower and memory for being a decent training server. I already checked the HDD and partition type is msdos.
        I’ll give Ubuntu a try and I will give you a feedback.

        Thanks, Pietro.

  65. Thank you, your setup it does work.

  66. Darin Brunet

    I can confirm the Korora 25 image works just fine with an 2006 iMac C2D 5,1 20″ Runs good but took some fudging for the screen res to work. All good to go!

  67. one comment regarding the MacBook Air 1,1 it´s easier than any other one, i have used a superdrive

  68. Mike Bougie

    Hey! Thank you so much for putting this together! I have an old Mac Pro 1,1 that is sitting under the stairs gathering dust because I couldn’t figure this stuff out.

    If you could do an Ubuntu Server option, I would really appreciate it!

    • Hey Mike. Server options are now up (Ubuntu 17.04 and 16.04.2 LTS). You may have to shift-refresh the page for them to show up.

      • Mike Bougie

        Dude! Thank you!

        • Crud. I’ve burned the ISO to DVD, and when I reboot holding “C”, the rEFInd menu shows up but with no bootable disks! I tried other methods of getting Ubuntu on this machine and one of the options required rEFInd to be installed. Any advice?

      • Mike Bougie

        Crud. I’ve burned the ISO to DVD, and when I reboot holding “C”, the rEFInd menu shows up but with no bootable disks! I tried other methods of getting Ubuntu on this machine and one of the options required rEFInd to be installed. Any advice?

        • I’d be inclined to hold the Option key instead of “C” to get the boot menu showing (and verify it sees the disk). Holding “C” isn’t great because if it doesn’t boot from the disk you don’t know whether the disk has an issue or if you just mis-timed pressing down the key. If the boot menu comes up but doesn’t see the disk, my first inclination would be to burn something else to a DVD (Memtest86+, Windows ISO, etc) and see if the machine recognizes it – if it doesn’t, it could be a finicky drive, problematic optical media, or something else, but at least it narrows down the scope of what you might be chasing down.

  69. Ole Hilde

    Hey! Debian 9 “Stretch” is just released. Can you please, lay out 64-bit DVD Images for the 32 bit EFI?

  70. Matt, would you be so kind as to post UbuntuMATE? 16.04 and 17.04?

    • Hey Chris,

      Sure. They should be up now in the Ubuntu section (shift-refresh page if they don’t show immediately).

      • Matt! your awesome. Thank you. One last request… Korora MATE version please…

        Trying to keep my 2006 Mac Mini alive, lol. Wanted to use elementary and it did load but was very laggy (i think the GMA950 was screaming for help). I then tried solus but it wouldn’t boot the iso. So then I tried Korora 25 Gnome and it loaded and was decent (its gorgeous) but had a little lag. This mac only has 2GB ram so I think I have to use a MATE distro to be a little more lightweight. I have to narrowed down to UbuntuMATE and Korora MATE. Thanks again.

        • Korora MATE 25 is up now. If you find it and/or Ubuntu really struggling with the 2GB RAM, note that Debian variants tends to be a bit lighter on the memory usage. LXDE and XFCE desktop environments tend to be lighter as well, though not everyone enjoys the aesthetics.

          Anyway, good luck!

  71. Hi, my friend has an old iMac 5.1 Wouldn’t it be easier to just install a 32bit distro? Eg Mint with Xfce? What is the benefit of 64bit?

    • Sure, going with a 32-bit variant is certainly easier and is a perfectly reasonable route to go.

      As for benefits of going the 64-bit route, Michael Larabel of Phoronix does periodic 32vs64-bit benchmarks. I’ll link of a couple of the more recent ones in case you’re interested: (Ubuntu 16.04) (Power consumption)

      …depending on the workload, you can see a (sometimes substantial) performance increase. Of course in other workloads you may not see any tangible increase.

      Worth noting that as a general benefit, 64-bit can natively (ie not through PAE) use more than 4GB of RAM. This is a little less relevant for the Macs of this specific era though (2006-early2007) since most tended to be capped at the hardware level to either 2GB or 4GB – obvious exception here being the MacPro which can handle something like 16 or 32GB. I believe the iMac 5.1 your friend has only supports 2GB or so max, so this isn’t something that’ll affect them.

      Where things *can* come into play is compatibility. Most of the 64-bit Linux distros support “multilib” which result in them being able to run both 32-bit and 64-bit programs. So there isn’t a real down-side to using a 64-bit variant here. On the other hand, 32-bit can only run 32-bit programs. If you’re just using packages offered by your distro this won’t really matter since they’re using free open source software and will build both 32 and 64-bit versions. However, if you’re using closed-source software, some if it is being offered in only 64-bit variants. An example here would be something like Autodesk Maya which has been 64-bit only on Linux since Maya 2009. To be clear, I’m not suggesting that Maya is a common or even reasonable use case for these older macs – just that from time to time you’ll run into something that won’t work on a 32-bit distro, particularly if you need something from the closed-source realm.

      Looking forward, a number of distros have toyed with the idea of dropping 32-bit support. It’s a lot of extra time and work for them to maintain. I believe openSUSE, Arch, and Solus are 64-bit only at this point.

      All that said, I don’t think anyone would fault you for just sticking with a 32-bit distro on the iMac 5,1. It’s an older machine with < 4GB RAM, there are 32-bit versions of distros available that should install/run right out of the box, and by the time Mint or whichever distro you choose decides to drop 32-bit support (assuming they do one day), the iMac might be old enough to have been retired anyway.

