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Triple Boot on MacBooks Working 242

MikeTheMan writes "By now, everyone probably heard that Apple's recently-released Boot Camp software allows users to install Windows XP alongside OS X. But now, people at OnMac.net have discovered how to triple-boot OS X, Windows XP, and Linux. There are instructions on the Wiki for getting Gentoo running, but it is probably trivial to get other distros working as well."
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Triple Boot on MacBooks Working

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 15, 2006 @09:48AM (#15135187)
    (or whatever other OS might be fashinable, *BSD, ...)
    • Yes, it emulates the BIOS so you can install any x86 OS I would assume.
    • Well, if they actually managed to get Gentoo working on it, it should indeed be "trivial to get other distros working as well." Hell, if they just finished compiling Gentoo, OS/2 was probably still in development when they started....
      • Gentoo is for ricers [funroll-loops.org]!

        j/k, It's a nice desktop o/s, tends to be very very up to date. I wouldn't run it on a server though, the maintainability is a nightmare... and I know-- I just left a job doing admin for about 15 gentoo machines.
        • The reason we run Gentoo at work is because it takes almost no effort to
          maintain. So I gotta ask, what in the world are you doing that it's a full
          time job to admin 15 gentoo boxes?

          If you said 50 or 100, I'd understand, but 15?
  • by Quick Sick Nick ( 822060 ) on Saturday April 15, 2006 @09:51AM (#15135193)
    I'm not going to buy a macbook until it can run all the major OSes and emulate Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2 and PS3. And it had to have a cell phone built in, as well as an iPod.

    And it has to have an awesome case mod too. Because products are never good the way they are released, we always have to mess with them!
    • When it happens it will probably be on Emulation.net [victoly.com].
    • I'd like to see laptops have an "MP3" player feature. Where you slap it in your shoulderbag or backpack and plug in your headphones. A certain directory on the harddrive will be designated the "mp3 file storage" directory and there will be a set of basic external controls on the side of the laptop, say play, next, back, stop, shuffle.
      The laptop battery will provide power to the hard drive to spin and to operate the head phones. It would be an awesome use for the person on the go who doesn't want to go gadg
  • by backslashdot ( 95548 ) on Saturday April 15, 2006 @09:56AM (#15135217)
    While you guys with macs are looking to boot into windows, I'm looking to boot windows OFF of my laptop.

    Sometimes I think I should be in comedy. Funny, yes i know.
  • by fak3r ( 917687 ) on Saturday April 15, 2006 @09:58AM (#15135222) Homepage
    This is cool, I like it, but I want to dual boot on the Mac Mini; and by dual boot I mean like I have it now on my old iBook -- OS X and Linux. I don't want Windows on it. So, my question, when you boot holding down the 'option' key on the Mac can you make it so you'll have the option of OS X or Linux instead of having to rely on the NT bootloader to choose Linux? I'm sure after that you could hack out the Windows icon so you just have the X and Tux on the select screen.

    So, can it be done? Would it require hacking Boot Camp? Did Apple make this easy to modify? Also, I saw that the Linux ATI drivers work; do they support the graphics card in the Minis? I'm waiting for my local shop to get the Mini Duo Core's in, then I'll likely jump in, but I want to dual boot from there, like I do now.
    • This is cool, I like it, but I want to dual boot on the Mac Mini; and by dual boot I mean like I have it now on my old iBook -- OS X and Linux. I don't want Windows on it. So, my question, when you boot holding down the 'option' key on the Mac can you make it so you'll have the option of OS X or Linux .. ?

      I've played with Boot Camp, but haven't done much with it. [freedos.org] But from what I understand by reading the wiki, you can create a dual-boot MacOSX/Linux system. However, the BootCamp Assistant seems (infer

      • Do NOT mess with the partitions. Seriously.

        Use diskutil's resizeVolume command to create (up to 4) the partitions you need. You cannot have more than 3 "real" partitions on your system (OS X uses #1 for the EFI stuff).

        BootCamp works by having an MBR and a GPT partition table simultaneously. There are no partition tools out there that correctly edit both at the same time. Doing it by hand via's OS X's GPT/FDISK tools often fails, as well. I have no idea why.

        I'm one of the people who started messing with this triple boot first. Trust me; you don't want to mess with parted or fdisk (in Linux/FreeBSD/whatever). If you do decide to, go to mactel-linux.org, and get the parted patch, and then make sure you use the GPT tool in OS X to create a set of matching MBR/GUID partition tables.

