mattgadient.com

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 As I recall, it was some error message that translated to “your mail client is horribly old and uses outdated security protocols“.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.

Update: Note that Lubuntu tends to be one of the snappiest installs if you don’t mind the LXDE interface. One of the comments indicates Lubuntu 17.04 works and that Lubuntu 17.10 may be problematic if you want to go this route. If you want “stock” Ubuntu (which thus far is the most popular download), I’ve done fresh installs of Ubuntu 16.04 and 17.10 successfully on the Macbook 2,1. Check out the comments for successful and non-successful distros/versions that others have been kind enough to report back with.

64-bit Linux ISO for Mac with 32-bit EFI
FEDORA
Fedora 27 Workstation Live (64-bit Mac) – 1.6 GB
Fedora-Workstation-Live-x86_64-27-1.6-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 6bf0ba6886d9d1bf05f77b91e887b51b )

Fedora 26 Workstation Live (64-bit Mac) – 1.5 GB
Fedora-Workstation-Live-x86_64-26-1.5-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 8ab82f48647f47c737b8a2a18d498ae4 )

Fedora 25 Workstation Live (64-bit Mac) – 1.4 GB
Fedora-Workstation-Live-x86_64-25-1.3-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 80a6c458bf255e46f22ac984303aad14 )

Fedora 24 Workstation Live (64-bit Mac) – 1.5 GB
Fedora-Workstation-Live-x86_64-24-1.2-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 964626a09f2ce01b15c2a79153d46323 )

Update: I came across indications (here, here and here) that Fedora 27+ may have support for 32-bit UEFI GRUB (bootloader) loading Fedora in 64-bit mode. It may be worth downloading the 64-bit ISO directly from Fedora’s website and giving it a try.

UBUNTU
Ubuntu 18.10 Studio (64-bit Mac) – 3.0 GB
ubuntustudio-18.10-dvd-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 80653ff722faa3bec0318641a17241e6 )


Ubuntu 18.04 Desktop (64-bit Mac) – 1.8 GB
ubuntu-18.04-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 666143a9ee7924455de734399b9af0f3 )

Kubuntu 18.04 (KDE) (64-bit Mac) – 1.8 GB
kubuntu-18.04-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: f2075be652e7a0b1d9b9764dc1f510e6 )

Lubuntu 18.04 (LXDE) (64-bit Mac) – 1.1 GB
lubuntu-18.04-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 8860a00aa63a936dcf13fb0b75de6090 )

Ubuntu 18.04 MATE (64-bit Mac) – 1.9 GB
ubuntu-mate-18.04-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 532eec0b019fd0ca6ea4512c812c0695 )

Xubuntu 18.04 (XFCE) (64-bit Mac) – 1.4 GB
xubuntu-18.04-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 373615ffa7b14bda3a152dc77d2248a0 )

Ubuntu 18.04 Budgie (64-bit Mac) – 1.5 GB
ubuntu-budgie-18.04-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 46a08d679a5ef88ebaffb26784a95cb6 )

Ubuntu 18.04 Live Server (64-bit Mac) – 806 MB
ubuntu-18.04-live-server-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 455baf6c8fdd59a533a342d6058d79e4 )


Ubuntu 17.10 Desktop (64-bit Mac) – 1.4 GB
ubuntu-17.10-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 967d3139b9324ead05e3b37588f89b00 )

Kubuntu 17.10 (KDE) (64-bit Mac) – 1.7 GB
kubuntu-17.10-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 1eb608d1c5645f4cbd5338f3f13cf0ac )

Lubuntu 17.10 (LXDE) (64-bit Mac) – 921 MB
lubuntu-17.10-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: aac5644925e1dd63d701187ff6b37728 )

Ubuntu 17.10 MATE (64-bit Mac) – 1.7 GB
ubuntu-mate-17.10-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 2846987a22b3598991b976e53e3ccbbc )

Xubuntu 17.10 (XFCE) (64-bit Mac) – 1.3 GB
xubuntu-17.10-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: ff761516c1bae958bd7e9d939a2548b7 )

Ubuntu 17.10 Budgie (64-bit Mac) – 1.4 GB
ubuntu-budgie-17.10-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 17f80a22bd1e493b3b70ef08056a7568 )


Ubuntu 17.04 Desktop (64-bit Mac) – 1.5 GB
ubuntu-17.04-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 2d243f7107b370d237f93047561e2937 )

Ubuntu 17.04 Server (64-bit Mac) – 685 MB
ubuntu-17.04-server-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 202bef97c940a8385113be052586371a )

Ubuntu 17.04 MATE (64-bit Mac) – 1.6 GB
ubuntu-mate-17.04-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 08648e4a4bea50272067267d2ec8aab3 )

Ubuntu 17.04 GNOME (64-bit Mac) – 1.5 GB
ubuntu-gnome-17.04-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 4cdbdbae34263cd72bdb2a3179baea2b )

Lubuntu 17.04 (LXDE) (64-bit Mac) – 912 MB
lubuntu-17.04-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 744e4f345b44edf9d0473d0d468f6c22 )


Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Desktop (64-bit Mac) – 1.4 GB
ubuntu-16.04-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: f823cbabdd624c8394f7927e501807de )

Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS Server (64-bit Mac) – 829 MB
ubuntu-16.04.2-server-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 197d8b37dee34c7f9cd112cff1f4a732 )

Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS MATE (64-bit Mac) – 1.6 GB
ubuntu-mate-16.04.2-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 0a01e852977efe38043dd101baf39ef1 )

Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS GNOME (64-bit Mac) – 1.3 GB
ubuntu-gnome-16.04.2-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: c321e8b5c48bff54990c7712c8d23908 )

Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS Studio (64-bit Mac) – 2.7 GB
ubuntustudio-16.04.3-dvd-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: c52aaf5862236d3cd6ce94dc58fad8aa )

Xubuntu 16.04.4 LTS (XFCE) (64-bit Mac) – 1.3 GB
xubuntu-16.04.4-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: cefccb562bc941037794a9e8dafcb85f )

openSUSE
openSUSE Leap 42.2 (64-bit Mac) – 4.1 GB
openSUSE-Leap-42.2-DVD-x86_64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: e1e2b259bc8168406187349e6bd1a4d2 )

openSUSE Leap 42.1 (64-bit Mac) – 4.4 GB
openSUSE-Leap-42.1-DVD-x86_64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: d3795bd2b648d49706c6148ba1d21def )

DEBIAN
Debian Stretch 9.3.0 Live Cinnamon (64-bit Mac) – 2.0 GB
debian-live-9.3.0-amd64-cinnamon-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: b396fc0449484fa2bc0121e089b01228 )

Debian Stretch 9.3.0 Live Gnome (64-bit Mac) – 2.3 GB
debian-live-9.3.0-amd64-gnome-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: fdde286b52073e9405b2afe4ab5df85b )

Debian Stretch 9.3.0 Live KDE (64-bit Mac) – 2.5 GB
debian-live-9.3.0-amd64-kde-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 8ca354eea16baf1161c25682fb61b6d7 )

Debian Stretch 9.3.0 Live LXDE (64-bit Mac) – 1.9 GB
debian-live-9.3.0-amd64-lxde-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: f9a06f115d2b4f635f9fbfbc17aa5290 )

Debian Stretch 9.3.0 Live MATE (64-bit Mac) – 2.0 GB
debian-live-9.3.0-amd64-mate-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 359b508ce16f3d06134c269ae2ad139d )

Debian Stretch 9.3.0 Live XFCE (64-bit Mac) – 1.9 GB
debian-live-9.3.0-amd64-xfce-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 12d253bac4686ced92bb787b9d2c397d )

Debian Stretch 9.0.0 non-free including firmware Net Installer (64-bit Mac) – 324 MB
firmware-9.0.0-amd64-netinst-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: ee0b5c0af257d1a6dee85620bd92e745 )

Debian Stretch 9.0.0 non-free including firmware DVD (64-bit Mac) – 3.6 GB
firmware-9.0.0-amd64-DVD-1-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: ff2aaff60c344fe8931e3aa3a7247602 )

Debian Jesse 8.7.1 non-free including firmware Net Installer (64-bit Mac) – 266 MB
firmware-8.7.1-amd64-netinst-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( 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 https://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/release/current/amd64/iso-cd/.

LINUX MINT
Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon “Tara” (64-bit Mac) – 1.9 GB
linuxmint-19-cinnamon-64bit-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: c05488355b1c5ad1adabe31feae33a08 )

Linux Mint 19 XFCE “Tara” (64-bit Mac) – 1.8 GB
linuxmint-19-xfce-64bit-v2-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 37a5a4002eae8da7e08cb683205ccf75 )

Linux Mint 19 MATE “Tara” (64-bit Mac) – 1.9 GB
linuxmint-19-mate-64bit-v2-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: a7e7295491e3d0ab982e4447ff33eb59 )

Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon “Sylvia” (64-bit Mac) – 1.8 GB
linuxmint-18.3-cinnamon-64bit-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 843459df1674b73296ac0bc8f1b055fc )

Linux Mint 18.2 KDE “Sonya” (64-bit Mac) – 1.9 GB
linuxmint-18.2-kde-64bit-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: c26c22270fc36402d697685441e53c9c )

Linux Mint 18.1 Cinnamon “Serena” (64-bit Mac) – 1.7 GB
linuxmint-18.1-cinnamon-64bit-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: f5e671d5f5eb5a6ae1c1b508ab0d9bf2 )

Linux Mint 18.1 XFCE “Serena” (64-bit Mac) – 1.7 GB
linuxmint-18.1-xfce-64bit-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: abac6584ebca00e9b8d9cd4ef7810f6e )

Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon “Sarah” (64-bit Mac) – 1.6 GB
linuxmint-18-cinnamon-64bit-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 43a6b48bd844ef3620f768863a2d17ea )

Linux Mint Debian Edition 3 “Candy” (64-bit Mac) – 1.6 GB
lmde-3-201808-cinnamon-64bit-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 0f8042f30f365a9e50df4e98cdde93b0 )

KORORA
Korora 25 Live Gnome (64-bit Mac) – 2.2 GB
korora-live-gnome-25-x86_64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 94b9c5581c6652d9bb247188e9f8371c )

Korora 25 Live Xfce (64-bit Mac) – 2.1 GB
korora-live-xfce-25-x86_64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 8784dc32e79d69da8fe60c2569d08c17 )

Korora 25 Live MATE (64-bit Mac) – 2.2 GB
korora-live-mate-25-x86_64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 3f6fd446d9dba673160589f7bd889c2d )

SOLUS
Solus 2017.04.18.0 Budgie (64-bit Mac) – 1.2 GB
Solus-2017.04.18.0-Budgie-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 43ac66d7de4c8854f4b56c89faea31dd )

Solus 3 Budgie (64-bit Mac) – 1.2 GB
Solus-3-Budgie-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: b937d4d50729530c21f4a0c1e11a8547 )

Solus 3 MATE (64-bit Mac) – 1.3 GB
Solus-3-MATE-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 4497d6d406a29837296c9a6da0eb22b8 )

ARCH LINUX
Arch Linux 2017.05.01 (64-bit Mac) – 481 MB
archlinux-2017.05.01-x86_64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 69682db7085bebabb5dcb4a038a9e4c3 )

Note: There have been very few Arch successes and from the sounds of it, it has required using other bootloaders (manually done or via a separate Ubuntu install etc). Thus, it is not recommended unless you’re an advanced user.

MANJARO
Manjaro XFCE 17.0.5 (64-bit Mac) – 1.6 GB
manjaro-xfce-17.0.5-stable-x86_64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 223583b52cac07a329b36546f65730ac )

Note: A number of people have difficulty installing Manjaro on these Macs. At the very least you will have to manually partition to force Manjaro to avoid EFI, and may run into other fights along the way. Thus, Manjaro is not recommended unless you’re an advanced user.

ANTERGOS
antergos Linux 18.2 (64-bit Mac) – 1.9 GB
antergos-18.2-x86_64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: cc52a9ba9449c75ae43d8d7099fa65fe )

Note: As antergos is based on Arch, it may be susceptible to the same issues as Arch and Manjaro above.

CENT OS
CentOS 7 DVD (64-bit Mac) – 4.1 GB
CentOS-7-x86_64-DVD-1611-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: d5baaee01ab9d64c5a88c779a711cd78 )

CentOS 7 Minimal (64-bit Mac) – 680 MB
CentOS-7-x86_64-Minimal-1611-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: da06627fe82cd6a828325b0241bb73bc )

ELEMENTARY OS
Elementary OS 0.5.0 (64-bit Mac) – 1.4 GB
elementaryos-5.0-stable.20181016-mac-mattgadient.com.iso md5: 618e16dd14a9d593b1ee32d134c99cce )

Elementary OS 0.4.1 (64-bit Mac) – 1.4 GB
elementaryos-0.4.1-stable.20180214-mac-mattgadient.com.iso md5: b78963600917f4b805e1c86825ce02a9 )

Elementary OS 0.4 (64-bit Mac) – 1.3 GB
elementaryos-0.4-stable-amd64.20160921-mac-mattgadient.com.iso md5: 280d814c80699cc2d06618c5870c6784 )

Elementary OS 0.3.2 (64-bit Mac) – 1.1 GB
elementaryos-0.3.2-stable-amd64.20151209-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 3ce983db17349f204379e066d3898dc3 )

PUPPY LINUX
Slacko64 Puppy Linux 6.3.2 (64-bit Mac) – 238 MB
slacko64-6.3.2-uefi-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: a531e3bf50ac9c82f925dcec8459c436 )

PARROT SECURITY OS
Parrot Security OS / ParrotSec (64-bit Mac) – 3.6 GB
Parrot-full-3.4.1_amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: f77a3b8224f3c75ba7a150a35aa10ebd )

Parrot Home 4.1 (64-bit Mac) – 1.7 GB
Parrot-home-4.1_amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 13a905333bb3b09758417d4d0db8d0c7 )

KALI LINUX
Kali Linux Light 2016.2 (64-bit Mac) – 1.1 GB
kali-linux-light-2016.2-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( 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.

PC LINUX OS
PCLinuxOS KDE5 2017.03 (64-bit Mac) – 1.4 GB
pclinuxos64-kde5-2017.03-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: e9b11ef4628381de3499d3a58050497a )

DEEPIN
Deepin 15.5 (64-bit Mac) – 3.2 GB
deepin-15.5-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 5cba4df284ed5fd6643a4f70ca601eec )

BODHI
Bodhi 5.0.0 (64-bit Mac) – 706 MB
bodhi-5.0.0-64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 499507ad32efb5eb979eee74f3102234 )

POP!_OS
Pop!_OS 18.04 AMD/Intel (64-bit Mac) – 2.0 GB
pop-os_18.04_amd64_intel_32-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: bc56fff3bc45fbec77657126932f1841 )

Pop!_OS 18.04 nVidia (64-bit Mac) – 2.2 GB
pop-os_18.04_amd64_nvidia_32-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: dffa4996f28b6d2dff3593e40031a6e9 )

ZORIN OS
Zorin OS 12.4 Core (64-bit Mac) – 1.6 GB
Zorin-OS-12.4-Core-64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 0327b2e4e0b0d995849e9c9b401ee016 )

Zorin OS 12.4 Lite (64-bit Mac) – 1.5 GB
Zorin-OS-12.4-Lite-64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: be7a81990b3f785823402f9931b3bc70 )

Note: If you decide to buy Zorin Ultimate you will need to modify the ISO they provide you on your own (I will not provide Zorin Ultimate ISOs here as it is a separate paid product offered by Zorin).

CLONEZILLA
Clonezilla Live 20180329 Ubuntu-based Artful Ardvark (64-bit Mac) – 255 MB
clonezilla-live-20180329-artful-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: b7a450623f3a0212a0743a8d2a41715c )

Raspberry Pi Desktop
RPi Desktop 2017-11-16 (64-bit Mac) – 2.3 GB
2017-11-16-rpd-x86-stretch-mac-mattgadient.com.iso ( md5: 5bfce20e47a1ed1bed062251c2e1f144 )
Note: Leave a comment if it works… output of CMP was slightly different from usual.