      • Hi Matt, thanks for your extensive reply and explanation. I was away for the summer and read it just now. I think I will go ahead and just install the 32bit distro, and maybe worry again in a couple of years 😀

  72. PreparedPatriot

    Matt — great service you are providing for those of us with MacBooks that need a maintained OS…

    Could you convert and make available the 64-bit Mac version of Linux Mint 18.1 XFCE?

    I have so far been unsuccessful in using the compiled isomacprog on the standard LM XFCE 18.1 release. I’m compiling & running it in LM Mate 18.1. Seems to compile fine, but always gives an error when run against the .iso copy:

    $ ./isomacprog linuxmint-18.1-64bit-mac.iso
    bash: ./isomacprog: Permission denied

    ls -l shows:

    $ ls -l isomacprog
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 abc def 11744 Jun 22 14:20 isomacprog

    Running as sudo doesn’t work:

    $ sudo ./isomacprog linuxmint-18.1-64bit-mac.iso
    [sudo] password for abc:
    sudo: unable to execute ./isomacprog: Permission denied

    A mystery to me at this point. If you could provide that converted .iso, I (& others?) would be most appreciative. If anyone has any thoughts on why I might be seeing these errors and unable to run the C program, I’d love to see them. Many thanks. M, aka PP

    • Mint XFCE 18.1 should be up on the page now, 2nd item in the Mint section (shift-refresh the page if it doesn’t show immediately).

      Not sure on the “Permission denied” bit – most common cause is if you’re missing executable permissions (+x) but according to your “ls” output, that looks just fine! Any guesses I’d have would be random shots in the dark (some ACL, SELinux, weird compilation issue, etc). I’d rather not send you down all those rabbit holes though, so maybe someone else has a good idea and will be willing to chime in.

      • PreparedPatriot

        Matt – a gold star to you for your promptness! I’ll report back on how the install goes. I presume I can just run it against the OS X 10.6.8 freshly re-installed on my MacBook 2,1 with the MBR selection you noted above?

        The compile issue remains a serious mystery. I’ve tried it several ways, checked to make sure I have gcc properly installed (I do; newest version in the LM Mate repo), chmod +x, and still no-go. Research on Stackoverflow & other search hits all suggest that I’m doing it correctly.

        It’s probably the Roosians messing with me!

        Will try the install tomorrow afternoon. Thanks again.

        • The 10.6.8 install will have created a GPT partition table.

          If you’re planning to install *beside* 10.6.8, you’ll want to run bootcamp beforehand so that it converts the partition table to hybrid GPT/MBR.

          If you’re planning to wipe the drive with 10.6.8 and completely install over it, then just ensuring you wipe the partition table and let it create an MBR table should suffice. To be *sure* that the partition table is wiped with a new MBR table created, you can pop into a terminal from the Live DVD right before the install and use either:
          parted /dev/sda mklabel msdos (replace sda with the drive if applicable)
          fdisk -t dos /dev/sda (replace sda with the drive if applicable)
          Obviously don’t do those if going the dual-boot method since it’ll wipe whatever’s on the drive. If you’re not sure whether the hard drive is /dev/sda or is something else, the LiveCDs usually include some sort of GUI partition manager, or you can use “fdisk -l”. I usually restart the machine after changing partition tables just to ensure the changes have been picked up before doing a re-install since I’ve had some OS installers get confused in the past, but that may be a bit overkill.

          • PreparedPatriot

            Thanks for this helpful info. I’m wiping it. I really like 10.6.8, and it’s been a good OS, but too many newer programs I’ve loaded that I need to use either don’t work or cause problems. And given that this was the last white MacBook that could not be upgraded past Snow Leopard — time to ensure that I can get some additional years (I hope) of use from it. I had a dual boot with LM Mate for a while, but ReFind was always problematic and glitchy — and it’s instruction pages are too opaque.

            Windows was out for me almost 20 years ago for Red Hat, Fedora, SUSE, OpenSUSE, and now LM, and now OSX is gone too.

            Thank goodness for stable, maintained, and advancing *nix OS choices.

            Hail Linus!

  73. Avon Nova

    Thank you for the service!!
    I am trying to install Ubuntu onto my Mac Pro 1,1 with your ubuntu iso.
    The mac detected the “Window” in the boot menu, however, it got stuck at the bios black screen after selecting.
    The Screen shows only the Bios version and a blinking underscore and nothing else.

    Please advice!!! Thank you!!!!

    • I’d start by making sure the iso you downloaded wasn’t corrupted. If you downloaded it on a linux distro, “md5sum imagename.iso”. If you downloaded on a Mac, “md5 imagename.iso”. It should spit out the md5 checksum and you can compare it to what’s listed on the page here. If it doesn’t match, you’ll have to try re-downloading the image.

      If the md5 checked out, you may want to try the Ubuntu 16.04 image I’d put up – it’s the only Ubuntu image I’ve personally tested, though that was on the Macbook 2,1.

      If even *that* doesn’t work, barring some possible issue with burning the DVD… I’m not sure. If someone else ran into a similar situation on the Mac Pro 1,1 hopefully they’ll chime in.