        But I promise you; you'll have to wipe your disk if you start messing with these partition tables. Nobody knows the correct way to handle them, yet. More experimentation is needed, and there's a good chance that at any given point in the process you'll corrupt your disk.
    • My tentative suggestion -- given that I have no Apple computers and no experience with BootCamp -- would be to take the bootloader from ReactOS [reactos.org] for its Win2k-like behaviour and stick it and grldr from the Grub4DOS [sourceforge.net] in a primary-4 (as in fourth primary partition as the MBR looks at it) partition a couple of megabytes in size, then you have primary-2 and primary-3 and their extended partitions to use with your GNU/Linux installation. The Grub4DOS may need its Grub.exe and its stage-specific files updated to c
  • by SheeEttin ( 899897 ) <sheeettinNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday April 15, 2006 @09:59AM (#15135226) Homepage
    I, for one, welcome our new triple-booting overlords.
  • OS X... why Linux (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DiscoNick ( 743960 ) on Saturday April 15, 2006 @10:10AM (#15135250) Homepage
    Why would one bother using Linux if OS X offers all the features (well ok, most) of Linux, and the only feature Windows has -- some games (WoW anyone?). I've finally made the switch to Ubuntu on my work PC, but would be just as productive in the OS X environment w/o the need to ditch Aqua. Besides, XOrg can easily be installed in OS X...

    WoW Mod:Speed up World of Warcraft Load Times! [filenuts.com]

    • by The Hobo ( 783784 )
      Why don't you use a real sig instead of comment spamming? There's a reason they're optional.
    • Maybe you could be developing software that you want to run on Linux as well as OS X. Maybe you have decided that from an ethical standpoint you no longer want to use closed software, but you only know how to use OS X, so you want to ease yourself into Linux by dual-booting for a while. Maybe Linux distributions generally give you more ability to tinker around with the guts of the system, which is something you find enjoyable and educational. Maybe you just think it's a pretty cool thing to do!

      No offence
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 15, 2006 @10:26AM (#15135294)
    This is a perfect opportunity for the NetBSD crowd. They're experts at creating an OS that runs very well on very specific machinery. With some effort and direction, they could produce the premiere alternative UNIX for these Mac systems.

    We haven't seen a comparably standardized system since the SGI Indy, and that was over a decade ago. This time around the system is far more affordable, too. It'll lower the participation barrier for your average Joe and Jill Developer.

  • MacIntel - CHRP? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Saturday April 15, 2006 @10:34AM (#15135319) Journal
    From my perspective, the Macintel computer is the fulfilment of the CHRP dream from the mid-1990s. For those too young to remember, CHRP (pronounced Chirp) was an idea from Apple that stood for Common Hardware Reference Platform. Such a computer would exist outside of Operating Systems - it could and would run anything. It never really got off the ground, for obvious reasons.

    I always thought CHRP was a great idea, and it seems to me that the MacIntel platform running bootcamp IS the reincarnation of CHRP. I think that if Apple can run the price of their hardware down enough and incorporate things like card readers etc. into the front panel, they could really increase market share in a big way. For example:

    Here's an interesting idea, that could save a company vast sums of cash:

    Buy apple hardware, and triple boot the suckers, and wave bye bye to the vast collection of test boxen that clutter the labs.

    Granted: specific software that is dependent on specific hardware that doesn't fly with the mac platform won't be testable, but some huge vast percentage of what is out there doesn't operate that way, and this would especially be true of internet based applications.

    So, instead of using a old Intel box that's been re-grooved to do Linux (initial cost, say, $1000) and ANOTHER Intel/AMD box for Windows (say, another $1000) and an Apple computer to test the Apple build (say, $1500), you now just buy the MacIntel box, ($1500) and install Windows and Linux and you're done.

    This multiboot thing will be especially impressive as Microsoft continues along this idiotic path of multiple flavours of Windows. God ferbid they just make one REALLY GOOD version that does the job properly (a la OSX).

    But this Bootcamp thing could save some companies millions of dollars. They could upgrade their labs to Apple computers, run bootcamp, and say bye bye to HP/Dell/Gateway/etc. forever, fulfilling the beautiful vision of CHRP.

    Works for me.


    • Thats not bad, but virtualization is coming and that will be better.

      Imagine, instead, an 8-core Mac, possibly with a handful of drives attached, running OS X as its primary OS, with some subset of {Win98, Win2000, WinNT, WinXP, Linux (your choice of distribution), *BSD, etc.}, simultaneously each in a window of its own. Ideally, you could even virtualize another layer of OS X as a testing sandbox. If any OS goes down, you kill the process and load from some previously saved memory state. Screw rebooting.
    • Although CHRP was supposed to be a non-PC platform, whereas Apple's new approach is "PC Plus": you can run things a PC can run, and youc an run Mac OS too.
    • I think they might be close to finishing up Pink [everything2.com] as well.
    • Re:MacIntel - CHRP? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Maserati ( 8679 )
      Macs have always been good in multi-bhoot configurations. Way back in the dotcom days our QA department handed us a list of 45 PC configurations (OS and browser combos) and 14 Mac system. This request was made in all seriousnous, as if even a dotcom could come up with the office space for an extra 60 machines. We got the PC test builds done with removable hard drives (Orb drives - easier to swap than IDE removables) . For the Macs I just partitioned the drives 8 ways, named them appropriately and installed
    • Did they create this platform, or did they just merely jump on the same boat as the rest? A common hardware platform seems to me to have existed already when they switched to x86. I was already dual booting and virtualizing Linux and XP, after all... It was just as simple as compiling OS X for x86 to have common hardware for all three - in which case I wouldn't credit Apple with creating the platform; just joining in the party.