Notes:

  • 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 will likely 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 “mattgadient.com” 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.
  • Update: As far as the firmware is concerned, there’s no default start-up partition anymore. Thus, the Mac will sit at the white/grey screen for about 30 seconds on each boot looking for all the drives before it fires up Ubuntu. If you don’t mind, great! If you *do* mind, I have another write-up for dealing with that here. if you’d like to tackle it after you’ve got Linux up and running. Note that it requires an OS X Install DVD to “bless” your new Linux install.

If you happen to enjoy Tower Defense games and are looking for one that runs on Linux, I do have a game I created a couple years ago on Steam called Alarameth TD (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

Note: For modding an ISO yourself. Not required if you download an ISO above (the ones above have already been modded).

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):

isomacprog.c.txt

Save 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.

Update: Compiling

Note: For modding an ISO yourself. Not required if you download an ISO above (the ones above have already been modded).

A number of people in the comments have indicated they aren’t sure how to compile a program and are having difficulty getting started. I have a bit of a how to get started in the comments for those who wish to learn. For those who want to compile but do not care at all about actually learning how to compile programs, I’ll put copy/paste instructions here. They are for Ubuntu (and Ubuntu-variants) only. I can not add instructions for every possible OS combination unfortunately so you will have to check out the comment I linked if you do not have access to a current Ubuntu machine.

I will warn you that I do not really recommend this copy/paste option. If the ISO doesn’t work you don’t know whether it’s because there was an issue with the hunk you copy/pasted, or whether that distro just doesn’t work.

Copy/paste instructions for Ubuntu 18.04.1 (dump them in the terminal and cross your fingers):

cd ~ && \
sudo apt install build-essential curl && \
curl https://dedicated.mattgadient.com/linux-mac-iso/isomacprog.c.txt > isomacprog.c && \
gcc -g -Wall isomacprog.c -o isomacprog && \
curl http://releases.ubuntu.com/bionic/ubuntu-18.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso > my-linux-mac.iso && \
chmod +x ./isomacprog && \
./isomacprog my-linux-mac.iso && \
echo "Done. If there were no errors you can find/burn my-linux-mac.iso" && \
echo "from your home directory to a DVD!"
  • Want to use another distro? Replace http://releases.ubuntu.com…ubuntu-18.04.1-desktop.iso with a link to an ISO from your favorite distro. This means you will have to copy/paste into a TEXT EDITOR first, make your ISO change, and then copy/paste the whole (modified) chunk into a Terminal window.
  • The “sudo apt install..” line will cause this block of text to require your password, as it has to install build-essential and curl to your system. This will happen immediately. After that, you can get a coffee while it downloads the ISO.
  • Your new ISO will be in your Home directory (from the file manager it will likely either be called “Home” or “YourName”). The file itself will be called “my-linux-mac.iso”. Rename it afterwards (once the program has finished) to something you’ll remember and then burn to a DVD.

Alternative Options

I’ll be honest: I prefer the above solution(s) for the following reasons:

  • 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.

 

522 Comments

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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.

    • @Rob I know this backlight bug from Windows. I’m running lubuntu 17.10 without having this issue. Many thanks by the way to matt.

    • I’ve had the same problem, Rob, I know the machine is awake because if I type or try something on the keyboard it beeps at me. Eventually the backlight comes back on. I haven’t seen that under Fedora 26 or 27 (yet).

  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.

    http://openelec.tv/get-openelec/category/53-x86-generic-intel-amd-nvidia-builds?download=76:x86-generic-intel-amd-nvidia-diskimage

  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 linuxmint.com 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!

        edit:
        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: https://getfedora.org/en/workstation/download/ . 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 http://unetbootin.github.io 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/unetbootin.app/Contents/MacOS/unetbootin
            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: com.apple.main-thread

            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: http://osxdaily.com/2015/06/05/copy-iso-to-usb-drive-mac-os-x-command/ 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 Writer.app 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.

    -> ubuntu-16.04-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso

    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 Ubuntu.com 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?

    Greetings.

    • 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 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Xeon_microprocessors#.22Clovertown.22_.2865_nm.29.

  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:
        http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/topic/126089-howto-boot-macs-with-intel-chipset-in-ahci-win7-vista-xp-linux/
        https://web.archive.org/web/20120118082046/http://forum.onmac.net/showthread.php?t=2739
        https://neosmart.net/forums/threads/support-for-patching-bootloader-to-enable-ahci-support-in-macintoshes.9010/

        …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
          Clemens

  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: https://wiki.debian.org/InstallingDebianOn/Apple/MacBook/2-1.

    I used this grub.conf file: pendrivelinux.com/downloads/multibootlinux/grub.cfg 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: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Multiboot_USB_drive#Boot_entries_for_other_distributions

        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
        @Clemens
        yes,it’s possible to put on usb using kind of bootia32.efi built with grub.
        https://sourceforge.net/projects/toysbox/files/MacBook_revival_Playground/lubuntu-16.04.3-i386%2BmacHybrid.iso/
        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.

    Thanks.

    • 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 http://www.nvidia.com/download/driverResults.aspx/114714 , although you can select the card from http://www.nvidia.com/Download/Find.aspx to get a list of all driver versions. Alternately there’s the negativo repo at http://negativo17.org/nvidia-driver/ 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 https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing-Mac-mini-Model-A1176-Core-2-Duo-Processor/1178/1 . 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.
        bwr

        • 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 https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2145888 )

  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 ( http://burn-osx.sourceforge.net/Pages/English/home.html ) or SimplyBurns ( http://simplyburns.sourceforge.net/ ). 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: https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1870261

  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 Parrot-full-3.4.1_amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso 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 linuxmint-18-cinnamon-64bit-mac-mattgadient.com.iso 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 linuxmint-18-cinnamon-64bit-mac-mattgadient.com.iso boots to live session?

  58. Tom Cranston

    Does linuxmint-18-cinnamon-64bit-mac-mattgadient.com.iso 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 (http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/releases/12.04/release/ubuntu-12.04-desktop-powerpc.iso 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 ( http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-mate/releases/16.04/release/ 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:
      http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=ubuntu-1604-3264 (Ubuntu 16.04)
      http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=32-64-16.04-Power-Tests (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)
          –or–
          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: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201518 (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!

    –dave

    • 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.
    D.

  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.
    Interesting…

  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: https://turanct.wordpress.com/tag/appleusbvideosupport/

  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
    https://sourceforge.net/projects/toysbox/files/MacBook_revival_Playground/detailedStepsBootingLinuxUefi.pdf

    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 “archlinux-2017.05.01-x86_64-mac-mattgadient.com ” 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
    logout
    Saving session…
    …copying shared history…
    …saving history…truncating history files…
    …completed.

    [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,

    Keith

  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!

    http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-budgie/releases/17.10/release/ubuntu-budgie-17.10-desktop-i386.iso

    • 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?

    regards.

    • 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?

    Thanks!

    • 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:
        Karl,

        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:
        https://neverware.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/205451958-Is-an-ISO-format-available-for-the-CloudReady-Image-

        • 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:

    /dev/disk0
    #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
    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/linuxmint-18.2-kde-64bit-mac-mattgadient.com.iso 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.
    Regards.
    Thierry
    The answer was

    • Hey Thierry,

      1) If you downloaded linuxmint-18.2-kde-64bit-mac-mattgadient.com.iso 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 -mac-mattgadient.com.iso 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/linuxmint-18.2-kde-64bit-mac-mattgadient.com.iso 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/linuxmint-18.2-kde-64bit-mac-mattgadient.com.iso 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.
    Regards
    Thierry

  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
    done”
    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 😉
    Regards
    Thierry

  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?

    Thanks.

    • 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.

      • Ah thank you!

        • Hi Matt

          I just wanted to say a huge THANKYOU! I’m now running 17.04 as a 64-bit image on my 2007 MacBook, and it’s smooth and seemingly effortless. What’s more I can now look into doing the Yunit thing.

          So, thank you for what is going to be a much-used and much-loved Christmas gift.

          Hope you have a simply splendid holiday season.

  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.
    Regards
    Thierry

  123. After Manjaro – which is very slow on my iMac – I tried twice to install xubuntu-17.10-desktop-amd64-mac-mattgadient.com.iso.
    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 ?
    Thierry

  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.

  127. Hi. Thank you for a great service. Have you considering creating Mac DVD images for Raspberry Pi Desktop for PC and Mac?

    https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/

    The forum thread on this subject isn’t particularly helpful, even though it links here.

    https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=116&t=169135

    Thanks again.

    • It’s up (end of the list). The output of CMP was a little different from usual though so I’m not quite sure it’ll work, but it should be worth a try.

  128. Hi Matt,
    Is it normal for the ismacprog script to execute extremely fast and respond with “dine” ?
    Thanks

    • Yeah. It’s an extremely small write operation. If you want to verify that it actually modified the file, you can run the following:

      cmp -b original.iso macversion.iso


      …the output should mention that bytes differ.

  129. Hi Matt, many thanks for this site, as a complete linux newbie I wasted so much time trying to get my old imac 5.1 to install I’d almost given up before I found your site.

    Is it possible to have an ISO for Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon “Sylvia”?

    Many thanks Matthew

  130. Hello Matt
    i have following problem:
    i start to instal linux on my late 2006 17″ c2d iMac,
    after choosing an “windows disc” option i’ve no backlight on the imac screen.
    same happens on fedora, mint and ubuntu…
    if i start with clean osx install all is fine…
    where is my misstske?
    can You tell me what is the solution?

    • I’m really not sure. If it were me, I would probably try a test – install Windows via boot camp (if you have a Windows disk around) to see if it’s the machine being goofy or is an issue specifically with Linux.

      The other thing I’d try would be installing any firmware upgrades from the software updates in OS X just in case…

      That said, it could be something simple that I’m completely missing – hopefully someone can chime in if so.

  131. I just successfully installed Linux Mint 18.3 Xfce on my mid-2007 Core 2 Duo (T7400) MacBook. Your procedure was painless compared to other methods! I created my own bootable DVDs from LM18.3 Xfce and Mate ISOs by your instructions. I generally prefer Mate to Xfce, but the Mate version had touchpad problems and I couldn’t right click. That’s OK because Xfce is suited to older machines with limited processing power. Anyone know how I can get a USB mouse to be recognized on this MacBook?

    • Never mind about the USB mouse. I tried another one and it worked. The problem with the first mouse was a badly designed connector.

  132. Hi, I just both a Mac Pro G5 2,66 Intel Xeon and couldn’t install the Ubuntu following Ubuntu web page and the youtube. Finding your site was a blessing :).
    Very helpful ! Thank you !

  133. Hello Thanks for your great tips, Thanks to you I have given my old Mac Pro2.1 new life everything works wonderfully. many thanks again. I am from Austria

  134. Jonas Carlsson

    Hello Matt,

    I would be grateful for a Solus Mate 3 iso so i can install it on my mac mini 2.1.

    Thanks!

    • Hey Jonas, it should be up now.

      • Jonas Carlsson

        Hello Matt,

        Thanks for putting up the iso. Now i have tried both Solus images, and both leaves me with a black screen 1/3 into the process, any thoughts?

        Thanks!

        • During install or during boot? If it’s during boot and it’s a MBP (or another mac with ATI/nVidia graphics) it could be worth trying “nomodeset” to see if it avoids the black screen. In Ubuntu you’d tap escape at boot to pop the menu then “e” to change options… for Solus somebody put out a guide at https://solus-project.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8111 which is probably worth a peak through if you want to give it a try.

          That’s a bit of a shot in the dark and beyond that I’m really not sure what to suggest unfortunately… maybe someone else has run into the same issue and can chime in.

  135. I installed Lubuntu 17.4 on my MacBook pro 2,1. As far as I can tell the only thing not working is the cooling fans. Anyone else having the same issue and is there a solution? Thanks in advance

    Jared Rousselle

  136. tks for sharing

  137. Anna Ericsson

    Hello Matt,

    Can you please make an iso for Ubuntu Studio 16.04.3 LTS?

    Thank you,

    Anna

  138. Igor Will Hunter

    Hi, my name is Igor and I am from Brazil. I own an iMac desktop all-in-one white model 4,1, however I have upgrade it with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor 2,33 GHz, a SSD 120GB and also following the netkas.org instructions for upgrading the firmware via their firmware software I finally install 4GB of RAM into this computer of mine, though the firmware computer identifies and uses 3GB only either on Snow Leopard or Linux. So now my iMac 4,1 has become the iMac model 5,1 and it is working so far so good. I’ve downloaded Ubuntu MATE here and have installed it, have also activated my iSight camera following instructions from Ubuntu page and Tony’s Nasty. Everything is working fine, more than fine.

    Matt, I want sincerely thank you for doing the marvelous job converting these linux isos for us and reviving our old iMacs.

    Thank so much and keep up with the great work! Much love and peace from Brazil.

  139. Another thing to point out, at least for the early Mac Pros(1,1 and 2,1) usb booting is finicky at best.
    I was able to boot rEFIt off of USBs but no matter what OS I put on the sticks none would boot.
    I also tried chainloading a custom 32bit grub boot loader from rEFIt with no success.

    Pretty much for any of these images, burn them to a physical disk. USB will pretty much not work. I spent a good part of my weekend reimaging old and new USB sticks.

  140. Hi Matt,
    I have installed your .iso file – Manjaro XFCE 17.0.5 (64-bit Mac) – on my old iMac 5.1 and did full installation on the single disk from a burnt DVD. All functionned well … but then on reboot the screen showed a greyish logo with a ? on it meaning no Os is found. Probably i didn’t do the partition format procedure correctly ( fat32/ext4 and swap file ) because when I tried to boot on CD with reFind, but clicking on the pingouin logo it brought me to 1,2 CD-ROM choice of boot with no more response of the mouse or keyboard .. thanks in advance for your help

    • Hey Andre,

      Manjaro seems to be one of the distros that a number of people have trouble with. It sounds like you may be in a similar situation to Mauricio in the comments – in his case Manjaro by default tried to install an EFI system (with /boot/efi). He eventually got it working by manually setting up the partitions during installation: formatting MBR and just going with a standard /boot.

      If you’re intent on using Manjaro, then that’s probably the route you’ll have to go: reboot to the DVD and be really deliberate when it comes time to partition the hard drive to make sure there’s no whiff of EFI. Since the partition table is probably GPT at this point, you may have to consider wiping it entirely and ensuring it’s re-created as MBR.

      • Hi,
        thank you for this prompt reply. I will try this and will get back to you asap.

        • some late news with GRUB… i went into reinstalling Manjaro and when it came to” partition ” i chose the erase option with boot on /. After installation finished, on reboot, i inserted my reFind CD and it showed me 2 pinguins options. i chose the ext4 and had a GRUB error loading .. ..no such partition, entering in rescue mode, grub rescue > …..from there ( after googling ) it appears there are some solutions.
          1/ update the grub with ” sudo os-prober” then a” sudo update-grub”
          2 / try to enter in BIOS mode to reorder the boot
          3/ download and boot with Boot Repair-Disk ( with Unetbootin ) and it would do the job .. ?

          what would you suggest ?
          Thxs

          • Backtracking a bit here: If the installation is successful, you shouldn’t need to boot from the reFind CD and I’d actually suggest *not* booting from the reFind CD because it adds another variable. After the installation I’d be inclined to let it just try booting from the hard drive so you find out whether you’re past your original issue (where it tries to boot EFI and gets the “1,2 CDROM” choice).

            If it were me, and assuming you’ve got an extra DVD-R kicking around, I’d probably give Ubuntu 16.04 a test because it’s known to work without any hiccups. If Ubuntu works then you know it’s something Manjaro-specific or Manjaro-installation-specific acting up. If Ubuntu *doesn’t* work, then you know you’ve got deeper issues to solve (possibly old firmware in need of an update for bootcamp compatibility or something). Again, don’t use reFind or anything else here – just a straight boot from the disk to install and from the hard drive after install.

            You could of course try some of the solutions you mentioned first (update grub, boot repair disk), but I wouldn’t know where to point you there. And really on a fresh wipe/install where you’re *not* dual booting or anything, bootloader issues really shouldn’t be happening unless something else is wrong or something’s gone awfully awry.

        • sorry just posted a comment a few minutes ago but didn’t add my name : Andre

          • Hi MAtt,
            Following your suggestions i fresh installed Ubuntu 16.04 LTS/64 bits on my iMac 5.1. On reboot, after DVD ejected, the mac sound ” chimed ” , showed for a few seconds a grey question mark ?, and finally booted with Ubuntu. Cool … All fine but it was running “really ” slow; so i updated, it went a littlle better but still.. As I am not fan of full Ubuntu versions ( reason why i liked the Manjaro btw ) and because i only have 1,4 Go RAM, i decided to give a try to Xubuntu which is as you said lighter ( i have it installed on a old Dell laptop , and it works really fine ), After burning the .iso with Brasero, i booted with option key down, it showed me the Ubuntu and the Xubuntu boot ( both Windows ).So i entered in Xubuntu CD and it started ok, but then suddently freezed on the logo … after waiting 5 long minutes , tried various killing cmds, … no esponse .. i had to power off.
            Any ideas why i couldn’t even try your Xubuntu.iso ? And yes, do i have to abandon totally the idea of Manjaro ? Thank you Matt

          • Not sure on what may have been tripping up Xubuntu. 1.4 GB RAM is definitely tight… if it were me I’d probably be looking at giving Debian + LXDE a try since it’s one of the lightest combos out there.

            That said, you don’t necessarily have to abandon the idea of Manjaro. You can certainly give it a try again (being dead careful to manually partition and try to stop Manjaro from using GPT/EFI). Ubuntu worked, so it’s not a machine-specific issue at least. Unfortunately if you run into the same boot issue again you might end up having to trial-and-error solutions which is never fun.

          • Thank you Matt for your patience and your very instructive blog. I have learned a lot these past 3 days … but even though endless efforts, Manjaro XFCE still doesn’t boot… I gave it at least 4 different trials using manual partitions, unfortunately none worked. I also read somewhere in the manual user guide that Manjaro uses MBR by defaut. Anyhow,besides choosing MBR, could you please list me how would you partition a unique 260 Gigas drive ? for example the last (failed) one :
            // sda1, 8 MB , fat 32 // sda2, 4,9 GB, swap // sda3, 228Go, ext4 //
            thank you very much for your support.

          • The existence of a fat32 partition leads me to believe it was formatted containing the ESP for EFI.

            Personally, I prefer the long-term flexibility of swap files (can increase/decrease easily if need be post-install) so if manually partitioning I’d have:
            sda1 / 260GB

            …and that’s it! But if I didn’t feel like creating a swap file post-installation or was worried I might not have enough RAM to keep the OOM killer from going berzerk during first boot to a GUI, a swap partition is of course the easier option:
            sda1 / 252GB
            sda2 swap 8GB

            Keep in mind that “/” should contain the boot flag.

            If you don’t have success with the above and start thinking that the partition map might be GPT instead of MBR, before partitioning from a terminal (LiveCD or otherwise) you can:

            parted /dev/sda mklabel msdos

            –or–

            fdisk -t dos /dev/sda

            …then restart (good practice after significant partition changes). If you’re wondering how this relates to MBR, “dos” and “msdos” here are essentially MBR (“gpt” is what would be used for GPT). Manually format and install after the fact.

          • Hi Matt, tried your 2 options and the winner is : the second one,… YES, Manjaro Xfce booted straight into the GRUB 🙂 .. no hickups, updated over 400 files and started running fluent ( vs Ubuntu 16.04 LTS ).
            Got some issues to connect a postscript Ricoh printer, but besides this it gave it another lifetime for my Emac. In future, I will certainly recommend to people who own an ” old computer with macOs ” to consider installing a Linux distro before throwing it out.
            Thank you so much for sharing your experience and knowhow.

  141. Finally! I had been trying for days and I couldn’t get any linux image to work. This was the missing link. Thank you so much Matt!

    I don’t know if this might help some of your readers with CoreDuo machines… but I started out with a 17″ CoreDuo iMac 4,1 2006 with 2GB RAM. I stumbled across the link below and decided to take a shot at upgrading the processor. I installed a Core2Duo 2.33 GHz Intel T7600 and while I was in there a SSD. I ran the firmware update included in the link and sure enough iMac System Info now shows iMac5,1 with software apps running 64bit. It was a lot of effort so not sure I’d do it again.

    The start up process is a bit ugly with rEFInd and Grub menus but I got Ubuntu 16.04 working well along side Snow Leopard. That said, Ubuntu performance is pretty good but not great. Ubuntu seems to need more than 2GB of memory. I’m thinking Lubuntu would be a better choice ?

    http://lowendmac.com/2016/cpu-upgrade-options-for-2006-imacs/

    • Glad it’s working for you! And yes, Lubuntu (LXDE) is definitely easier on the memory and tends to feel more responsive. Visually the UI doesn’t tend to be a favorite for most people, but that’s the trade off.

      If you don’t like the LXDE interface, XFCE and MATE are also lighter than stock Ubuntu if you prefer those interfaces, but they’re not quite as light as LXDE.

      If you’re really aiming to free up as much memory as possible, Debian tends to be a bit lighter than Ubuntu too if it’s something that suits your needs. I don’t have as much feedback on Debian installs with these disk images though.

      • I had room for a third partition on my iMac so I loaded up Debian Live 9.30 and 64 KDE non-free (ran your program with no issues). Debian seemed to install but the next time I started up the iMac I couldn’t see the disk under start up menu, rEFInd, or GRUB. When I log into Ubuntu I can see my files on that partition. I just can’t boot that drive. I’ve reinstalled Debian a couple of times. Just can’t seem to get it to work.

        • I’m assuming you’ve got an OS X install as one of your partitions. One thing that sometimes works: Try running the BootCamp installer from within MacOS. Let it create the BootCamp partition (which will covertly convert your partition table to hybrid EFI/MBR – what we’re *really* after). When it comes time to restart & “install Windows”, boot the Linux disc instead. Clobber/replace the BootCamp partition with Linux.

          If that doesn’t work, since you’re looking at Debian you *could* try downloading the MultiArch Debian installer from their site ( https://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/current/multi-arch/iso-cd/ for the netinst version). They may have a multiarch LiveDVD image on the site somewhere too but I’m not sure. I haven’t played with it, but it’s the solution for Intel Bay Trail (Atom) systems which have 64-bit processors yet a 32-bit EFI (just like these Macs!). Unfortunately, I haven’t tested it and don’t know if it’ll work. If it doesn’t contain a 64-bit EFI (and just contains the 32-bit one), it stands a good chance, and you may even be able to do this from USB instead of needing to burn a DVD. The hope is that it’ll get you a 64-bit install running over a 32-bit EFI. But like I said, haven’t tried it.

          Yet another possibility would be using “bless” from the Mac OS terminal with the –legacy option on the Linux partition, but *without* the –makeBoot option and by choosing the correct device (partition). Essentially a modified version of what I have in the reducing the delay write-up. Maybe it’ll let the firmware know it’s a legacy partition. Of course if you DO use the –setBoot option it undoubtedly will, but then it will become the default boot device so you’d have to hold ALT/OPTION every time you want OS X. Could be clean, could be messy.

          The last-resort option would be of course just using a standard 32-bit Linux installer from your favorite distros website since the Mac should detect and boot the 32-bit EFI. But obviously you forego 64-bit here which may or may not be an option depending on what you’re looking for from your install.

          Anyway, I’d try the Boot Camp thing first – hopefully it gets you going. Note that most comments which mention rEFInd also mention the install not working, though I can’t say for sure whether the correlation is pertinent or not. Regardless I’d tend to avoid rEFInd for now and focus on getting the install showing up in the standard alt/option boot menu first if possible – tackle rEFInd after that if you’d prefer to use it.

          I know, a lot of possibilities… sorry… wipe/installs tend to work well, but dual booting OS X and these images is rarely straightforward it seems. Good luck!

          • Ok so this happened… After my last post I decided to run Ubuntu updates since I hadn’t done so in a while. As the pkg upgrades were running I saw that GRUB had found the debian partition. I rebooted after the installs completed and sure enough Ubuntu, Debian and Mac OS X are now in the GRUB menu. Selected Debian and it started up the disk.

            Thank you again for all the help!

            PS you really should add a donation button to your site.

          • Glad to hear you got it working!

            You’re actually the 3rd person to mention a donate option, so I’ve got one up now. I wasn’t able to test it (paypal gave me a “you cannot send money to yourself” message), but hopefully someone chimes in if they give it a go and run into issues.

  142. Thanks to you I’ve revived my old macbook 2,1using lubuntu! I have a question regarding iMacs from early 2006 that run an intel core duo (not 2 duo) though… Where can I find images that are 32bit and are modified to work with early 2006 imac? Sort of screwed my old imac after somehow booting the lubuntu disc I burned and wiped the partitions.

  143. Jonas Carlsson

    Hello Matt and fellow 32bit EFI users. The last week i´ve tried lots of iso’s from this site, mostly with great success, i’ve tried Solus, Ubuntu Mate, Studio, Vanilla and Lubuntu. But unfortunately my PSU usage is very high when i stream things like Netflix, the usage is moore than 100 % sometimes close to 200%. I’ve tried lots of different browsers, but with the same result. I also have cleaned the insides from dust. Is there something i can do or is my computer too old for modern streaming? I have a 1.83 Ghz Mac Mini 2007.

    Thanks

    Jonas

    • High resolution stuff will likely be a problem. All of them will have to decode in software (even H264 hardware decode didn’t show up in Intel stuff until 2010 and we’re getting past that these days).

      For Netflix, you could try dropping into the account options and choose the lowest quality stream – it should at least be a bit easier on the CPU. Unfortunately, I seem to recall this being an account-wide setting so you’ll inevitably be switching back and forth all the time if you view on multiple devices.

      For other online streaming, dropping the resolution as much as possible should help. YouTube’s usually pretty good here but other streaming sites can be hit and miss.

      For local videos (mp4/mkv/etc), again, smaller resolutions will be helpful. Keep in mind 2007 is when XVID was alive and well… I don’t think I’d be trying HEVC level stuff or anything. It might also be worth trying a few different video players – historically I remember some being vastly more efficient than others but I don’t know if that’s still the case. I’d try out a few of the common ones (MPV, VLC, etc) and compare.

      I guess most of that boils down to “find low resolutions and older video formats”. Maybe someone else can chime in if they’ve had a little more success with modern videos on older hardware.

  144. Hi, just in case it wasn’t mentioned – if you have a system you are testing, with no functional OS.

    You can open the superdrive by sliding a fingernail under the top edge of the drive door and pulling it down carefully. Then there is a small pinhole bottom left of the disk tray. Push in a straightened paperclip it will click open. Use a finger on left and right edges to pull the tray out. Insert your boot DVD you burned earlier.

    Now power down your system. Hold down the C key and power up. Keep it held until after the chime then let go. You should hear your DVD spinning up and starting the live session. Some GPUs might show a black screen for a while.

    HTH

  145. Confirmed I ran the c program against Ubuntu 17.10 on three Mac Pros (2,1 and 1,1) and it booted and installed fine. Also worked with an unmodified Fedora 14 32bit boot disk I had laying around.

    USB boot didn’t work, without an install HDD but I’m sure it would have using a DVD or CD like Super Grub Disk or other utility disk that has the ability to detect OSes on USB as this is the method I use to install linux on other unsupported systems.

    Many thanKs Matt and Thomas (author of the source c program).

  146. To save Matt on bandwidth costs, I’d like to add this simple snippet of info. Compiling the program took less time to do than pressing the enter key. I.e. less than a second. Running the program against a stock iso took 2 seconds approximately. So save our friend some bandwidth and use the program!

    This was on a dual quad core system with 32gb or ram, but I think the program is single threaded, and nt much ram would be used. If you had a few GB of ram, you’ll be fine. Plus tis way might be faster than actually downloading a modified image!

    GL

  147. Thx very much Matt. I’ve managed to install Linux Mint 64-bit on a late 2006 iMac 5.1 which was getting slower and slower.

    I had to burn the DVD using another machine as my iMac drive had the laser calibration error. After a few attempts to get the iMac to read the disk it finally booted from the ‘Windows’ disc option and installed.

    Only question now is how to have it boot directly into LM without needing to hold down the alt key?

    • Usually that takes care of itself during install if you did a wipe/install – if you’ve only got 1 installation, it sets the partition to active, upon the next boot it’s the only partition it finds anyway, and all is well. Sounds like that may not have been the case here for some reason.

      If you’re dual booting (one explanation), the easy way is to pop into OS X, System Preferences (top-left apple menu), choose Startup Disk, change it to the linux partition, then reboot.

      If you’re not dual-booting (did a wipe/install), after you have the boot menu (Alt), you can try holding down Control before clicking/selecting the Linux partition. This *might* permanently change the default boot drive in Apple’s BIOS/boot. Not positive, but it’s easy enough to do so worth a try. You’ll know whether it worked on next reboot.

      The other possible option would be to try manually setting the partition to an active boot partition from within Linux. A google search containing the words “ubuntu set partition boot active” will probably result in a few options. This is the messier option, but if all else fails, it’s worth a shot.

      Hopefully at least one of those gets you going.

  148. Can I install one of the ubuntu iso and then upgrade ?

    • You should be able to. It’s worth backing up anything important between upgrades though – in the past I had issues during non LTS->LTS ugprades. Not sure if it’s still the case, but back up first to be safe.

  149. Just put Xubuntu 17.10 on my old Macbook 2,1. Thanks to you and to Thomas Schmitt.

  150. Thank you for this. Purchased your game as a tip.

    I spent a lot of time trying to figure this out. Wish I’d have found this sooner.

  151. Thanks Mint 18.3 Cinnamon running 1st attempt on a very picky late 2006 20inch imac. Delighted to get away from Apple 10.7.5.
    Tried previously but couldn´t get Puppy or some others running due to a black screen half way through booting up. Must have been something to do with the graphics ?
    Many many thanks again.

  152. Can you put the latest Debian 9.3.0 Stretch .ISO up

  153. Thank you so much! I’ve tried off and on for a couple years now. I’ve tried different usb drives. I’ve tried different usb iso programs. I’ve tried with different boot loaders in attempt to get it to recognize the usb. Thought I’d have to make the mac iso on the mac to usb, but etcher wouldn’t work on 10.7.5. I was about to give up again. I’ll keep this page bookmarked.

    Your Lubuntu 17.04 iso on a DVD did the trick!

    Note: Here is my experience as of 2/4/18 for anyone trying with a MacBook Pro 17-inch Core 2 Duo Late 2006
    Not complaining! Can’t thank you enough for doing this for us, just stating my test for others to know.
    Lubuntu 17.10 freezes. I’ve tried editing the boot with “nomodeset”. That gave me a light blue screen that froze instead of a frozen dark blue screen. I let it sit for 3hrs each time. Issue with the version itself.
    Puppy 6.3.2 wouldn’t light up the screen. I could barely see writing with a flashlight and reading glasses.
    Lubuntu 17.04 loaded up fast. Things kept moving so I didn’t watch the time. It was minutes.