      • Avon Nova

        Thank you Matt for your speedy reply,
        I’ve checked the md5 and they are identical.
        Next, I have tried 16.04 as well. Still no luck.
        The DVD is all good, plays DVD well and its fine when i reinstall ios Lion.

        Anyone, please help.

        • One last shot from my end and then I’m out of ideas.

          If you’ve still got Lion installed, double-check to see if you’re on the latest firmware. I peaked through the firmware history and it looks like the latest one for the MacPro 1,1 addressed boot camp issues of some sort, which *might* mean it addressed something in the boot loader. Of course, it might not. But it could be worth giving a try.

          If interested in giving it a try, it’s under the Mac Pro section at: (the EFI update, not the SMC update).

  74. Anonymous

    Please, an Ubuntu Gnome version!

    • Ubuntu GNOME 16.04.2 and 17.04 are both up now. Note however that Ubuntu GNOME is likely to be discontinued, as Ubuntu is moving their default DE from Unity to GNOME in the near future (aiming for 17.10 IIRC). While hopefully they’ll have an upgrade path from derivativeGNOME->defaultGNOME, I don’t know if anything has been decided or confirmed here yet.

  75. Hi Matt.
    Thanks for this! Am new to Linux and struggled for some time until I discovered this page. I then tried installing via usb, and also target disk mode from another mac… Eventually i got lucky by fixing my superdrive (opened it up and fiddled with the laser) and now have ubuntu 16.04 on my old MBP2,2! Fantastic! and Thanks! The trackpad response however is ‘jittery’. Ive read into mtrack but some users werent so lucky with it and I dont think my mbp has multi-touch…? Perhaps you/ someone else here has had a similar issue and can advise on a trackpad driver for old machines? Thanks!

    • I seem to recall the White Macbook being jittery in GNOME (the cursor jumped around even with a stationary finger), but Ubuntu with Unity 7 had actually worked quite well for me so I’m a bit surprised to hear that 16.04 is acting up.

      In any case, I’d never actually tracked down the cause, but hopefully someone who’s sucessfully tackled the situation can provide a bit more insight.

  76. Can I ask, please, for Fedora 26 ISO image? 🙂

  77. Hi Matt, thanks for the information in this article; I’m shortly going to be reviving an old MacBook Pro which is “in the same boat” as you say, so it’s great to foresee some things that may go wrong.

    I do have one question actually: I notice that many of your pre-built images above (for example Debian, Ubuntu, etc) seem to be based on amd64 stock images. So I’m wondering now, what it is that I don’t understand – since I believe all the affected MacBook Pro models would have (Intel) Core2Duo processors?

    Well hopefully you will see this message; thanks in any case!


    • Hey Dave, even though it’s called “amd64”, it’s essentially the 64-bit edition for both Intel and AMD processors. AMD’s the one who essentially came up with the 64-bit implementation we all use nowadays. Basically years ago Intel was working on their own 64-bit architecture (you can look up “Itanium” if you’re interested in the history there), but for a lot of reasons it didn’t really take off and Intel kinda threw in the towel there (mostly) and adopted AMD’s 64-bit implementation for the mass market chips.

  78. Hi. I tried the elementary version on my macbook 2.1 and the installation was trouble free. Unfortunately the performance of elementary on this system is a bit sluggish, so I think I need something lighter. Any chance you could create a puppy linux version? Thanks

    • Hey Kane, I wasn’t sure which variant you were looking for and haven’t looked into Puppy a whole lot, so I went with Puppy Slacko 6.3.2 which seemed to be the more common image that was clearly both 64-bit and EFI by default.

      It should be in the list below Elementary – you may have to shift-refresh the page for it to show up due to browser caching.

      • Thanks Matt. That’s awesome. Much appreciated!

        • I’m not a gamer and don’t have a steam account. Is there another way I can make a donation to support your work?

          • I definitely appreciate the thought, but I don’t really have anything set up in terms of direct donations. I do have some custom Amazon ads on the site – if you were planning to do some shopping on Amazon anyway and decide to visit Amazon through one of those links, I do get a small cut if you purchase anything from them within 24 hours of that visit (even if it’s an unrelated product). If not though, don’t worry about it 🙂

  79. Thanks so much for offering these images. I had no idea that there was a 32 bit EFI for a 64 bit machine! This site has breathed life into my MacBook Pro2,2.

  80. Thank you very much!

    Your ISO allowed me to install Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on my trusty old MacBook Pro 2,2

  81. I downloaded Elementary os 0.4 iso and installed it on a mac mini 2.1 (intel core 2duo 2Ghz, 4Gb ram, 256Gb hdd, mac os x 10.6.8). Works great! Thank you!

  82. Scott Edgins

    Hi Matt! I have tried and tried to create Lubuntu 17.04 and am doing something wrong. I would love to put lubuntu on 06 imac. Thanks

    • Hey Scott,

      It should be up in the list now, about 1/2 way through the Ubuntu section (shift-refresh page if it doesn’t show immediately).

      Note that your iMac would have to be from late 2006 (iMac 5,1 – iMac 5,2 – iMac 6,1) to use this 64-bit version, as the ones from early/mid 2006 (the iMac 4,x models) don’t have 64-bit support and thus you’d need to get the 32-bit version of Lubuntu for those.

  83. Attempted to install Linux Mint XFCE Serena on a Mac Mini with 64 bit processor. The machine would boot but couldn’t detect the 64 bit processor properly. So switched to the stock 32 bit version of Linux Mint and it worked fine. The machine only has 2 GB RAM and I doubt very much the RAM will ever be upgraded. Also, just refurbishing it to give it away and so not that big a deal.