      But I'm too much a n00b to know the specifics on CHRP, so feel free to fill in

    • Lets see:
      * CHRP was an attempt to replicate PC-Clone economics for PowerPC
      * CHRP cratered
      * PowerPC became uneconomic
      * Apple belatedly switches to PC-Clones
      * You claim that Apple PC-Clones are reincarnation of CHRP.

      No, that doesn't add up.

      (I will agree that Apple will sell a lot of dual-boot boxes, espciallally when they start bundling Windows.)
    • by Florian ( 2471 ) <cantsin@zedat.fu-berlin.de> on Saturday April 15, 2006 @11:12AM (#15135456) Homepage
      Such a computer would exist outside of Operating Systems - it could and would run anything.
      You must have got something wrong. CHRP simply was a specification for an open standard PowerPC hardware platform, just as the IBM PC is an open standard for x86-based hardware.
      • just as the IBM PC is an open standard for x86-based hardware.

        If by open you mean, "Dammit! They found out how to reverse engineer the BIOS," then no, they're not similiar.

    • Do people still commonly use card readers? Maybe if you're switching cards out all the time (eg pro photographer) but all my friends have 512MB-1GB cards that we just dump over USB or WiFi.
  • ...why might one need to triple-boot three OS's?

    I'm not trying to flame or anything, but it seems like you can get pretty much anything you want out of simply dual-booting OSX and Windows without throwing Linux or BSD into the batch.

    • I do this.... why? Honestly?

      I prefer KDE to Aqua. I prefer Linux to Darwin. I know Linux. I know my way around Linux. Also, there are way more packages out there for APT4RPM (on SuSE) than Fink. Plus, X11 apps on OS X don't have the right look-n-feel, while they do on KDE.

      I use OS X for the Adobe apps, Macromedia stuff, and final cut. I use Linux for everything else.
    • Some people (*raises hand*) aren't big fans of either OS X or Windows, but want/need some apps on both. I'm much more productive and happy in KDE than in either MacOS or Windows. I'm really considering buying a new Mac, using Linux or FreeBSD for my serious work, MacOS for GarageBand and other stuff, and Windows for development and maybe games. It's a dream come true.

      My only concern is that, last I heard, there are still no AirPort Express drivers for Linux/BSD, due to legal threats from Broadcom.

  • "Get it Working" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BoRegardless ( 721219 ) on Saturday April 15, 2006 @10:55AM (#15135386)
    For life to get easier, we get OUR tools RIGHT for the job and "Get it Working", meaning efficiently.

    Lots of different work is out there for different people.

    For me, Boot Camp simply means efficient work with one fewer laptops being paid for, maintained & carried around, while still being able to run at virtually native hardware speed...no more, no less.

    End of Subject.
    • For me, Boot Camp simply means efficient work with one fewer laptops being paid for, maintained & carried around, while still being able to run at virtually native hardware speed...no more, no less.

      That explains dual booting Windows. But it doesn't explain triplebooting, since OSX is already a Unix system with all the trimmings. You did say "efficient work," and so I assume this isn't for play. I'm racking my brain but I can't see the reason for a work laptop to be multiboooting more than one Unix syste
  • very nice (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Saturday April 15, 2006 @11:12AM (#15135453) Homepage Journal
    This is an excellent step. Now if only someone can get the overcomplication down a little, maybe so that Linux boots directly from EFI and I don't have to choose "windos" first each time I actually want to boot Linux - that's just torture, isn't it?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This sucks. Now all of those Linux game developers will never port their games over to OS X. Instead, they'll just say, "Even though there is such high demand, we don't need to port Tux Racer to OS X. Just install Linux on your Mac." Son of a whore!
  • Everybody is talking how having Windows on Mac will make Wintel users "switch".

    However what I see in the last month is so far the opposite: Mac users trying to cram Vista, XP, 98, Linux, BSD on their machines.

    If this trend is to show what the future holds, Apple might in the end be sorry about what they've done to their business.
  • by delire ( 809063 ) on Saturday April 15, 2006 @01:35PM (#15135953)
    I'd be interested to know if it is possible to buy a MacIntel without OSX preinstalled.

    OSX doesn't fulfill my needs as a primary OS, but the CoreDuo Mac Mini has appeal as a low temperature SFF Linux box. If Apple do reach even half the market share they once had, I wonder if we'll be seeing an increase in demand for the hardware they distribute without the OS tax? Given that Asustek and Quanta make all of the Apple hardware, my next best bet is that Asus simply put out a blank SFF box with the same spec as the Mini.
  • I just need something clarified...

    I thought the whole point of this stuff..why it was so exciting, was the crazy new virtualization stuff, allowing you to run windows along side mac, perhaps in a window in osx, at native speed.

    Read up a bit on it and it seems its just windows booting on intel hardware because of some EFI update that ticked off the 'emu bios' option.

    There is none of the fancy virtualization going on?
    • There is none of the fancy virtualization going on?

      Correct, there is none of the fancy virtualization going on. However, once Windows and Linux work well natively on Mac hardware, it will be much easier to get virtualization working on the same hardware.

      What's happening now is for geeks, not for masses.

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents