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Chris Lawson

[Guide] How to Dual Boot a Mac OS X and Linux System

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Through many trials I have found a way to dual boot Mac OS X and Linux through Chameleon. This is the easiest way for 95% of the Linux Distros. OS X does not recognize the GRUB bootloader or BIOS. OS X will also not read ext3 or ext4 file systems without a third-party application. GRUB and GRUB2 recognize OS X, but we want to boot everything through Chameleon.


1. Install Mac OS X and Chameleon. Or if you already have OS X and Windows as per Deepak's dual boot guide, go to the next step.


2. When installing the distro of your choice, always choose "I wish to do something else" or create the partitions yourself.


3. First, create a 250MB FAT32, FAT16, ExFAT, vFAT, or even FAT partition. I made mine FAT32. Make sure it is a PRIMARY partition. Set the mount point to /dos or /windows, it doesn't matter.


4. Second, create your linux files system (ext3 or ext4) partition, and set your mountpoint to /. Also, create a swapfile partition afterwards, if you wish.


5. Set the GRUB bootloader to install to the FAT32 partition you just made. So if your system is on  /dev/sda, and your FAT32 partition /dev/sda1 - install GRUB bootloader there.


6. You will get error messages about not installing a GRUB bios, or that the bootloader won't work there. Ignore them and carry on, letting the system install. When done, the system will reboot.


7. Chameleon will boot up and the FAT32 partition will show up, If it doesn't, just re-install Chameleon through Chameleon Wizard.


8. Rename the FAT 32 partition to whatever you wish. You can now use that to boot into Linux. Note that it will bring you to the GRUB menu. If you wish to skip that menu you must edit the TIMEOUT command. I'll provide     a link for GRUB2, grub is similar. http://linuxpoison.blogspot.ca/2010/11/how-to-change-grub-2-default-timeout.html


Enjoy your dual or multi-boot system!



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Hi, sorry to re-open an old thread, but I would like to install Debian alongside Yosemite, and the procedure above doesn't work, chameleon just doesn't see the fat partition, just "MacHD" (the yosemite partition) and "recovery". I tried everything, from putting grub to the same partition as debian, to creating the fat32 one and installing it there. Nothing works.


P.S. my HDD is formatted as GPT and my mobo doesn't have uefi (just normal bios).


Any suggestions?


Thank you

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