  84. I’m attempting to install your ubuntu 16.04 iso onto an imac 6,1. The iso is burned onto a DVD-r however it will not show within the boot manager on the imac. Boot manager is completely empty with only the mouse to show. Does attempting to install this onto a Samsung 840 evo ssd within the imac introduce any possible complications?

    • I’d be surprised if a hard drive affected whether the DVD shows up in the boot menu… possible I suppose though. It might be worth booting from an OS X DVD just to make sure the drive’s working. If so, maybe check to see if the drive can read burned DVD’s – sometimes when optical drives get older they get picky about burned media.

      Maybe someone else will chime in with some other advice.

  85. Thank you for posting those DVD-images and how to make them.
    I’ve installed your Linux Mint 18.1 Cinnamon “Serena” on a 2006 A211 Macbook Pro and everything works out of the box.
    The only thing I could not yet get to work was the @-character on the Swiss-German keyboard It is not where Macs have it and not at AltGr-2 where it would be on the Swiss Keyboard on a PC.

  86. Hi Matt,
    thanks a lot for the article. You saved my bacon.
    I ran the ISO modifier on the CentOS 6.9 minimal image and it installed fine on my Mac Pro 1,1.

  87. Thank you Matt for your great work. I had lots of trouble getting Linux on my 17 Intel iMac 4,1. With your help I can boot elementary without any issues.
    What about Kubuntu? Have you tried it yet? Would love to get an ISO from you!

    Thanks again!

  88. Hi Matt,
    thanks for your help. Finally I got Linux on my Macbook 2.1 and Imac 5.1.
    My problem was that in both devices the CDROM is broken. With the Macbook I managed to boot from an xternal USB CDROM this image: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Desktop (64-bit Mac) – 1.4 GB
    Interesting enough the Ubuntu 17.04, Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 do not boot.
    I created a CD with the Xubuntu 17.04 mini distro. This one booted but the installation did not go through.
    The Xubuntu 17.04 adopted with your isomactool did not boot either.
    Just wanted to let you/people know.

    I am really happy and greatfull!
    Thanks a lot!

  89. I have to revice my statement above: The Xubuntu 17.04 does boot, but:
    I neede to restart OSX, hit reboot and then choose the CD image in the USB CDROM in refind. now it is working.

  90. alan rodriguez

    Any chance you’d be interested in creating an iso for LinuxMint 18.2 KDE version ? pls

  91. Hey Matt,

    I have been hunting around finding ways to update or repurpose my Dad’s old iMac 5,1 2006 and stumbled across this. Just to clarify, by booting and installing one of these Linux distros it will be the only OS right? Because I don’t want dual boot – and if that’s the case I assume that the install will take care of managing the boot process etc.

    • If there is any data (Documents, Pictures, etc) on the old system, you will need to save it first to an external drive. When you boot into Linux installation, you can format the drive which will essentially erase the old partitions and establish new Linux partitions. The choice you probably want will be to allow Linux to ‘use the entire drive’. Linux will then partition it automatically for the installation. The old Mac system will be completely wiped out.

      • Thanks Dan – that is what I assumed but wanted to check as I have had a decent amount of experience installing Ubuntu and variants on pcs but not on macs. Cheers for your help and cheers Matt for your work.

  92. Running Linux Mint 18.1 Serena 64 bit OS on a 17″ iMac4,1 Core Duo 1.83GHz. Was this supposed to work? Works very nicely with 2GB RAM. Installed the MacBuntu 16.04 Transformation Pack (Mac icon set) for Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus and Plank dock from NoobsLab. The only Wireless Broadcom drivers that worked are Legacy; the rest were duds. Also installed the Intel microcode drivers. Runs better than Mac OS X Lion! However, none of the available webcam programs worked (Cheese, Camorama, Kamoso…) Any thoughts?

    • SaintVitusCrush

      You’ll have to install the iSight firmware and a program that does it for you. It’s isight-firmware-tools, but the real tricky part is extracting the firmware from a Mac that has it. It’s stored in /System/Library/Extensions/IOUSBFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleUSBVideoSupport.kext/Contents/MacOS/AppleUSBVideoSupport in Mac OS X/macOS.

      Instructions here:

  93. Jared Rousselle

    Any chance you can make a lubuntu. Iso file, using an late 2006 macbook pro

    • Jared Rousselle

      Macbook pro 2,2

      • Hey Jared,

        I’ve got lubuntu under the Ubuntu section (Lubuntu 17.04 (LXDE) (64-bit Mac) – 912 MB). If you need a different version let me know.

        • I finally saw it thank you. I tried Linux mint 18.1 Serena but gave up after it failed to load past refind. Got stuck on black screen with blinking cursor. I’m using a macbook pro 2.2. would a single boot be better/ easier. I have no use for mac os x anymore

          • Single boot’s almost always easier! However, if bootcamp was never installed, you may need to ensure that you wipe/partition the drive with an MBR partition table before formatting since OSX generally will have used a GUID partition table which may cause hiccups. You may also want to keep an OS X install disc around too just in case you end up changing your mind.

  94. There is no need to continue to make this images for Debian, the official mixed mode efi install media is made for this scenarios -64 bits systems with 32 bit efis-.