  154. Matt first of all thank you for your guide, it’s one of a kind since few people successfully experiment with this. A while back when I stumbled upon this I could finally understand why my efforts where pointless until then having a Macbook Pro 2,2 non-uniform body (the late 2006 model). Even so I have a serious question to everybody here not just Matt. I’m in the WackDrive-is-completely-broke boat so my DVD which cost me too much and had to be burnt at a different place won’t work at all. These superdrives just plain suck and make a lot of people around the world angry. So I tried the rEFInd route without luck. It recognizes the USB install media but won’t boot it at all. Then I finally pulled the freaking hard drive out of the sh***y laptop which cost too much as well back then and put it into my desktop configuration. From here it’s apparently easy to install any USB live installer to the drive but…when I put the drive back in to the Macbook it still won’t boot (apparently can’t find file system; shows a blinking folder with a question mark). I only used self patched (your script provided) images of different distros for the installer and they can boot fine from the UEFI of my MSI motherboard. I payed attention to reformat the partition table of the Macbook drive to MBR but still so. Anybody has had this experience? What do I need to reconfigure here? Do I have to tweak the bootloader after installation?

    • Hmm… if your MSI motherboard supports a “BIOS-only” setting/mode (not all do), you could try that before the install just to make sure the installer doesn’t see EFI at any stage during the install. Downside is that whatever OS/HD is normally attached to your MSI is presumably set up as EFI so if you forget to switch the MSI motherboard back to EFI before trying to boot to it again, this might wreak havoc on that install. Heck, EFI can be so wonky that even if you set it back, something might end up goofed up. Almost hesitant to recommend this now that I think about it…

      The other option, and the one I’d pursue for the short term would of course be to try a 32-bit ISO for the time being, since they tend to work without needing modification. At least that way you’ll (hopefully) have a better chance of getting at least something running for now. If you don’t absolutely need 64-bit in the near future it might be worth considering.

      That said, maybe someone’s got a solid solution they’re willing to share or an idea for something else to try. Good luck in any case!

      • Now that you mention BIOS I got sort of confused. Isn’t the whole deal of Mac that they ARE indeed EFI? Although it’s EFI 1.x not the now so well known UEFI (EFI 2.x). So by standard they would require to boot from \EFI\BOOT\BOOTIA32.EFI which is why the USB-folder method at least recognizes the USB as medium. From what I read Apple wrote their own firmware which made it possible for EFI 1.x to boot from HFS+ because well, they could…and spec is just spec. And indeed the standard formatting of these machines is a GPT table (EFI spec) with a seperate HFS+ partition before anything else.

        So if I install a 64bit OS to this hard drive and formatted it as GPT with a preceding HFS+ partition as non-standard ESP it would just need a correctly configured boot loader inside that partition, wouldn’t it? My main issue with this approach is that grub-efi-ia32 won’t install to the HFS+ partition and I don’t know a lot about boot loaders and how to set them up for this special case. (There’s grub legacy, grub2, grub2-efi and several other grubs and then there’s other boot loaders…)

        You say you recommend MBR because that’s what most distros come with in their auto installer but lots of articles highly protest against combining EFI with MBR and if the spec even requires GPT and my original OSX used GPT, why not use it? Isn’t UEFI already way more common? This way the installation done with a bootloader started in EFI/UEFI should work just as well, shouldn’t it? Sorry for my ignorance.

        • These Macs are indeed EFI, and yes the older 1.x as you mentioned.

          The EFI is 32-bit only. This wasn’t a problem for Mac OS X Snow Leopard because it supported booting all the way up through to the kernel in 32-bit yet running 64-bit on top of the 32-bit kernel. Really nice stuff.

          Where it could have been a problem (but as you’ll see wasn’t) was Windows, or more specifically, Bootcamp. Windows was predominantly installed via BIOS mode and utilized MBR. Trying to make Windows use EFI took extra effort (your Win7 installer is either set up for BIOS or EFI – not both, and BIOS is default). Windows can’t boot a 32-bit kernel and then run 64-bit on top of it either – it’s either Win32 or Win64 – nothing in between. Really, Windows wanted BIOS/MBR.

          However, Apple had BIOS-mode compatibility in their firmware, resulting in Windows being able to be installed without much fuss. Because this “mixing” of EFI+GPT/BIOS+MBR was problematic, Apple’s Bootcamp installer converted the partition table to a hybrid GPT/MBR that would work both with Windows and with the Mac.

          So really, all was well. SL boots via 32-bit EFI and runs 64-bit apps on top. Windows boots in either 32-bit or 64-bit BIOS mode. No problems.

          Now we get to Linux. The way most Linux distros handled the addition of EFI was to basically incorporate it rather than split it off into a separate image. So rather than having 4 different ISO’s that’ll probably confuse people (32bit+BIOS, 64bit+BIOS, 32bit+EFI, 64bit+EFI), you just have 2 (32bit+EFI/BIOS, 64-bit+EFI/BIOS). If the system supports EFI it detects the EFI-variant on the installer and uses EFI/GPT for the install. If not, it gets the BIOS-variant and uses BIOS/MBR for the install.

          Where this becomes a problem is that Apple’s firmware on these older Macs was never updated to account for this. It sees EFI on the install disk and tries to run it. That’s fine if it’s 32-bit (since the Macs support 32-bit EFI). It’s *not* fine if it’s 64-bit – the Mac tries loading the 64-bit EFI, obviously fails, and you get the “Select CD-ROM” message.

          The little C program above strips EFI from the catalog, resulting in the Mac seeing a standard BIOS bootloader (similar to Windows), which starts fine. Since the Linux distro was booted via BIOS mode, most distros default to a BIOS/MBR install, and all (hopefully) goes well because there’s no opportunity for the Mac to get tripped up by finding a 64-bit EFI somewhere and trying to unsuccessfully load it.

          Okay, so with that prep out of the way, getting to your questions:

          So if I install a 64bit OS to this hard drive and formatted it as GPT with a preceding HFS+ partition as non-standard ESP it would just need a correctly configured boot loader inside that partition, wouldn’t it?

          Kind of, but this gets painful. You need a 32-bit EFI bootloader capable of loading the 64-bit distro (and configured to do so). It’s one of those things that should be possible with GRUB, but I haven’t seen much in the way of success stories. Assuming you get it going, the next problem is updates. Nothing like upgrading your system only to find that it won’t boot anymore because the updated bootloader defaults broke your carefully tweaked previous settings (and yes, this still happens).

          You say you recommend MBR because that’s what most distros come with in their auto installer but lots of articles highly protest against combining EFI with MBR and if the spec even requires GPT and my original OSX used GPT, why not use it?

          It really boils down to this: MBR makes sense on these machines because Apple’s firmware handles 64-bit BIOS/MBR and doesn’t handle 64-bit EFI/GPT. If you’re installing a 32-bit Linux distro, by all means go with EFI. If a 64-bit distro, then EFI really doesn’t make sense unless you love tinkering with this sort of thing: to me it feels like building a house of cards.

          If you’re dual-booting, allowing Bootcamp to convert the partition to hybrid GPT/MBR and then installing 64-bit BIOS/MBR still makes sense. Again, Apple’s firmware and OS handle it. They went to lengths to make it work. And really, the articles you’ve referenced protesting against EFI + MBR were probably referring to a more general case, as opposed to this special case Apple actually designed into their system.

          Alright, that was longer than expected. Suffice it to say, MBR/BIOS is the easier, straightforward, and more reliable option if looking for 64-bit. That said, if you want to pursue 64-bit via 32-bit EFI bootloader, by all means feel free to do so. There aren’t really any tangible advantages I can think of, although there’s obviously value in the learning/experience that comes from tinkering with that sort of thing. Of course if you’re still tackling ways to install without a working drive (as you mentioned in your last comment), I suppose it could be worth pursuing a bit – probably worth finding someone who’s successfully done it though and seeing if they can provide you with the exact process they took.

          • This dear Matt deserves an article in itself. Very valuable information very well explained. Spot on. As non native english speaker I’m somewhat limited in my ability to express my appreciation the way I would want to right now. Thank you for taking your time to help people getting in a right direction or even provide them with full solutions. I bet this bit of yours could further enlighten a LOT of fellow Mac veterans. Thank you so much.

            Although I’m tempted to further experiment with this your comment makes so much sense I will see how to make best use of it as I really am very involved in other projects and I just wanted to be able to use my Macbook Pro again. Hopefully it will result for somebody in success and lots of tutorials and articles around the web on how to accomplish it. Have a very nice week. Saludos from Mexico!

  155. Igor Will Hunter

    Hi Matt. I would like to suggest you to convert Linux Lite Iso for us. It’s a nice Distro based on Ubuntu and uses Xfce environment. It is light and looks fine. Thanks.

    https://www.linuxliteos.com/

    • Running the tool against the ISO didn’t change it. Since the Linux Lite OS distro suggests that EFI isn’t even supported (except in their experimental version), I suspect you can just download the standard ISO from their website (torrent or SourceForge) and it’ll probably work as-is, assuming of course there’s nothing hardware-specific that gets in the way (some distros just plain don’t like these older Macs).

      • Igor Will Hunter

        I’ve tried doing that already and didn’t work. I am also having problems running the converted ISO of Ubuntu Mate you have provided. The system freezes, the screen saver also freezes, leaving to me the only option to reboot the system. I think it has to deal with the GPU of my iMac (X1600). Any clue for making the GPU work better?

        • Looking around a bit, it looks like there might be a couple issues at play:

          • X1600 seems to be a more problematic card to begin with
          • The iMacs that came with them were’t super well designed and the X1600 has a tendency to get too hot

          I guess the first thing I’d do would be get some compressed air and see if you can blow out some of the years of dust that may have accumulated inside. If the card’s caked (or fan is dead… hopefully not), it’s more likely to be overheating which would explain a hard freeze. May not be easy to get inside with the air (you almost have to disassemble Macs to get at the dust), but do your best.

          An alternative would be running a GPU stress test (I think a couple are available for Linux, GpuTest/Furmark being one). If the GPU is overheating, a stress test should get that crash happening fast. Then again, if you’re overheating this just might kill the GPU completely. Come to think of it, I had a few AMD video cards from around that era die pretty fast. Maybe not the route to go.

          Aside from that, a slight chance that trying a different DE (LXDE maybe?) might have an impact. I mean, I’d be surprised if driver versions were any different (that’s assuming the X1600 has actually been worked on over the last few years which would also surprise me). But maybe something about the DE is driving the GPU harder or triggering some odd bug. I don’t think I’d do a full wipe/install here – try a LiveDVD, prevent it from sleeping, and just let it run to see if it crashes.

          Those are the places I’d start. Good luck.

          • Igor Will Hunter

            Thanks for your response Matt. I actually disabled screensaver which was one of the things causing the freeze and sleep is also disabled. The fans seem to be running fine, not noisy at all. I will continue testing everything, for now it is running fine. Please keep up the great work with theses converted ISOs. For me what’s best here is Ubuntu MATE with iSight working good.

  156. Thanks so much for this guide! Saved it to Evernote. Simplest tutorial I have found for creating mac-specific images.

  157. Thank you so much for offering this solution. I just installed Ubuntu Studio 16.04 on a Mac Pro 1,1, and althought the install took about 3 hours (probably slow or dirty DVD drive, plus only 1 GB memory 😉 ), it works flawlessly, albeit slow. It’s a friends machine and I advised him to get some additional RAM.

    Only nuisance: I’m looking at greyish Mac bootup screen for about a minute before Ubuntu actually starts its startup sequence. Which in itself takes an acceptable 1 minute or so. Would you know why that is, and what to do about it?

    • Hey MarkE,

      Tackled this tonight (it’s waaay past my bedtime now). So basically Apple’s firmware doesn’t have a default boot drive set anymore, so it’s spending that time looking for possible operating systems to boot from. If you have a Mac OS X install DVD (ideally Lion, but Snow Leopard might work if you only have your original disks), it’s possible to boot from it, pop into the Mac terminal on the install disc, and set the Linux partition as the boot drive manually via “bless”. Then upon restart you should be looking at closer to 5 seconds on that initial screen.

      This impacts pretty much everyone doing a clean Linux install, so rather than stick all the details in the response here (or risk ballooning the main write-up further), I put together a separate write-up (link) with the steps if you’re interested.

      • Thank you so much for your response, and then, so fast too! My friend still has his original install disk, so I’ll give it a try later on.

        It was such a great moment when after a day of tinkering (working with a keyboard with a faulty spacebar, which prevented me from entering anything useful in the terminal, and then I know zilch about Macs anyway) I found your blog.

        Just brilliant. I’m sorry I’m not into gaming or shopping at Amazon, I’d be sure to make a donation if there were an easy way to do that.

        Thank you so much.

        • I appreciate the thought. I certainly understand that a number of people aren’t fans of Amazon (for various reasons) and that the game appeals to a very niche audience within the niche gaming audience. I have a donate button up now for those who might like to send some direct support through that medium.

  158. Marko Niskanen

    Thanks a lot for this resource page. I have an old Mac Pro (2.1) that I’ve tuned to work with a more recent OS X versions. It’s not my daily driver anymore and I’ve decided to dedicate that to a PLEX server and VM host for some home automation tasks. SInce the OS X setup is quite a hack at the moment, switching to a Linux sounds like a good option for this machine. Thanks to your work I fell I can manage to do it within the time I have available for this project.

  159. Thanks so much for posting this… I put new life on my 2007 mac pro…:)

    Any chance you can include Antergos in the near future ?

    • It’s up now (shift-refresh page), but keep in mind that since it’s Arch-based it’s very possible you may run into similar issues that others hit with Arch/Manjaro.

      • Which models have you heard problems about? What about Macbook 2,1?

        • All of these 32-bit EFI models. The installers themselves usually boot and install, but after installation it looks like they often don’t boot from the hard drive (may not be installed/partitioned as MBR/BIOS). You can certainly try with a typical install, but there seems to be a need for manual partitioning quite frequently, and sometimes some other hiccups along the way.

          I believe Andre got Manjaro XFCE eventually working in the comments above, and Poerwo got Arch going by installing Ubuntu first and using Ubuntu’s bootloader instead of Arch’s. Some other tidbits as well if you want to peek through and see what they and others have done.

          If you’re fine with perhaps going through a little more troubleshooting and trial/error (some people are, some aren’t), by all means give it a go!

          Note that I’m just speculating when it comes to antergos. It could very well be more co-operative than it’s brethren.

          • Antergos works on Macbook 2,1.

            I’ve been fighting it ever since we spoke.

            This Macbook hates the currrent Linux Kernel, but it’s okay with the LTS Kernel…

            …Except that when you select LTS during setup, it installs the recent kernel as the default instead…!

            I used grub-customizer to set LTS as default.

            It’s perfect, really! If it wasn’t for your ISO, the Macbook would go to the great eBay listing in the sky!

  160. Has anyone tried installing any of these operating systems on a macbook 2,1 that cd drive isn’t working?

    • Markus in the comments above got Ubuntu 16.04 LTS going on both his MacBook 2,1 and iMac 5,1 with an external USB optical drive. He had some troubles with other *buntu images. Note that he wasn’t specific about the process he used, but mentioned rEFInd and I don’t know whether that was integral to the success or not.

      Nathan Hanson in the comments above got Elementary Freya going via an external USB optical drive. Process was creating an empty bootcamp partition, restarting with CMD-ALT, then it loaded the disk and he was able to continue. Note that this wasn’t specific to a MacBook 2,1 (not sure what he was using).

      …so if you have an external USB DVD drive kicking around, it’s probably worth a shot.

      Note that USB flash drives seem to be problematic. Some people have made progress with USB flash drives using 32-bit EFI bootloaders but it’s easy to run into brick walls here.

      The other options off the top of my head if the above won’t work for you (and if you just need something at least working for now) would be:

      • Try a stock 32-bit distro image on a USB flash drive (shouldn’t have to modify it). You won’t get 64-bit, but at least you’ll have something going.
      • Try the Debian multi-arch on a USB flash drive (again, shouldn’t have to modify it). No guarantees though – it’s one of those things that could work, but I don’t know whether people have tried this on the Macs (or were sucessful if so).
  161. Thank you Matt,
    However, it does not work on my Mac1,1 with Dual Core Xeon 3GHz.
    Would you please advise. Thank you.

    • Will likely need more info. Which distro/version did you try, and what happened when trying to boot from the DVD? If the DVD booted did it make it to/through the install?

  162. Igor Will Hunter

    Hi Matt, this is Igor from Brazil. I’ve fixed the issue with GPU on Ubuntu MATE that was causing the system to freeze, I disabled screensaver and sleep mode leaving the display to sleep after 30 minutes of inactivity. Now I’ve found another issue on Ubuntu MATE. The computer auto reboots itself after a power failure. Any clue how to fix that? Thanks once again.

    • So on PCs it’s generally a BIOS setting that gives behavior on power outage (stay off or restart). With the Macs I believe it’s stored in the firmware. Normally when in OSX you can adjust it in System Preferences (under Energy Saver I believe), but obviously that isn’t an option if OS X has been replaced by another OS like Linux.

      That said, there are alternate options to adjust it, and someone’s written up a guide at:

      https://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2013/02/enable-auto-startup-after-power-failure.html

      …it shows the OS X option, a Linux option, and an option if booted from an OS X installer.

      Personally I would be inclined to use either OS X (if dual-booting), or the OS X installer (if Linux-only) with the pmset autorestart 0 command in the Mac install disk’s Terminal.

      The reason I’d use the Mac-ish options to set it in firmware (GUI or pmset) rather than of using the Linux option (setpci) is that there’s no guarantee the device ID is consistent across all Macs, or that you won’t run into other issues. Using setpci the wrong way could very well mess something up on the system that ends up being really hard to undo.

      Using the Apple-provided tools on the other hand should be predictable and reliable. Note that if you ever end up resetting the PRAM or SMC, it’s very possible your changes will be lost.

  163. Your post (a) solved a huge problem for me (b) proved to me that there is still good in this world 🙂 (c) Allows me to boot up my LinuxFormat DVDs that come to me monthly in the mail.

    Seriously , I can’t thank you enough. I was able to try our your build of Fedora 26 and Lxde-Ubuntu on my still awesome ( but Google chrome stopped being supported) Macbook from 2007 …it still flies with its fusion drive that I installed ( esp with Linux) even when compared to my 2017 Retina MabookPro….so much for “progress”.

    The best part was that I was wanting to have a spare machine to try out the awesome DVDs that come with my LinuxFormat subscription and thanks to your C program , I could boot Linux Mint off the LXF233 disk without any hiccups on the same 2007 MacBook.

    I am thinking i’ll blog the whole journey on Medium …but seriously , thanks a tonne.

    • Glad it worked, though credit for the C program itself and work done in the original Mac-specific (14.04 and earlier) Ubuntu images definitely goes to others who worked on that stuff.

      Blogging about the journey definitely sounds good! Sometimes people run into hiccups (or are concerned they will and are hesitant to try). Seeing the experiences of others can help both situations. Also helps in getting the word out – I’m sure at this point a number of these older Macs are getting dumped or sitting unused, and when people can resurrect them with a Linux install they’ve got a useful machine again to use (or to give to a friend/relative).

  164. just installed elementary 4 on an iMac 5,1 late 2006 model. detected wifi (loaded correct wifi driver unlike Linux Mint Cin) and runs very snappy!

  165. Hi, Im looking for recommendations for a Mac Pro 2,1 2007 running 10.11.6 so that can hopefully run anaconda/rStudio/iPython etc.
    Thanks in advance, best regards!
    Graham

  166. Hi Matt, just want to let you know that I got Mac Pro 1,1 firmware upgraded to 2,1 running Centos 7 smoothly. That was as easy install as it gets. Thanks a gazillion!

  167. Any idea on how to get AHCI running on Macbook pro 2,1 Ubuntu 16.04 LTS?

    The newer version has corrupted display. Probably Wayland and AMD driver issue, so I have to use 16.04 LTS instead.

  168. Hi can you make an iso for Xubuntu 16.04 LTS? Thanks

  169. Hi Matt
    I’m not a noob at coding but I’m not familiar with c and i cant find out what the script is actually doing. I’m more in Java and javascript. But I really want to find out what is happening behind the script. If you know more feel free to contact me, since I didn’t found your email anywhere here 😀 . P.S: the script is working, no complaints. Successfully converted kde neon.
    greetings from Germany!
    Josh .

    • I suppose to summarise what happens (and this is assuming I didn’t misread or mis-interpret when skimming through the code), the program:

      1. Jumps to a specific (pre-defined) location in the ISO.
      2. Reads 4 bytes from this location. Those 4 bytes are used to calculate the location in the file that needs to be modified.
      3. Jumps to the new (calculated) location.
      4. Replaces data in the new location with zeros.

      Someone can jump in if I’ve goofed here.

      If you’re looking to completely follow/understand what each line of code is doing, much can be googled (ie functions like open() lseek() memset() etc). Other miscellaneous bits like bitshifting/bitwise ops (lba = buf[0] | (buf[1] < < 8...) aren’t commonly used in higher level languages like Java but there’s a bunch of info on the web if you want to see how those work.

      Unfortunately, a program like this isn’t a great introduction to C because while you can figure out the what with some effort, the why isn’t self-evident. For example: why the buffer size is what it is, what the significance of those 4 bytes are, what data actually exists at that specific position, and other things that may require an understanding of the data structure within the ISO to fully grasp. It’s also not really amenable to being tinkered with so it’s not so great as a learning-through-experimentation program either.

      That said, hopefully there *is* enough there for you to determine exactly what it is you were hoping to figure out. Good luck!

  170. Thanks! I installed Kubuntu 17.10 on 2,1 recently picked up for $50. Originally, I had a drive with Deepin, Siduction, and Ultimate Edition(Ubuntu) that I plugged and played, but all could not make transition(thinking about 3 years) bump into the future and it is good to have a current system, though I really should have gone for 16.04 whatevs and installed whatever DE as I ended up adding LXDE, Budgie,anyways. I will attempt to make an install using instructions. Also for bot’s sake I will add, 7300gt on Mac Pro 2,1 with 17.10 seems to play best with nvidia-304 over nouveau.

  171. I have MacbookAir 1,1 Currently with lion and Win7. Would love to get Solus 3 and Budgie going. It looks like your Solus 3 is Mate, but maybe I can switch if I get it on there. Am I safer to just replace win7 with EXT partition, rather than going for the whole drive? EXT 4 OK?

    Thank you so much for all your work!

    • PS any reason MacBook Air 1.1 not on your list?

      Thank You again

    • To answer your follow-up question, the Macbook Air 1,1 wasn’t listed since it doesn’t come with an optical drive and these images tended to have issues when booting from USB flash drives. However, you could give it a shot anyway (or try a USB optical drive, or some other installation method).

      ext4 is certainly the easiest and least trouble-free way to go most of the time.

      As for doing Lion + Solus, keep in mind that while sometimes setting up a dual boot install goes flawlessly, it’s not uncommon for it to instead be tricky and/or problematic. You can definitely give it a try, but make sure you have a working backup and working OS X install medium first (test to ensure it boots) so that if things go horribly wrong you can revert and start over.

      Since you mentioned you were looking to try Solus 3 Budgie, I’m adding it now. If you shift-refresh this page in a few minutes it should show up in the Solus 3 list. Good luck!

      • Wow, you are the best! Heartfelt thank you. The MacbookAir 1,1 does recognize and “like” the superdrive, so I am planning to go that route with your iso.

        I will clone my drive first, and I understand the risks of the endeavor. Solus 3 Budgie is a serious carrot, however. I’ve been distro hopping, ubuntu-various flavors, mint, manjaro KDE, ategeros, etc, and I’ve now switched my two main towers to Solus 3 Budgie. It’s clean, well prepared, and resources seem well managed in comparison to the other stuff I’ve tried in the desktop context.

        If I understand correctly: I’ll boot from DVD. Gparted wipe drive and reformat MBR EXT 4. Cross my fingers and install. Be prepared for 30 sec boot delay. Would be so cool if I can rehabilitate the little beast 🙂

        The sheer number of posts here demonstrates how valuable your efforts are to many of us. All the best.

  172. Any chance you can make a version for Deepin OS, I heard it is supposed to mimic MacOS visually and would be great to throw that on an iMac.

    • deepin 15.5 should be up now. It’s the standard InstallDVD from a mirror (LiveDVD on their site was having issues), so unfortunately you probably won’t know for sure whether it’s capable of booting to desktop until you try installing. Hopefully it does. Good luck!

  173. linuxien84

    I tested Elementary OS with a DVD on an iMac5,1 using “Option” key on boot.
    Success ! Many thanks.

  174. Thanks so much for these images, and the information provided here! With that isomacprog.c program I was able to download a Fedora 27 image, modify it, burn it to disk, boot and install! I have an old 15″ MBP with no battery that I play with, and although it has some overheating problems (shuts down randomly) I hate to give it up!

    My only problem now is the trackpad is too responsive while scrolling, and I’ve seen many reports of that on the internet, so it may be fixable.

  175. How much would you like me to donate you if you could convert https://downloads.freepbxdistro.org/ISO/SNG7-FPBX-64bit-1712-2.iso for me?

    • Hey ssmmdd,

      Unfortunately, the FreePBX license is extremely restrictive and expressly prohibits modification of the ISO, explicitly including modifications to work on other environments. The “spirit” of the agreement in no way leads me to believe they (Sangoma) would be okay even with a basic accessibility modification such as this one.

      So it’s not something I’m really able to put up for download. Options would be either going with the 32-bit variant, or using their “Legacy” 64-bit version and seeing if there’s an upgrade path after install. Sorry I can’t be of more help 🙁

      • Ah, that’s a crapper! Bloody Sangoma. I tried the legacy one but the Mac doesn’t see it at all on the USB. Might try it on DVD though. Thanks anyway though!

  176. Thank you Matt! It`s Amazing! And it`s work!
    I have MacBook A1181 (Core2Duo on board). And that`s my way:
    1) Load from original DVD with OS X and change GPT to MBR on Disk utility.
    reboot & eject DVD with OS X
    2) Load from DVD with Linux Mint (your linuxmint-18.3-cinnamon-64bit-mac-mattgadient.com.iso)
    3) Install with full format disk (clean install). So-o-o long 🙂
    It`s work! But wifi is dead.
    4) Connect internet cable.
    5) Go to “Menu” > “Administration” > “Driver Manager” and install Broadcom driver for Ubuntu
    reboot
    6) Enjoy!

  177. I installed Linux Mint as a dual boot using your download. It wouldn’t install from a usb even with refind but the dvd worked fine. I partitioned the drive first and it gave me the option to dual boot. Thank you very much. There is a lot of confusing information on other web sites..

  178. Hi Matt – just wanted to say a big thank you for preparing and hosting these files – they have made a night and day difference to my trying out different distros to resurrect my ancient mac mini. It’s a 1,1 but with a core2duo upgraded cpu. So far I’ve just tried Xubuntu and Mint and both work like a charm but I think I’ll end up on Ubuntu Mate when the next LTS comes out of beta so it would be great if you could keep an eye on that. Do you happen to know if DVD iso’s will boot from an external DVD player connected via USB 2.0 on these 32bit EFI machines? Mine absolutely won’t see USB flash drives – hence my question. Thanks again

    • Hey Julian,

      A couple comments have led me to believe that an external USB DVD player might work, but I haven’t tested it myself.

      The 18.04 LTS *buntu editions should be up within the next 10 mins.

      • Thanks Matt – after watching an interview with Ikey from Solus I thought I’d try the Mate version, but had no luck. I think it’s something specific to that iso or Solus because this was the fourth or maybe fifth such 32/64 distro I’ve tried and all the others have worked perfectly. It briefly flashed a blue text of Solus login: then went to a flashing white underscore top left, then the DVD spun down as it kinda gave up trying! 🙂 Any ideas? BTW All the previous iso’s booted into the installer screen with me holding down the C key and so skipping the start up disk selection screen – while the Solus got nowhere with the C key and only a little way with the ALT/option – interesting to me that it would make a difference, and just FYI. Thanks again – much appreciated!!

  179. Hi!

    I’m currently running 64bit Ubuntu 17.04 on my 2007 MacBook, using the image you’ve so kindly provided, Thank you!

    However, since it’s not supported anymore – and actually things have started going awry with it – I thought I might update to Xubuntu, 18.04, again using the image you have provided. However, on reboot, my laptop won’t read the DVD. I’ve tried lots of permutations of buttons etc. to no avail. I’m also confident that I burnt the DVD as an image correctly using Brasero. Any help you can give would be appreciated.

    3

    • It might be worth trying a different Ubuntu edition – these images just went up yesterday and you’re the fist to leave feedback.

      If you used a different drive for burning, another possibility is that the Macbook drive is dying/dead. You could try booting from one of the known working ISOs to rule that out.

      • Oddly enough, that’s what my partner, who has absolutely no techie skills whatsoever, said.

        I’ve just tried the 32bit iso, and that’s done the same thing.

        Strange that it burnt the DVD though…

        Is there no way around this? I read other comments here that suggest an external USB DVD is unlikely to work…

  180. Hi Matt,
    thank you so much for this site and the effort you put into making ISOs bootable for us!
    My Macbook 2,1 was such a frustrating case… but you made it possible for me 🙂
    The only thing i have to mention is that your “elementary OS 0.4 Loki” Image is somehow bugged or has a corrupted file.
    In LiveCD or installed its the same with the CPU usage, the Gala service is taking up to 100% CPU and its not possible to work with this system. I downloaded a new version from the dev site 0.4.1 and got it past the “Select CD-Boot Type” Screen. This version runs fine without the extremely slow desktop.
    To boot without your special ISO you just have to follow this guide!
    https://medium.com/@mark.stanislav/fixing-select-cd-rom-boot-type-when-booting-windows-or-linux-on-a-mac-76bde5d6a593

  181. Love it! Thanks! Put new life in my old iMac.

  182. Question: is it safe to do disto update once installed, or will it change things with the EFI boot? Have not tried. Don’t want to put machine out of commission currently.

    • Distro upgrades are hit and miss. A few years back I had Ubuntu LTS-to-LTS work, but ##.04-to-##.10 bork the bootloader. I haven’t tried recently mind you.

      In any case, if you can’t afford to have the machine down, I’d wait on the upgrade until you’ve got some time to tackle things if you run into issues. Before doing it, it may be worth having an install DVD for the old version (and possibly new version) handy just in case. If you don’t do backups on a regular basis, it would be a great time to back up anything important beforehand as well.

      If/when you do the upgrade, reporting back with the version you went from/to and whether it was successful or not may help someone else out in the same situation (if you have the time and don’t mind!).

      Good luck!

      • Hi guys,

        Since I installed Lubuntu 17.04 on my Mac Mini 2.1 I successfully upgraded it to 17.10 and then from 17.10 18.04 recently. The move to 17.10 broke my VPN Client which is a know bug on their end. No other issues to report, 18.04 runs like a charm.

        • Davegod75

          On my macbook 2,1 the move from 17.10 to 18.04 didn’t work. It appears to install but the it just hangs on the first reboot.

          • Same here. 18.04 hangs on the first reboot. I think, it’s something with partitions – but don‘t know

  183. Hello Matt,

    Have you tried or would you be interested in trying this with Cloudready?

    Thanks!

    • I tried on Neverware CloudReady in in Nov/2017, but it failed on the .bin image they provided. If they’ve gone to using a more standard bootable .iso it could be worth a try. That said, this program will only work if it’s a multi-catalog (BIOS+EFI) image (similar to most Linux distros). No idea whether it is or not.

  184. Anonymous

    I can’t thank you enough. Just instaled Lubuntu 16.04 in a iMac from 2005 using your instructions and the isomacprogc. thanks a lot!

  185. Thanx for this Matt! I am running the latest Ubuntu on an old Power Book and have been wanting to run Ubuntu on my Power Mac 1,1. I downloded the ISO images for 18.04, 16.04, and Puppy. However, when I try to open the Disc Image I get the following Warning for all 3 ISOs
    “No mountable file system”
    Any ideas?
    Here are my specs:
    Mac Pro (1,1) 2 x 3 GHz Dual Core Intel Xeon, 6GB mem OS X Lion 10.7.5
    Thanx!

    • Sorry! Mac Pro not Power Mac!

    • Mac OS X doesn’t have native file system support for these, as they aren’t HFS+, FAT, FAT32, NTFS, etc. You’ll have to burn the ISO to a disk via a separate program (SimplyBurn or Burn are a couple common free Mac disc burning programs), then try booting from the DVD.

  186. Blair Flebbe

    Hi Matt
    Just tried Ubuntu 18.04 on a MacBook 2,1 and it worked great. Tried on a iMac 5,1 and installed fine but gives me black windows when I open an app. Any thoughts? Standard iMac with 4GB of RAM. It ran Lion ok when I started.

    • Not sure. Maybe at the log in screen hit the gear and try Wayland (or Xorg if previously set to Wayland). Otherwise best guess is a driver issue, which might be trickier to deal with.

    • Davegod75

      I tried ubuntu 18.04 on my Macbook 2,1 and it installs fine, but I get a blackish screen after the first reboot and it just sits there? Any ideas?

      • Anonymous

        Include a “nomodeset” in the linux line
        [When boot screen comes up, press the key to edit the boot (mine is “e”); add nomodeset on the linux line.
        After it boots, edit the /etc/config/grub to have nomedeset as one of the options, and rerun grub-config.
        [[typing this from memory. Specifics may actually be wrong. YMMV]]]

        • Anonymous

          Thanks, I’m not using any proprietary drivers however.

          What will this option do for me?

  187. Hi Matt,

    FYI I just successfully used your c program to modify a Clonezilla Live CD. Thanks once again for this little bit of magic!

  188. Igor Hunter Mephisto

    I simply gave up running Linux on my 12 years old iMac. I’ve tried almost all Distros here and it seems that Linux can’t handle proper graphics acceleration on ATI Radeon X1600. Linux randomly freezes leaving the system completely unresponsive. I will stick around with Snow Leopard on Chrome 49 for the sake of my health and patience.

  189. Thank you for this very helpful guide!

    It enabled me to get Trisquel 8.0 installed on my MacBook 2,1 and it’s working very well.

  190. I have installed Linux Mint 19 Beta with your method on a Mac Pro 1.1 and all goes well.
    Many thanks for your work and explication.

  191. I’m a mobile delivery driver Postmates, DoorDash, Favor etc. I got an order from the Mac store in the mall. It was a 27″ iMac so I diligently strapped it to my BMW K1100LT motorcycle (which cost less than the iMac) and delivered it to a really nice lady who asked me to set it up for her. After setup she asked if I wanted the old one iMac 6.1. Only problem is that I don’t have the password for the Active user and can only get in the disc utility. And when turning on with the option key (alt) I’m not seeing the usb. So what I’m needing to do is create a live dvd with one of the images to wipe this puppy and install Linux so I can give it to my mom who only checks email and visits very few sites?

    • A wipe/install is certainly the most sensible route for a pre-owned machine (password or not). I’m not sure whether you’re approaching this from a want-Linux or a just-want-something-working standpoint, but either way, if you run into hiccups with Linux you should be able to use a Mac OS X 10.6 or 10.7 install disk to wipe/reinstall also.

  192. Hi Matt. Wonder if you could help. Having so much trouble with the hybrid iso for a single boot Ubuntu working for MacBook Air 1,1. It’s all a problem with the Hybid nature of the iso. I’ve tried terminal line naming, all sorts but I’m not a programmer. Do you have any links or tips that a layman can understand to convert the iso to something the 1,1 Air can use the SuperDrive to boot from.

    Thanks in advance for any comments.

    • I mentioned in the writeup that the Macbook Air might be problematic, so no guarantees, but this is the process I’d try:

      Use a program like Burn ( http://burn-osx.sourceforge.net/Pages/English/home.html ) or SimplyBurn ( https://sourceforge.net/projects/simplyburns/ ) to burn the ISO to a disk. For Burn I believe it’s done via the “Copy” tab. For SimplyBurn use the “Burn Image” option. Sometimes one of the programs can be finicky – if so, try the other. You can also use another burning program if you happen to have one kicking around.

      Then try booting from the disk.

      If that doesn’t work, try a 32-bit image (download from Ubuntu) – burn it to a disk and give it a shot – if the 32-bit one doesn’t work either, then there’s really no point in fiddling with these modified 64-bit images because if the 32-bit one doesn’t work the 64-bit modified is guaranteed not to work. Obviously if the 32-bit one works but 64-bit one doesn’t, you can opt to stick with the 32-bit one if you’d rather not keep tackling things.

      However, if you’re fine with running a 32-bit version, you can try writing the 32-bit ISO to a USB stick which may work. There are a few ways of doing it, but the easiest might be to use Fedora’s Media Writer ( https://getfedora.org/en/workstation/download/ ). I believe it’ll let you choose an ISO you’ve downloaded (you don’t have to use Fedora), but again, there are a number of guides out there for writing an ISO to USB so take a look at a few and choose the option you’re most comfortable with.

      If all else fails, with a non-Air you’d have the option of pulling the drive and using a donor computer to do the Linux install (then swap the drive back into the machine), but I don’t know if the Air 1,1 uses a standard 2.5″ SATA drive or not (I’m guessing not, which makes this a considerably more difficult avenue to pursue).

      All that said, if someone’s had success with an Air maybe they’ll be willing to chime in with steps they took to install.

  193. Hey Mat, I love what your doing. Any chance you could add Parrot home edition? Would really appreciate it

  194. I would really be greateful if you will provide Linux Mint 19. Tnx in advanc

  195. Blahzinski

    Tried the mint XFCE but got no x-server. Going for KDE…. Also had tried the Tara cinnamon but the mac pro 1,1 usb went haywire on it.

    • I decided not to install it on the mac pro 1,1 for the fact that the drivers wont work on a pc nvidia card which I have
      laying around all over.

      I imagine the drivers may work with one that has an apple rom but not sure let me know if anyone can confirm or has
      some input about the cards w/o an apple rom.

      There is a thing called plop manager you may of heard of that works pretty good.

  196. edgar basto

    xubuntu 18.04 it installs in a corrupt way, it does not recognize the network, nor the cd units, and it is left without graphical environment.

  197. Blake Fargio

    Works great. I compiled and ran the C program to modify the Ubuntu 18.04 ISO.

    Now I can re-deploy my mid-2007 MacBook as a handy server with built-in battery backup.

  198. Worked brilliantly for Bodhi Linux 4.5.0, many thanks Matt, saved me many hours of frustration!

  199. Hi,

    I really appreciate what you’re providing here for the old MacBook community. I’m currently working on a 2007 MBP, trying to create a live CD to test OS’s before I decide what’s right for me.

    I took out my old DVD drive many years ago, and purchased a new in box replacement recently to make this go smoothly.

    I downloaded 18.04 Ubuntu as well as 0.4 elementary OS from your site and burned to a new DVD+r via disk utility.

    I cannot for the life of me get them to show up while holding the “option” key during restart. All I see is my “Macintosh HD” and Recovery HD”. The DVDs burned and verified flawlessly, however Neither DVD I burned shows up. Is there something I’m missing?

    I reset NVRAM, no change. Any help here would be very much appreciated.

    • Hey Evan,

      1) Disk Utility can be problematic for burning bootable ISO’s. You’re best to use a program like Burn ( http://burn-osx.sourceforge.net/Pages/English/home.html ) or Simplyburns ( https://sourceforge.net/projects/simplyburns/ ). Both are free – in one program it’s “Burn Image” in the other it’s “Copy”.

      If you’re really low on disks, you could alternatively try the disk you already burned in another computer to see if it boots from the disk. If it doesn’t, it’s a sign Disk Utility probably didn’t burn the bootable disk correctly. Note that on a standard “Windows” PC, sometimes the Boot Priority has to be changed in the BIOS to allow booting from the DVD before hard drive.

      2) Try another bootable disk (Memtest86, Windows XP/Vista/7/10/etc, Mac OS X Installer) in the drive (with option key to try booting from it). If *nothing* else shows up as a bootable option, then there may be a different issue to chase down. They should ideally be disks you know work (or have worked before).

      Those are the places I’d start. ”Burn” or “SimplyBurns” first if burning from Mac OS X. If burning from some variant of Windows (if using another machine to rule out drive issue), “CDBurnerXP” is a decent free option there.

  200. Ving B Junior

    Thanks for your great program to convert iso’s I used it for the Ubuntu version of Clonezilla and it worked. Unfortunately the drive had unrecoverable errors. You should add Clonezilla since it may be used for many reasons.

  201. Grateful guy

    Hello sir, and thank you for this page and your efforts!
    I loaded the Cinnamon edition and found my old black macbook to be running hot and lagging a bit.
    I also experienced intermittent boot problems with video and right click didn’t work.
    I understand I will need to work those problems out.
    May I ask if you will soon have the Linux Mint 19 “Tara” Xfce for download?
    My hope is it will run better and be less taxing on the hardware.
    Primarily this will be used as a budget stopgap internet machine for my teenage daughter.
    Kindest regards

    Linux Mint 19 “Tara” Xfce

  202. Used this iso: Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon “Sylvia” (64-bit Mac) – 1.8 GB
    …for my macmini2,1 and it booted perfectly. A big THANK YOU from west of the Pecos.

    😀

  203. I’m trying SO hard to turn a Macpro 1,1 with Xeon dual cores into a Linux Mint machine. I’ve successfully loaded Mint on scores of machines – Mac Minis, Macbooks, Macbook Pros… a 32bit Mini, and even a couple of Intel celeron Zboxes…

    The MacPro 1,1 2006 with Xeon has me stumped. It also has a dead Super drive.

    I’ve used etcher to make Mint19 Sticks – Won’t load no matter what instructions I follow.

    I’ve made a few DVDs. Even when I hole option, the DVD doesn’t show up as a boot choice. I’ve even forced the Lion bootloader (boot choices) to load, and then manually spun up an external DVD, doesn’t load.

    I burned a DVD off this list, with this distro – Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon “Tara” (64-bit Mac)

    AND IT STILL won’t show up either in mac bootloader, or in Refind – Yes, I have Refind installed on the MacPro and it sees all the drives I loaded, none of which have a 32bit EFI boot on them.

    The only thing I can think of is that I’m burning my ISOs to a DVD+R using OS X Sierra on a 2017 iMac. Is it possible that DVD+R is wrong? It spins up, but never loads on the Macpro.

    I’m about to custom partition a USB stick and try manually making an EFI partition, but I’m not even confident that will work.

    I’m a patient man when it comes to desktop Linux distros. I’m no dev or programmer, but I can get my way around linux desktop and server distros, no probs.. Beginning to tear my hair out…..

    Thanks much

    • 1) Grab a 32-bit version of Mint (or Ubuntu, etc) from their website and burn it to a DVD. Try booting from it. If 32-bit DIDN’T boot from a DVD, you know you have issues to deal with before attempting a modified 64-bit ISO. You can try going the USB route with the 32-bit ISO (etcher should be fine) – if the USB variant works, you are potentially looking at a DVD-related issue (drive or medium). Try booting the medium in another computer to eliminate a bad burn or defective medium as a possibility.

      2) If the drive seems fine and it’s really just hating Linux, it’s within the realm of possibility there may have been a Firmware Update from Apple for bootcamp compatibility on that device and you *may* need it to get another OS (Linux) going. To do that you’ll probably have to do a Mac OS X install, upgrade to the latest if possible (likely Lion), and see if there’s a firmware update available via software update or archived on Apple’s site somewhere. Ideally you’d be connected to a UPS in case you get unlucky with a power outage during the firmware update which would be bad since your warranty is long over. In any case, once the firmware is up to date, try the whole process again.

      3) If the DVD drive is just plain toast, one option is to yank the hard drive from the Mac Pro and put it in another machine with a working DVD drive. Use the ISO to install Mint to the hard drive (remove the original drive from the “volunteer” machine so that it doesn’t accidentally get written to). Then put the hard drive back in the Mac Pro. I would probably try this with the 32-bit version first, then if successful you can try one of the 64-bit modified versions. Note that the “donor” machine will likely need to have BIOS support enabled (not UEFI-only) for the install process.

      Those are the bits I’d go through first. Normally when I get to the “tearing my hair out” point though it’s worth taking a break for a while. Not only do I have less hair to tear out than I did when I was younger, but ideas/solutions tend to crop up when I’ve taken a step back for a bit.

      Hopefully something in there helps or gets you moving in the right direction (or maybe someone in the same situation can chime in if they came across a fix). Good luck!

  204. First- I would like to thank you for the work you put into this project. It has been VERY helpful. I was not able to get the Kali ISO to boot. I was able to get some of your other ISOs to work so I think the Kali is not working correctly. Again, thank you for your efforts.

  205. I have discovered Zorin 12 32-bit for older hardware, and it is now my first choice as others designed for slow PC machines don’t cut it as well as Zorin does; and it uses the Ubuntu repositories. But I would love to see Zorin 12 in a 64-bit version with 32-bit boot for old Macs.

    Also, no one has yet created a Puppy Linux distro for Apple PPC machines. None of the others made for PPC work optimally. Puppy for PPC G4 and G5’s with Mac icons would be the ticket, and PPC lovers would see you as a hero. They’re currently just good doorstops.

    Thanks!

    • Hey Dan. Zorin Core and Zorin Lite should be up now. Note that last I heard Zorin doesn’t have an in-place upgrade available to their Ultimate edition so if you buy it from them you will likely have to modify that ISO on your own (or use the 32-bit). If you choose to go this route and modify the ISO yourself, I believe they use apt, so sudo apt install build-essential is probably the only thing you need to do before running my “gcc” instructions in the writeup above.

      As far as PowerPC goes, building a distro with PPC support is very different from what is being done here. The entire distro including all packages would have to be recompiled (many hours) and where something doesn’t compile or is broken, each one would have to be fixed (minutes to days). Two options at that point:

      • Contact the distro, commit to being a maintainer, and ask if they’d be willing to add PPC support (they may decline: it’s extra work for them too, and if you flake out on them they’re stuck taking over and my eventually have to drop PPC again)
      • Release the PPC version as a “fork” and maintain it yourself: yet another Linux distro! This means pulling updates, adding patches, creating releases, potentially maintaining your own repo, etc… a lot of work!

      …both options can essentially become a commitment to be a full-time volunteer.

      Unfortunately, I wouldn’t make a great PPC maintainer… for starters, I don’t even have any PPC hardware and if I did I probably wouldn’t use it due to the power consumption! That’s before even considering the time/work investment! So unless you’re willing to become a PPC maintainer for a distro or can convince one that they should re-add PPC support, or can find someone who is full of zeal and up to the task, you’re probably going to be stuck with the following options:

      • Find the most optimal PPC-capable distro you can and just go with it.
      • Use Gentoo, build only the packages you want (perhaps getting it close to Puppy if that’s what you’re after).
      • Look into some of the *BSDs out there.

      I know it’s not ideal, but with fewer people using older hardware and most distros having limited resources, for most distros it inevitably becomes a matter of “this broke on X, it will take a lot of work to fix, how many people still *use* X because I have a backlog of other things to tackle for Y an Z which a lot of people are using”. Either that or a maintainer eventually has to bow out and nobody steps in to take their place.

      In any case, best of luck!

  206. Thank you for ismacprog.c
    I bootet 64 bit ubuntu 18.04 on an old MacBook with 32bit efi successfully.
    Works like a charm!

  207. I successfully booted and installed ubuntu 18.04 server on a MacPro1,1 but I can’t boot from it at all and it doesn’t show up when I hold down Option after the system starts. Any idea why this would be?

    • For the GUI versions,usually this happens when the disk was formatted as GPT instead of MBR, which results in the installer using the EFI bootloader instead of the BIOS one. My first guess would be possibly the same thing going on here.

      If you boot from a live DVD you can try “sudo parted -l” in a terminal. A response containing Parition table: msdos is good. Partition table: gpt is bad.

      The quickest thing to do in any case is try installing again – after wiping a drive, automatic partitioning usually gets this right but if it didn’t, you can try doing it manually and ensure you don’t have an EFI or /boot/EFI partition being created during the process.

  208. Thanks a bunch for these

  209. Valerio Pincini

    Hi Matt
    today Linux Mint Debian Edition 3 (Lmde 3 codename “Cindy”) has been released.
    If you have the time of create your version for that one it will be awesome.
    Thanks in advance

  210. Thank you very much Matt, I really appreciate it.

  211. Hi Matt! There are lots of old Macs around the world, which are obsolete because of old OS X, and linux is the perfect solution to make them useful. So, thank you very much for such as wonderful job!

    First, one important thing I’ve noticed on iMac 5.2 (white c2d model): Linux Mint Mate (as well as other linux distros, I think) is overheating this c2d machine in the upper side, and when you leave it running for a long time period, it may lead to physical LCD damage (vertical red/green/blue stripes on LCD), as on my photos below:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1CSNUsi_zymtjZfCQnljndpakGwmCf0vE
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1nA7noETmSJB8hbN9GSszbMnyn2KWRJy9

    The same damage affected couple of iMacs (model 5.2). I think overheating is wider problem with linux on older Macs, but I don’t have knowledge to track it down and remove it. I’m curious if anyone else noticed this. Here is forum thread I found with description how to deal with it, but I don’t know if it is the perfect cure for this problem:
    https://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?t=246788

    I found some info and tools to control Mac fans, which may be helpful:
    Macfanctld
    Mbpfan
    Lm-sensors

    I’ve noticed also, that Mint (and other distros) on Macs is a little bit sluggish, comparing to regular PCs with the same specs. I mean slower boot, slow loading prorgams, some lags in UI especially after system boot etc. There is some trick to make Mac booting faster, with blessing linux HD as You mentioned, but I have feeling that Linux is slower on Macs than on PCs anyway. I think that it might have something to do with slow HDD operation, but I don’t have knowledge to track down this problem and find right solution.

    Finally here’s great “Easy Linux tips project”, which I recommend to anyone to speed up linux Mint on low specs Macs (with 2GB RAM or less, etc.):
    https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/Home

  212. Hi Matt,

    Would it be possible to request PopOS from System76?

  213. After installing with 18.4 on a1211 macbook , it runs the installer and goes black, ive waited long enough until the cd goes out by itself and nothing happen

    • When it goes black during the install, is it possible the screensaver is kicking in or the machine is going to sleep? If so, try to keep active on the Desktop during the install. If it suddenly goes black and powers off even while active it could be some other issue – at that point you may want to try a different distro to see if it happens regardless of distro or to see if it’s distro-specific.

  214. Hey, I have a few questions as I am a noob. How do you compile “with this code”. And how do you put “the two files in the same directory”

    thanks!

    • If the code/instructions seem like complete gibberish, you’re probably in the position where downloading an ISO is the route you’ll pursue. If you do really want to compile on your own, search the web for “hello world in c” and/or “hello world in gcc” and get that working first. Hopefully the instructions will make a lot more sense after completing that.

  215. Hey i don’t know how to compile a program. Can you make one for the newest elementary OS?

    Thank you! (PS, the 4.0 elementary os you have up does not work, the older one works though)

    • Elementary 0.4.1 should now be up. Good luck!

      • Sorry about the troubles but I wiped the drive from the live CD. The moment I try booting without the live cd installed I get stuck on a purple screen (the colour of Ubuntu os)

        I enabled ms dos from fparted so I’m not sure what to do now…

        Do you have any ideas?

        Thanks

        • The numerous issues you’ve been running into has me wondering if there’s either some sort of hardware issue being flakey, or some change with the latest Ubuntu version(s) that may be causing extended issues.

          In any case, stuck on the purple screen I haven’t run into before. This is where considering whether or not you might be “chasing rabbits” with the following is worthwhile. That said, the things I’d normally try:

          • Wait (give it a few minutes) at the purple screen in case it’s just working very very slowly.
          • Press ESCAPE when attempting to boot from the hard drive as soon as the purple screen shows up – it may hide the intended splash screen and show text that points to the issue in the console.
          • Hold shift immediately after starting the computer before it tries loading from the hard drive (keep shift held). This should normally bring up the grub boot menu. If it does, edit the boot options and change the line GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="splash quiet" to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="nosplash debug nomodeset" which should hopefully show some text (and maybe give an indication where it hangs) during boot.
          • If none of the above are fruitful, boot from the LiveDVD and install Boot Repair (instructions at: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot-Repair ), via the 2nd option on that page. 1st option is okay too if you want to create a separate disk, but usually easiest just to install stuff to the LiveDVD despite the fact that it generally doesn’t persist upon restart. Using that tool is the easiest way to try repairing the boot area and/or enable boot time options (like a countdown). I should stress that this tool is usually used when you have a working system though that stopped working – your situation seems to be a non-working boot from the get-go so I wouldn’t have very high hopes for this one.
          • Finally, you could try an older version that is known to work. 16.04 was the one I originally used and it definitely has a smooth history (on the Macbook 2,1 anyway). If even that doesn’t work you are probably looking at a hardware issue: AMD/nVidia graphics could be a simply driver-related bit (though nomodeset can alleviate that in some cases), but those tend to be the exceptions. Note that 16.04 is an LTS release so if it *does* work while other don’t, there’s some consolation in that 16.04 is supported until 2021.
    • Hey, it’s me again! Thank you for the continued support to the vintage max community. I’ve never been to this website before but I’m glad I did, to think someone would take the time out of his day to help random guys like us even after two years.

      Anyways, thanks for the 4.2 version of elementary IO. However, I got one other question for you: The apple logo on the back of device does not light up, the webcam won’t turn on and the cool apple startup chime is gone! Is there anyway these can be fixed? I looked for drivers online but no luck so I turned to our resident expert i.e YOU

      This would help so much, I got this PC for free and put a 128gb SSD and upgraded its DDR2 ram to its maximum of 3GB, don’t forget a new battery too. I find it so cool that these macs can be revived for so cheap. It actually performs outside my expectations as well.

      Is that a Tim Hortons mug? I knew you were a fellow Canadian 😀

      • Hey Jonah,

        1) As far as I know, the glowing Apple logo is lit up by the screen backlight. So as long as the screen is on, it should be on too. It’s possible the previous owner either covered it up with an Apple shaped sticker (use a finger nail to see if this is the case), or disassembled the display lid and covered it up internally. That said, it is possible there is some other method in which it could have been turned off, covered, or disabled: search the web for “turn off apple logo light” to see methods people have used to do it and see if you can figure out which one the previous owner did.

        2) For the start up chime, if the volume was muted in MacOS before it was shut down, it likely would have stored that volume in the firmware. Use a Snow Leopard or Lion install disk and see if the volume shows as muted and can be turned back up. If everything *seems* like it should be working, you can fire up a Terminal from the Mac SO X install DVD and try sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=%100 – maybe that will work. This is assuming the internal speaker does work of course.

        3) The webcam… that one might be messy. Assuming it physically works (ie previous owner didn’t have privacy concerns and cut the wire), there *might* be a better option that someone knows of, but if not, a starting point might be https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MactelSupportTeam/AppleiSight. Unfortunately for this method you would usually have a dual-boot configuration with Mac OS X available, though they do briefly mention the possibility of obtaining the firmware elsewhere. If you do go through the work of setting up dual boot (keeping in mind that you may need to deal with installing Bootcamp to get hybrid-EFI-MBR for Linux to install beside it), a simpler walkthrough is probably the one at https://unlockforus.com/linux-mint-17-2-rafaela-on-macbook-41-late-2007-isight-webcam/ .

        Anyway, getting all 3 going could potentially be a lot of work (especially #3: personally I’d just lug around a USB webcam since I usually have to lug around the power adapter and a mouse anyway). If you decide to give them a try, let me know how it turns out!

        Edit: Yes, it’s a Tim Horton’s cup!

        • History: I have the old HDD with old Mac OS installed, the startup chime worked fine and the speaker was functional as well, the webcam worked too. I opened up the machine and everything was plugged in and functional. The issues are not hardware based, seems like a driver problem.

          1) You are right, I just have a feeling it was brighter before. Might be placebo

          2 & 3, I’ll look into that. Thank you 🙂

        • Hey, I installed the new elementary os from DVD and it worked fine. There were updates to be made and asked for a restart, after restart I am stuck on a black screen even if i try manually booting from HDD.

          Suggestions?

          • Some of the old Ubuntu installs used to do this (usually upgrades to the non-LTS versions for whatever reason). My best guess was that the updater was detecting EFI capability and installing an EFI bootloader. I unfortunately hadn’t solved it at the time.

            Maybe do a re-install and before doing updates do a quick check to ensure the hard drive partition is MBR (“msdos”) and not GPT. If it’s MBR and updates are toasting it anyway I really don’t know what to suggest… assuming it is a bootloader issue, manually fixing the boot partition after each update would be both challenging and time consuming so using a different distro may be a more sensible option.

          • Hey,

            I opted to install the latest ubuntu you posted. Same problem…

          • Check the gpt/mbr bit before installation, after installation, and after update (but before restart):

            parted -l

            Whether it’s MBR (msdos) or GPT should be listed under the Partition Table section. If it stays ms-dos at every step of way you’ll know it’s not related to the partition table and can rule that out as a possibility.

            If before installation it’s GPT, before you attempt the install you can wipe the entire disk and create an MBR table by doing:

            parted /dev/sdX label msdos

            (replace sdX with the proper value of your drive – you should be able to find this via parted, gparted, disks, etc).

            Alternately if parted acts up:

            fdisk -t dos /dev/sdX

            (again, replacing sdX, and again, this will likely wipe the drive)

  216. Hi
    I installed xubuntu 18.04 it never boots first time but boots second time and is ok
    I tried formatting had too Mbr then installed xubuntu again same happens as above checked disk says gpt .
    How did you format to mbr I must be doing it wrong hope you can help.

    • I’m not familiar with Xubuntu specifics, but if it is being problematic, you will probably have to manually partition the drive during installation. This may involve deleting all the partitions and creating new ones. Make sure you do not create any EFI partitions. If the installer insists on EFI there is a good chance that the drive is gpt. You may have to play with GParted (if GParted is on your live DVD) before installation.

      If you are running into difficulty there and want a slightly more simple (but lengthy) option, one possible workaround would be installing normal Ubuntu first since it usually behaves better when you erase/install. Once it’s installed and working, shrink the Ubuntu hard drive down to a small size and install Xubuntu beside it.

  217. This may be a bit premature, however, after several attempts at installing Mint 18 which failed. I think due to the generic drivers contained in Mint. My very old iMac is now loading files! Thank you. One comment, I am a noobie on Linux and as intrigued as I was with compiling Mint and the c script I was left very cold to the documentation on the web concerning compiling. Seems all the documentation is aimed at very experienced user. Where can I find noobie compiling instructions? Again, thank you.

    • I’ll add a copy/paste chunk for people compiling on Ubuntu to the writeup shortly. It will help 0 when it comes to learning how to compile a program, but will be simpler for someone who wants to try doing a ton of different distros without necessarily having to make a request each time and doesn’t really care about learning how to compile stuff (which is a valuable skill to have).

      So a brief “hopefully this gets you started” will follow. Here goes.

      Installing GCC (a compiler):

      • Linux – Ubuntu and similar – sudo apt install build-essential
      • Linux – Other distros – may already be installed. From a terminal try typing gcc --version and if you gets some output (not an error message) it is installed. If it is not installed, search the web for “install GCC on Fedora/openSUSE/myDistro/etc”
      • Mac OS (note that I’m skipping XCode/Clang options and using Brew/GCC for simplicity)
        1. Install homebrew through Terminal via instructions at https://brew.sh
        2. From a terminal install gcc with brew install gcc
        3. If having issues with brew, you can install XCode from Apple’s site which may include gcc and probably includes clang but is a very bulky install. You’ll have to search the web for help here (“install gcc on Xcode Mac OS X 10.x”).
      • Windows – search the web for “install gcc Windows“. You will likely use Cygwin – many guides have screenshots to help along the way.

      Learning to use GCC:

      • Using GCC is generally done via the CLI. You might use a GUI text editor to write/save your source code, but generally want to use the CLI to compile. This means the Terminal (Linux/Mac), or Command Prompt (Windows).
      • Search the web for “hello world gcc“. Depending on your comfort level in Terminal/CommandPrompt, you may have to look through a few guides until you find one that matches you level of tech-savvy. You can try appending different things to your search to help narrow down options (“hello world gcc in Windows”) (“hello world gcc for beginners”), etc. Chances are someone has YouTube videos available too if you prefer going that route.

      Once you’ve successfully compiled and run your “hello world” C program, the instructions in the writeup above will probably make a lot more sense – it will be similar to your helloworld.c program, except you’ll be making a new C program based on the text file I provide above, and will ensure the ISO you download is in the same directory as your new C program.

      Hopefully that helps steer you in the right direction.

  218. WOW! I didn’t even know this exist. Only Linux pa have got to work on my Apple MacBook 2,1 A1181 was ubuntu-mate-14.10-desktop-amd64+mac.iso that did burn out on DVD.
    Time to install Kali on it and dual-boot with Windows 7
    Nice work. Thank you 🙂

  219. Elementary os 0.4.1 worked for me as dual boot on Mac mini 2,1 (has 32 bit implementation of 64 bit efi for some reason). I just used disk utility (osx 10.6.8) to create a new partition as free space, and selected install alongside mac osx.
    Regular boot goes to snow leopard, alt/option boot let’s you select between the two (says windows). Thank you.

  220. Elementary and Pop! OS don’t boot on my machine.

  221. Many Thanks! I’ve installed Kubuntu on my Imac 5,1! I went down the dual boot path. For anyone interested in doing this too they will need to install “rEFInd” located here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/refind/
    rEFInd can auto-detect your installed EFI boot loaders and it presents a pretty GUI menu of boot options.
    I installed rEFInd after installing Kubuntu because (unlike with bootcamp) holding down the Option key when the Mac boots up does not provide an option of booting up Kubuntu.
    This video also helped me with chosing the correct Kubuntu partitioning options.
    Cheers,
    Simon.

  222. Trying to install Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 on Mac mini 5,1. It wants a user name and password. Can you provide that for me. Thank you

    • Been a long time since a LiveCD tried to throw something like that at me. Try the following usernames, and leave the password blank/empty:
      ubuntu
      ubuntu-budgie
      budgie

      If no luck, hit CTRL-ALT-F2 and try to add a user via sudo adduser mike. Edit: some of the combinations require a TTY login so try CTRL-ALT-F1 etc to see if there’s a combo that bypasses that. Afterwards, CTRL-ALT-F7 should hopefully throw you back to the GUI… trial-and-error CTRL-ALT plus different Function keys if F7 doesn’t do it. Log in with the new user (“mike” in this example) in that case.

      • Thank you. It kind of worked. Your advice was spot on but even after adding user mike in cmd, my Mac still refuses to install. The screen goes black like it’s trying to load live but then jumps right back to demanding a user name and password. My older Mac mini 2,1 installs just fine. Final straw for me I’m never buying another Mac.

  223. Greetings Matt – I’ve periodically visited this site (and this page specifically) over the last year+ for these tailored disk images, they have been a godsend ever since I started tinkering with much older Macbooks.

    I generally never bother leaving random comments on random sites, but this is no random page and just wanted to leave my appreciation for the work you’ve shared here.

    Many thanks again.

  224. Anyone tried isomacprog.c with FreeNAS 11 ISOs?

  225. Wanted to thank you for all your hard work on figuring this out and sharing it, it is much appreciated. Is there a way to update the EFI from 32 bit to 64 bit?

    • Not that I’m aware of. Not sure if it would even be possible to do via software (ie firmware update), but if it were, Apple’s probably the only one with enough knowledge about their firmware implementation to do it.

  226. Hello
    Congratulations on the initiative.
    I have a MAC PRO 1.1.

    I downloaded the Mint 19, installed refit and when
    Booting the boot it asks for 1. 2. Select the boot drive and do not leave the place.

    I just have a CD/DVD player.

    Can you help me?

    • rEFIt and/or rEFInd can be problematic with this sometimes. With the install DVD in the drive, hold the ALT/OPTION key during boot and see if it will let you select the DVD and boot from it. If the installer does not boot, you might want to try a different ISO (Ubuntu 16.04 is very reliable as a test). If none are booting the installer you might be out of luck.

      If the installer boots and Linux installs fine but it won’t start from the hard drive afterwards, it might be a partition issue (formatted as GPT instead of MBR or Hybrid), or could potentially be an incompatibility with rEFIt or rEFInd. In this case you usually have to spend time tracking down the issue unless you’re willing to go with a 32-bit install.

  227. Hi everybody,
    I want to let you know, that I was able to run isomacprog.c against a Windows 10 ISO (32 and 64 bit),
    Installation of Windows 10 works on an IMac 6.1!
    You have to use a DVD. Every method I used (unetbootin, rufus, LiLo, Win32Diskimager) failed.
    Only caveeat: the white boot screen stays on for about 10 Seconds until Windows boots.
    Mr. Gadient: Thanks for your In depth insight!
    greetz!

  228. Thank you for all of your work preparing and writing up this section of your site! To make a long story short I was handed my first Apple computer since using them as a child in grade school. Wouldn’t you know it…32-bit EFI Mac (late 2006 models).
    What is the point of running an old OSX which is not supported any longer so I started the long and arguous journey of trying to get Linux installed. Wow was that a process after swapping out the HDD after I received it. Next Mac, is going to support most up to date system. Now this old iMac is going to be a nice Linux box now 🙂

  229. I love you.

  230. Thanks, Matt!

    I wasted a few DVDs before I found this page. Your LINUX MINTLinux Mint 19 Cinnamon “Tara” (64-bit Mac) – 1.9 GB worked great on my MacBook 2,1.

  231. Could you do a Unbuntu Studio version please. I’ve been going crazy trying to get that distro to install.
    Thank You
    Mark

  232. So I took the Ubuntu route. I am running a 5,1 iMac, late 2006. I have rEFiT running as a boot loader. The Ubuntu 18.1 image worked flawlessly. I was able to erase HD and install Ubuntu Linux. It went through the installation fine…but…I’m looking at a ziz-zag screen of chaos. It looks like the resolution isn’t right, or the drivers are wonky, and I have no idea how to do a safe boot. I can’t get it to boot from the Ubuntu CD, and I did create a rEFiT boot disk, but can’t swap out the disk for the Ubuntu boot disk (did I get a bad install?) so I’m looking for any creative ideas folks might have.

    • Update: I created a rEFiT boot and was able to successfully install the Mint distro. Everything is up and running, except the wifi. Uh-oh. Anyone know what I need to do to get wifi going on a late 2006 iMac (5,1)? Love this site, and so grateful for the work done here. I work in a school and if I can get *this* iMac going as proof-of-concept, then I can resurrect a bunch of iMacs over at the admin building in storage and breathe usefulness into them for students, and the taxpayers. Thanks in advance for any wisdom, advice, or coffee cup sense you kind folks may dispense.

      • Hi Marc,

        I’m in the same situation as you. I have bunch of iMac 5.2 (late 2006) with obsolete OS X:

        https://everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/specs/imac-core-2-duo-1.83-17-inch-specs.html

        You can easily check what WiFi card is in your iMac by running this command in terminal:

        lspci | grep Network

        In my iMac 5.2 there is BCM4311. In your iMac 5.1 it should be the same.

        To make WiFi work in Linux Mint on your iMac:

        1. Attention: Broadcom driver from Administration/Driver Manager doesn’t work, because it is for newer Broadcom hardware. Make sure “Do not use the device” is choosed (it is disabled after fresh Mint installation).
        2. Open Synaptic Package Manager
        3. In the search field type: broadcom
        4. Install “firmware-b43-installer” (“b43-fwcutter” will also be installed). Make sure that no other Broadcom driver is installed, because that may lead to conflitcts.
        5. Reboot

        Thats it. I don’t know why, but it can’t connect to WPA2 protected WiFi, so it must be set to less secure WPA.

        I’ve tried bunch of linux distros, and CloudReady (ChromeOS). The fastest is CloudReady, so check it out. On the linux side I found Mint Mate to be the best. It uses less resources than Cinnamon, and it is more advanced than Xfce. I needed connect TV to iMac to play some youtube videos. My experience is that Mate is playing 720p YT videos well. On Cinnamon it was choppy, and XFCE had some problems with external display.

        To reduce boot time you should bless boot partition:
        https://mattgadient.com/2018/02/12/reducing-the-30-second-delay-when-starting-64-bit-ubuntu-in-bios-mode-on-the-old-32-bit-efi-macs/

        Below I’ll paste my post (from September 1, 2018) which contains some useful information:

        First, one important thing I’ve noticed on iMac 5.2 (white c2d model): Linux Mint Mate (as well as other linux distros, I think) is overheating this c2d machine in the upper side, and when you leave it running for a long time period, it may lead to physical LCD damage (vertical red/green/blue stripes on LCD), as on my photos below:
        https://drive.google.com/open?id=1CSNUsi_zymtjZfCQnljndpakGwmCf0vE
        https://drive.google.com/open?id=1nA7noETmSJB8hbN9GSszbMnyn2KWRJy9

        The same damage affected couple of iMacs (model 5.2). I think overheating is wider problem with linux on older Macs, but I don’t have knowledge to track it down and remove it. I’m curious if anyone else noticed this. Here is forum thread I found with description how to deal with it, but I don’t know if it is the perfect cure for this problem:
        https://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?t=246788

        I found some info and tools to control Mac fans, which may be helpful:
        Macfanctld
        Mbpfan
        Lm-sensors

        I’ve noticed also, that Mint (and other distros) on Macs is a little bit sluggish, comparing to regular PCs with the same specs: slower boot, slow loading prorgams, some lags in UI especially after system boot etc. There is some trick to make Mac booting faster, with blessing linux HD as You mentioned, but I have feeling that Linux is slower on Macs than on PCs anyway. I think that it might have something to do with slow HDD operation, but I don’t have knowledge to track down this problem and find right solution.

        Finally here’s great “Easy Linux tips project”, which I recommend to anyone to speed up linux Mint on low specs Macs (with 2GB RAM or less):
        https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/Home

  233. Hi,

    None of these images include EFI 32 compatible files.
    Only bootx64.efi included, which is x64 and will not work in any way on a 32-bit UEFI.
    Can you explain me where I can find EFI-32 compatible files in the iso, because there are none?

    • I dont want to sound mad,
      I just want to know 🙂

    • Hey Lixu. The “How-to: Making a standard Linux distro ISO compatible with 32-bit EFI Macs” section above delves into this a bit. Short version is that these images essentially force 64-bit BIOS mode (which will boot) instead of allowing the Mac to try EFI mode (which will not boot and will hang). This is what the old 64-bit Mac-specific Ubuntu images did.

      You can verify the LiveCD is running in 64-bit mode with uname -a. It will be running in BIOS mode though and not via EFI.

      If you do need or desire EFI, it’s usually a fair bit of manual work and I’ve only gone so far as to mention it in the “Alternative Options” section at the end. That said, I have heard that the latest version of Fedora may have native support for EFI here (it looked like someone was making the attempt anyway). I Haven’t heard of anyone trying it yet though.

  234. Just writing to say thank you for this great work!

  235. Hello Matt, I created a modded iso of Parrot Sec OS 4.3 and installed it on my old Macbook Pro2,2 (late 2006) and it works like a charm. Thank you for your contribution in providing the C-Program and all the info.
    An advice to people willing to install parrot sec os: Definitely tell the installer to install grub2 on the SAME partition as the os.(Even if mentioned differently elsewhere). Saves you some lifetime.
    Matt, thanks again.

  236. I installed the modified Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon on my 2006 MacBook 5,1. The installation succeeded, but the trackpad cursor was jittery, even after using custom settings to reduce acceleration and sensitivity. Then I installed the Xfce version. The trackpad cursor was stable, and remained so after I installed the Cinnamon Desktop. One odd change from Linux Mint 18: with 19, a power-on boot stalls. Powereing off and on again results in a successful boot. Happens every time. I tried holding down the Option key and selecting the drive (called Windows) for the first boot, but it still stalled. Powering off and on again resulted in success.

  237. I could finally install Linux Mint XFCE on an iMac 20″ 2006 (iMac 5,1) with broken internal CD/DVD reader. Here is what you need:
    1. rEFInd ISO image (mine was refind-cd-0.8.7.iso);
    2. one USB drive stick;
    3. an external USB CD/DVD device;
    4. Mattgadient’s Linux Mint DVD iso image (BTW, thanks to Matt Gadient);
    5. a blank DVD media;
    6. USB keyboard and mouse.
    7. not mandatory, an Internet connection with an Ethernet cable or a tethering cell phone connection via USB cable.
    Proceed as follows:
    a. write the rEFInd onto the USB stick (I used “USB Image Writer” Linux application, which makes a bootable USB stick);
    b. burn the Linux iso image onto the blank DVD;
    c. attach both the USB stick, the USB DVD reader and the USB keyboard to the USB ports of the Mac;
    d. boot the Mac;
    e. after a while, the boot screen of rEFInd will appear. Select the DVD media as your boot device;
    f. be patient: give the Linux installer the time it needs;
    g. start the installation process and be *very* patient: the complete startup will take some time. Roll a spliff!;
    h. choose the standard installation (Mint will install the Linux partition on /dev/disk0s2);
    i. after the installation is finished, reboot your system;
    l. when the rEFInd boot screen appears, choose your internal HD as boot device.
    It’s done!
    Now you have to activate the WiFi hardware. Open “Driver Manager” application of your brand new installed Linux. You’ll see that the network controller Broadcom Limited BCM4321 is unabled by defaut. Activate it by clicking the checkbox… Done!
    As for the iSight webcam, I could make it work perfectly following the instructions here:
    http://www.howtoeverything.net/linux/hardware/making-isight-work-ubuntu-linux-mint-and-skype
    to
    To reduce the startup grey screen time, the instruction you find above, right in this page, are ok. Remember to verify your Linux partition with the terminal command “diskutil list”. In my case the fix command was:
    bless –device /dev/disk0s2 –legacy –setBoot –verbose
    ——
    CONCLUSIONS – With 3 GB RAM everything works like a charm. The machine is incredibly fast in comparison to Mac OS X. Boot time: 1’10″… Since the result is well beyond my expectations, I’m starting to think that an SSD SATA drive could be a good deal.

    • … One more thing… In order for this method to work, you need to format your Mac’s internal Hard Drive, first. In other words, the internal HD must be empty, with no OS at all, otherwise rEFInd won’t see the installer DVD. Strange, but true.
      3ndriux, Milano, IT

      • Great! Just installed Linux Mint XFCE on an iMac 6,1 “24” 2006” with an extra trick up my sleeve. I had to boot the installer in safe mode. Everything works great!

  238. I booted linuxmint-18-cinnamon-64bit-mac-mattgadient.com.iso to mid 2007 MacBook. It boots, but won’t install. The only thing that shows up is CD/DVD Drive and 1.6 GB Loop Device. The HDD does not show up. When I run the Install I get You need 9.9 GB disk space to install Linux Mint. This computer has only 0.0 B. I get that message after trying other HDD’s, even a 120 GB one.

    The 1 TB HDD is good. Has Linux Mint 18.0 on it. Just ran it on the old circa 2007 Dell laptop that I am presently using. My understanding is that the mattgadient should just work and install on the 64bit/32bit MacBook. Am I wrong about that?

    • Hey borgward. Best guesses are that either the hard drives aren’t being detected by the SATA controller (hardware issue), or the installer is having trouble recognizing the partition table. Couple things I’d try:

      1) From the Live DVD, run GParted (or another partition utility). See if the hard drive shows up at all. If it does, it may be worth trying to wipe/erase the existing partitions from there and then try running the installer. In this case, before running the installer I might consider also getting the hard drive device name from GParted (ie /dev/sda, /dev/sdb etc) and also do a quick parted /dev/sdX label msdos or fdisk -t dos /dev/sdX from the terminal (replacing sdX with the proper drive letter) before running the installer just to ensure the partition table is MBR before you continue with the install.

      2) If the hard drive doesn’t show up at all in GParted, boot up an old Mac OS Snow Leopard (10.6) or Lion (10.7) DVD and see if the hard drive shows up in Disk Utility. If it doesn’t, there’s almost certainly a hardware issue of some sort (finicky connector, damaged controller, damaged ribbon cable, etc). If on the other hand it DOES show up in Disk Utility, then there could be some Linux-related issue. You could try wiping the drive in Disk Utility and then try Mint again, or may want to give another distro a shot just in case something distro-specific is kicking in.

  239. You are right! The HDD was not making a good contact.

  240. Igor Hunter Mephisto

    Hello Matt. If not asking too much I would appreciate if you made Linux Mint 19 (Mate) available for us. Thanks.

  241. HI,
    Thanks so much for your work on this. I have Elementary OS 5 installed but both wired and wireless do not work. Even bluetooth does not work even though devices show as available. I suspect its a config issue but cant seem to find how to solve it. Has anyone the same issue?
    Thanks,
    TIm V

  242. Hi Matt,
    Is there any chance of creating a Bodhi 5 64bit with 32bit EFI option? Currently have a old macbook 2007 which needs a new lease of life.

  243. It will work when I will burn it to usb with etcher? (or better Rufus on windows?)

  244. Man, after weeks of my spare time on my weekends (i have kids , so it’s just a couple of tries) you solved my problem. Man take my thanks and level up your karma.

  245. I installed mattgradient Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon on mid 2007 White MacBook. 2.1. I thought it was 32bit EFI. I looked up the specs by serial number. It has 64bit EFI. Should the mattgradient see all of the RAM. It only sees 3 GB. I next took a drive out of my Inspiron 1520. 64bit intel CPU and EFI. Never had mac on it. never dual boot. It only sees 3 GB of RAM, but all 4GB in the Inspiron. Also put a drive into the MacBook that had mint 19 Cinnamon that the install was done of the Inspiron. It also sees only 3GB of RAM on the Mac, but all 4 GB on the Inspiron. What is limiting the on the MacBook?

    • If your machine indeed has a 64-bit EFI, note that you should be able to use a standard 64-bit ISO from the Mint site (shouldn’t need the modified version).

      As for the 3GB/4GB bits, it’s a mix of a hardware and BIOS/EFI limitation. The platform has a max of 4GB installed memory, and reserved memory is stored/addressed within that 4GB range which results in only 3-3.5GB being available. 3GB of installed RAM will get you roughly 3GB of free RAM (reserved memory can be allocated above that address range), but 4GB of RAM will only add a couple hundred extra megabytes to that because it runs into the reserved space.

      Some PC BIOSs from the era had an option to push the reserved region up to a higher address space so you could access more of the 4GB, and platforms with a max of > 4GB will tend to push reserved mem to a higher region regardless. Your Inspiron likely falls under one of these.

      Just as a side-note since it looks like you might be experimenting a bit: if you install Windows on the Macbook, depending on the Windows version it’ll likely report 4GB of RAM – however, it’s reporting the installed RAM rather than the free RAM (if you dig deeper you’ll see that not all 4GB are available).

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