  95. Anyone had any luck with booting these from a USB thumb drive? (my superdrive is puking)

  96. top man, i’m running an old Mac Pro 1,1 (2006) it has a flashed PC graphics card and a modified boot loader to support later “Non” supported Mac Os X. I’ve been racking my brains trying to get a 64bit Linux system on without the use of a VM.

    I’m yet to try these instructions, so thank you once again for the work. 🙂

  97. Thank you! The Kali Linux image posted does not work – it fails part way through install. I was able to download the current 2017.2 x64 image and successfully modify it.

  98. hi all,
    and here is a supplement to the nice job started by Matt:

    put his iso on to usb stick

    have fun

    • wanji is there a ” more readable version ” on how to make a usb bootable on the 32 bits efi mac , probably one using just unetbootin , and bootia32.efi ?

  99. Hi,
    I am relatively new in distros Linux. I have a Kubuntu and xfce already installed on an old Dell laptop, and it works fine. Now I have got an old Imac 5.1 / Intel Core duo, 2,16 Ghz with 1,5 Ghz SDRAM already partitioned in 3 patitions; MacOs Leopard , Snow Leopard, and Data all formatted in HFs+. I have tried to try/eventually install on the Data partition various linux distros (Manjaro-net x86 or Arch Linux all previously .iso files burnt on CD ). With Manjaro I didn’t get further than ” select CD-Rom boot … ” and then .. was blocked. I tried then with your “ ” it booted ok till a terminal window popped out and asked for a command… ? Preferably I would like first to test the Arch before installing. Any advise ? Thank you very much

    • Hopefully someone can chime in who’s used Manjaro/Arch on one of these older macs (I haven’t – while I generated the ISO for the archlinux I have up here, I haven’t tested it).

      In the meantime, unless you’ve done a few Arch/Manjaro installs on other machines, you might want to consider trying an ISO above for one of the more common distros (ie Ubuntu) just to make sure you can get something up and running. That way if you hit an issue, you’ll know it’s not something simply imposed by the Arch/Manj learning curve. If you can get Ubuntu running on a 3rd partition, then you’re in a good place to wipe it and try installing another distro.

      However, keep in mind that trying to set up dual-boot tends to be significantly more complicated/perilous regardless. If your entire “Data” partition is intended for a Linux distro, you might want to consider running Bootcamp from SL (as though you’re wiping Data and creating a new partition for Windows), and then from your selected Linux distro wipe the new bootcamp partition and create a new one for distro. The reason for this convoluted process is to ensure that Mac OS changes it’s partition table from EFI to the Hybrid (which it does during the bootcamp process, and which is less likely to choke up your Linux install).

      Hmm… that came out longer than expected. Maybe someone else who reads this has a more simple/easy solution here.

      • Thxs Matt; i followed your suggestions and installed 16.04 LTS Ubuntu from your .iso file burnt on DVD-R.
        Also previously I formatted in Fat32 the DATA partition; so when the installer asked me where to install the Ubuntu LTS I indicated this partition. During process I also changed extension to .ext4 and put a slash for the indexing ( i suppose ?) At this point I wasn’t expecting my Imac to be able to boot on any partition so I burnt a very useful CD made by reFind just in case … I used it and it worked well as a CD-boot ( option key on start ) and I was able to choose any of the 3 partitions ( 2 Macos + Ubuntu ). I chose Ubuntu and updated the system and shut down the computer. On restart with option key dwn, …the 3 boot choices appeared .. at this point i have to do now is optimize Ubuntu or try to install something lighter. Would Manjaro still be a good choice ? Thxs for your patience and attention – great blog

        • As far as something lighter goes, I believe Debian with either XFCE or LXDE (don’t recall which) has the lightest footprint of the common distros. Most other distros (including Ubuntu) with XFCE/LXDE tend not to be terribly far behind, mind you. As far as Manjaro goes, you mentioned previously that you’re new to Linux distros and I wouldn’t tend to point someone new to Linux towards Manjaro (or Arch, despite the excellent wiki). Someone else might disagree with me here though.

          It’s worth noting that Ubuntu 17.10 is due out in about a week or so, and will include GNOME as a desktop environment. So if you’re not in a huge rush, it might be worth waiting a bit, grabbing the update, and trying out GNOME to see how the performance compares to Unity just in case it happens to be better rather than worse (I haven’t checked).

  100. Thanks for the great advice, I have followed everything to the letter.

    Unfortunately when I run the C program, I get this message:

    Last login: Sun Oct 15 13:17:35 on ttys000
    Xxxxx’s-MacBook-Pro:~ Xxxxx$ /Users/xxxxx/isomacpr ; exit;
    No iso name assigned
    Saving session…
    …copying shared history…
    …saving history…truncating history files…

    [Process completed]

    All I have done is change my username above to five X’s. The rest of the message is exactly as it appears on screen.

    What have I done wrong, please?

    Many thanks,


  101. David Slevin

    Wow, days looking for a solution! Downloading Slacko now to try out. Originally I was looking to install Apodio 11 multimedia distro or one of the Ubuntu Studio cd’s. I’ll try DIY first..
    Many Thanks.

  102. Hey! Congratulations for your job! Could you upload Manjaro 17.05 64bits? I will appreciate it, I would like to try myself but I don’t know how to work with “C” programming. Thanks in advance

    • Manjaro XFCE should be up, below the Arch section (shift-refresh page if it doesn’t show immediately). XFCE is the first one they listed so I went with it – if you need a different DE let me know.

  103. Kali Linux will not install, Install Fails during the system install. iMac 5,1 20016 17″ 2.2Ghz Core 2 Duo T7200

  104. Great!!! Thanks so much, I will try it on my MacBook…!

  105. Alan Rodriguez

    Matt, how can I do to activate the third level of keys 🙁 I can not use “@” in almost no distro, only in ubuntu, any solution?

  106. Hi! I found your post very interesting and it answer to my evening fighting against the image of Ubuntu Budgie distro.

    Can you make the 32bit image distro?

    Thank you a lot!

    • Hey Eduardo,

      The 32-bit images should generally work fine as-is, since there shouldn’t be any conflict with the Mac’s 32-bit EFI. It’s just the 64-bit ones that generally have to be modified (since the Mac’s 32-bit EFI causes problems there even though the machines are otherwise 64-bit capable).

      So chances are you can simply download and install the i386 version from the link you provided.

      • Hi Matt! Thank for your answer.

        I was yesterday trying to boot the OS on my mac with no chance. When i try to flash it (ok, i’m using USB) i saw an error with the UEFI/EFI system, so I start to investigate the issue and then i found your post.

        I really don’t understand what is the issue and certaintly it is beyond my knowledge, but i’m not able to load the Ubuntu Budgie live image on my MacBook 3.1 and I have try many other flavours. I love Budgie since i try Solus, but i love Ubuntu too, so it is my perfect OS.

        Sadly i can’t install it, so i think maybe with your trick i finally can.

        I’m very thankfull with you!

        • Hey Eduardo,

          I just gave the program a shot on that ISO (just in case), but the output file comes out the same as the input (no change).

          You mentioned you’re using USB – it might be worth trying to burn to a DVD instead. Booting from USB tends to be quite a bit more fickle.

          If DVD’s not an option (due to an optical drive being toast for example), a really roundabout way of getting things going is to pull the hard drive and plop it into a desktop computer to do the install – then toss back into the Macbook afterwards. Pulling the hard drive in these older Macbooks isn’t too hard – if I remember right, to pull the hard drive you’ve gotta take out the battery which gives you access to 4 small screws on an L-plate – once those screws are out the drive can be accessed from the smaller side. iFixit probably has a guide out there that shows the process with pics. It’s a standard 2.5 inch drive, so as long as you’re not using an ancient desktop it’ll usually plug right in to the power + SATA. Only really annoying part is that sometimes those 4 screws are either really tight or want to crossthread when going back in later.

          If you decide to go the “pull the hard drive” route, you could always consider upgrading to an SSD at the same time since it’s a simple swap with the standard sized SSD’s and since these things are pretty RAM-limited it helps with all the constant hard drive accesses. I had one in the Macbook here for awhile – thing booted a lot quicker and was noticeably more responsive.

          • Thank you for yours answers!!

            i don’t understand what do you mean with this: I just gave the program a shot on that ISO (just in case), but the output file comes out the same as the input (no change). but if you are talking about to remove the HDD to do the installation i asume it mean that is not possible.

            I appreciate yours advice and i don’t know what i will to do in the future.

            It seems that it will not be install Budgie ;0) but maybe Mate (your version works in USB)

            Thank you a lot!

          • Yeah, short version is that the little program to modify the ISO’s doesn’t work on that 32-bit edition. So that kind of limits your options to:

            • Trying to burn to DVD instead of USB
            • Putting hard drive in another machine to do the install
            • Trying some other sort of bootloader (rEFIt, maybe Clover, etc)

            Add “…and hope it works!” to any of the above. Maybe someone else can come up with a better idea though.

            One other possibility is to try another one that works (like MATE since you said you got it working), and see about installing the Budgie Desktop Environment on top of it. Then you’d choose MATE or Budgie on the login screen. Google for “install Budgie Ubuntu” and there will probably be some walkthroughs. The biggest downside to doing it this way is sometimes you’ll get weird incompatibilities or conflicts, particularly when it comes to upgrades.

            Whatever route you go, good luck!

  107. I finally decided to install your version of Mate 17.04. It works, it works well and i love it (less than budgie, but i love it) if you can update the iso and put the 17.10 it will be great :0)

    maybe in near future i change my mind and i do other things… i don’t know.

    Thank you so much!

    • Hi, you can install budgie desktop if you want and remove mate,.. using the same Ubuntu base

      sudo add-apt-repository ppa:evolve-os/ppa

      sudo apt-get update

      sudo apt-get install budgie-desktop

      And after remove mate: sudo apt-get –purge mate-desktop
      sudo apt-get autoremove

    • Before remove mate you need to reboot, and will already run budgie…then you type the commands for removing mate.
      I did this with Ubuntu and change to Xubuntu and works perfect

    • Working on the *buntu 17.10 flavors now. Should hopefully be up within the next couple of hours.

  108. hi matt,

    thanks, this really helped. can you go for linux lite 3.6?


    • Hey JC,

      The program didn’t find anything to modify. It’s within the realm of possibility that the 64-bit version they provide *might* work as-is. Probably worth a try if you’ve got ample DVD’s.

  109. This is great! Anyway we could get a copy of Neverware Chrome OS done?


    • It’s not working on the .bin image they provide. If they provide an ISO, leave a comment with the link and I can try it on that.

      • Not an expert here, but this a staffer on this message board suggested simply chaning the name from .bin to .iso

        Here is the post:

        Thanks for the clear explanation – hopefully this helps shed some light on things for other users.

        It’s worth noting that, when created in this particular manner, there no difference between a “.bin” and a “.iso” file. Both are simple disk images copied block-by-block. So, you could achieve a similar result to the description above by renaming the cloudready.bin file to cloudready.iso (though the copy created as you describe will be larger and include all the empty disk space, which can be useful or problematic depending on your use-case).

        here is a link to the discussion:

        • Ignoring the extension is essentially what I’d done when I tried. ISO and BIN will often differ (BIN potentially storing extra stuff from an optical disk copy like the raw uncorrected ECC data), but I’d given it a shot in the off chance it might have worked.

          Peeking through the thread you linked, it looks like Neverware Chrome installs in a very nonstandard way compared to a typical Linux distro (effectively dumping an image or images directly to the disk partition), so I strongly suspect running this tool on Neverware Chrome just plain won’t work. If it doesn’t work as-is, you’d probably have to make some substantial modifications to the contents of the image to get things going – not for the feint of heart, and it’s one of those situations where you’re probably better off trying the 64-bit image just-in-case and then settling for the 32-bit image if the 64-bit doesn’t work.

  110. Hi Matt,
    I download Manjaro image and work ok in a live cd, but when I try to install on the MacBook bios can’t find the manjaro grub…
    Do you know which can be the problem?
    I did manual partitioning and created a /boot/efi FAT32 esp partition as Manjaro suggest, but doesn’t work.
    Also I let Manjaro install itself and don’t work either.
    Always MacBook bios shows a folder with an interrogation character inside…

    Thanks for your help

    • Hey Mauricio,

      Someone can chime in if they’ve got some experience with Manjaro specifically, but I suspect you don’t want the /boot/efi bit, because that’ll trip things up by trying to boot via the 64-bit EFI (which these machines don’t support). Essentially you want it to boot via the standard BIOS bootloader. If you created the partition table with the /boot/efi, chances are the partition table is now GPT which will likely cause you problems because it tends to be tied to EFI. You might want to wipe the partition table and create an MBR partition table which tends to get tied to BIOS bootloaders. Then try installing with a standard (non-EFI) boot.

      • Hey! Thanks so much, I did that and now it works… MBR and normal /boot partition.
        One more question…
        How can I make work the Left ALT key to use the “third level characters” like @,#,€ ?
        I can’t in XFCE distros…do you have any idea?
        Again thanks a lot for your help!

  111. I got this working for Siduction 17.03 Gnome, Sparky 5, Deepin and Ubuntu Studio on a mac pro 1.1. I couldn’t get Manjaro, or Antergos working though. Thanks again!

  112. Has anyone got dual booting working?

    I shrunk down the Lion install on my (firmware updated) Macmini2,1 and managed to get debian-mac-9.2.1-amd64-netinst booting from CD and installed on the free space, where it created 3 partitions by default:

    0: GUID_partition_scheme *60.0 GB disk0
    1: EFI 209.7 MB disk0s1
    2: Apple_HFS KingFast 30.0 GB disk0s2
    3: Apple_Boot Recovery HD 650.0 MB disk0s3
    4: 21686148-6449-6E6F-744E-656564454649 1.0 MB disk0s4
    5: 0FC63DAF-8483-4772-8E79-3D69D8477DE4 26.0 GB disk0s5
    6: Linux Swap 3.2 GB disk0s6

    I installed the rEFInd boot manager (0.11.2), but it doesn’t auto detect the Linux install, so the only boot option is macOS 10.7.

    Any ideas on what might be wrong? The rEFInd page suggests that a failure to detect the Linux installation could be caused by a missing EFI filesystem driver, but I have checked and the ext4fs driver is in place.

  113. NikkerStilskin

    I have a macbook 2,1 and installed ubuntu 16.04. Basically it works perfectly and eventually i will try Manjaro. Will check back. I have to install the ubuntu os twice because i assume the install was not perfectly clean the first time. The second time it was perfect and everything works.

  114. ( take this version – tks)

    i have tested a lot of USB alternatives , none worked , i dont want to give up
    mine is a imac late 2006 ( core 2 duo) .

    tried linux mint 64b 18.1 sinamon ( your version) , loaded to USB using unetbootin
    deleted on /EFI/BOOT/ the 64bit efi , and the other file , and replaced it with Bootia32.efi

    bootia , starts the loader ok, and the linux logo appears ok , but after selecting the linux logo , scree goes to all black with a white square in the middle .
    if i wait nothin happens , when pressing any key screens return to the “clover” boot screen

    any ideas , are very appreciated !

  115. anybody with imac late 2006 ? , looking to install any linux version that may work .

  116. i followed the procedure with the recommended image , and i get this error on boot ,

    Starting legacy loader
    using load options usb
    Error: Not found returned from legacy loader
    Error: not found from LocateDEvicePath
    Error: Load Error while re-opening our installation volume
    the firmware refused to boot from the selected volume Nopte that external hard drives are not well supported by apples firmware for legacy os booting

    hit any key to continue .

    and hitting a key , it returns to the Efi boot page , to select fromwhere to boot .

    I appreciate any ideas, as have tested all cold found and still on square 1

    thankyou !

  117. Hi,
    I downloaded LinuxMint 18.
    I loaded Gcc installer, compiled isomacprog which gave me a “isomacprog.dSYM” file.
    Then I tried the next step “cp /Users/thierryleducq/Desktop/ macLinuxMint.iso ./isomacprog macLinuxMint.iso”.
    The answer was : “usage: cp [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-fi | -n] [-apvX] source_file target_file
    cp [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-fi | -n] [-apvX] source_file … target_director”.
    What’s wrong ? What argument should I use ?
    Please help.
    The answer was

    • Hey Thierry,

      1) If you downloaded from this site, you don’t actually have to run the program or anything (I’ve already done it on my end) – you should be able to just burn it to a DVD as-is.

      The isomacprog.c stuff you’ve been trying is for those who want to modify an image themselves. So for example if you downloaded a 64-bit image directly from the Linux Mint site, you’d have to compile the program and run it on that image. Same goes if there’s some distro/version you want to use that I don’t have available.

      If you’re content to just burn the image you downloaded (with the extension), skip #2 and #3.

      2) Looks like you’re doing this on a Mac. In addition to the .dSYM file, you should have an “isomacprog” without an extension. So:

      • isomacprog.c (your original)
      • isomacprog.dSYM (as you mentioned)
      • isomacprog (no extension, this is the new program and is the important bit)

      No reason to suspect otherwise at this time, but hopefully this is the case.

      3) It looks like you may have put “cp /Users/thierryleducq/Desktop/ macLinuxMint.iso ./isomacprog macLinuxMint.iso” on a single line. It should be 2 separate lines.

      It’s possible that a copy/paste didn’t pick up a line break, or that something wonky with the formatting in my writeup took place making it appear as though it’s all on a single line. But in any case, try:

      1. cp /Users/thierryleducq/Desktop/ macLinuxMint.iso
      2. ./isomacprog macLinuxMint.iso

      (First line, enter. Second line, enter).

      Good luck!

  118. Ricardo De Oliveira

    Hats off to you for the flawless ISOs. My old but still capable MacBook is working like never before!

  119. Hi Matt,
    I realised after having posted, that I had made a mistake with the .iso.
    I did not know that I had to copy and paste on two lines.
    I will try to modify another Linuxxxx.iso (Manjaro XFCE), besause I love to experiment, and as you wrote, it’s better to understand what you do…
    Thank you very much for your help.
    I will let you know if I succeed in installing Linux on my old iMac 5.1.

  120. Well !
    According to what I can read in the terminal window :
    “HAL-2:Desktop thierryleducq$ cp /Users/thierryleducq/Desktop/manjaro-xfce-17.0.6-stable-x86_64.iso ManjaroTiti.iso
    ./isomacprog ManjaroTiti.iso
    HAL-2:Desktop thierryleducq$ ./isomacprog ManjaroTiti.iso
    It seems that the modification was made successfully.
    I’ll try to install Manjaro, and I’ll let you know.
    Thanks once more for your helpfull help 😉

  121. Hi

    This is a very interesting blog – thanks for giving us older mac users the hope of continuing to use hardware that is still in reasonably good condition!

    I’ve got an interest in Yunit, but haven’t got the skills to compile an image… Is it something you’d care to do?


    • I believe that currently the common process to get Yunit (Unity 8) going is by using stock Ubuntu and adding a repo after installation. So you should be able to use the stock Ubuntu I have up.

      If someone’s created a new Ubuntu derivative (or another distribution) that has Yunit by default, you’ll probably have to point me in the direction of the 64-bit ISO for it and I can run the program on it.

      Note that when I had played with Unity 8 + Mir during some of the older Ubuntu betas, it was *very* early stage and not terribly usable as a desktop environment. I don’t know how far things have come along since then, but it might be worth testing Yunit in a VM before devoting too much time to it just to make sure it fits your needs.

  122. Linux Installation Report on my iMac 5.1
    – Manjaro
    Aftter modifying Manjaro with the help of isomacprog I tried to install it pressing Alt or C while booting : no keyboard ! Could not install it
    – Linux Mint KDE (your version) : pressing ALT the installation freezes on the Mint logo ; pressing C, a menu appears, but no keyboard ! Could not install it
    – Linux Mint XFCE (your version) : able to install it pressing ALT on boot.
    Then I succeeded in installing WIFI, migrating my user accounts of Firefox and Thunderbird.
    Thank you very much for your help.

  123. After Manjaro – which is very slow on my iMac – I tried twice to install
    The iMac boots on the dvd, but the installation freezes after one minute or so, on the Xubuntu logo with the turning wheel underneath.
    What’s wrong ?

  124. Fedora is getting very close to EFI install on MacPro1,1. Fedora 27 Work Station fully installs but fails to set the default boot target. So close yet so far.

  125. Thanks for the post.

    I encountered this problem quite a while back when OSx 10.6 went end of life, eventually came across your post and finally got around to it.

    I used your code for Linux Mint 18.3 with MATE and it seems to be working well. Breathing new life into my 11 year old laptop.

  126. Hi Matt,

    THANK YOU! Thank you to maintain this site and the Linux iso images for our Macs.
    After hours, and days, reading blogs, how-to, etc… I could install Ubuntu on my good-old Mac Mini2,1 with a fu**** EFI and upgraded CPU, simply by burning a DVD with the amd64+mac image.

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