[personal profile] mjg59
This is mostly for my own reference, but since it might be useful to others:

By "Properly booting" I mean "Integrating into the boot system as well as Mac OS X does". The device should be visible from the boot picker menu and should be selectable as a startup disk. For this to happen the boot should be in HFS+ format and have the following files:
  • /mach_kernel (can be empty)
  • /System/Library/CoreServices/boot.efi (may be booted, if so should be a symlink to the actual bootloader)
  • /System/Library/CoreServices/SystemVersion.plist which should look something like
    <xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <plist version="1.0">
            <string>Fedora 16</string>
That's enough to get it to appear in the startup disk boot pane. Getting it in the boot picker requires it to be blessed. You probably also want a .VolumeIcon.icns in / in order to get an appropriate icon.

Now all I need is an aesthetically appealing boot loader.

Date: 2011-11-09 10:57 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Do the bits you described get accessed by some OS X bootloader, or by EFI? If the former, can we replace it with some bootloader which knows how to boot OS X? If the latter, has anyone looked into what it would take to integrate additional EFI modules which could supplant the existing boot mechanism?

rEFIt works great

Date: 2011-11-10 01:01 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I have used rEFIt on several Intel iMacs in a triple-boot scenario and it works great.

not Linux

Date: 2011-11-10 01:49 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
s/Linux/Fedora/ silly, that would be bad once Fedora supports multiple kernels.

yet another partition

Date: 2011-11-10 09:35 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
So does this mean that aside from the EFI system partition (FAT), and the BIOS boot partition, I'd need yet another bootstrap partition, this time in HFS+ format?

What's your setup?

Date: 2011-11-10 05:05 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
How did you actually get this to work? There are quite of few pages out there how to boot Fedora on a macbook with EFI... but they all seem to say a different thing!?

I created a usb live cd image of fedora 16 (http://dummdida.blogspot.com/2011/10/efi-fedora.html)

I then booted to the live usb image and installed Fedora. Here's my partition table:

/dev/sda1 fat, /boot/efi
/dev/sda2 hfs+,
/dev/sda3 ext4, /
/dev/sda4 swap,
/dev/sda5 ext4, /home

I see that on the EFI System Partition it now has EFI/redhat/grub.efi but when I boot my macbook (pro 5,4) holding alt the only option to boot is Macintosh HD.

Is this extra hfs+ partition required to make my fedora install show up in the boot menu? Or did I install this wrong?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can shed on this. What did you do to get your fedora install to work?

Re: What's your setup?

Date: 2011-11-10 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Ok. Thanks. I'll wait for F17.

But for my own clarity... were my mounts correct from above? And this extra hfs+ partition should be mounted to /boot ? is that correct?

Single boot?

Date: 2011-11-26 08:13 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Sorry it this is a stupid question, but this hfs+ partition does not have any effect/is any good when single boot Linux on a mac (OS X not installed), right?

Arch Linux on Macbook Air 4,2

Date: 2011-12-13 03:53 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
This may be helpful to some people who read this post:


Bootloader installation

Date: 2012-08-10 04:24 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
On which partition did you put the actual bootloader (the .efi file)?

If it's on the extra hfs partition: How did you get it there? As far as I know, Linux installation medias don't have a hfs file system driver, so you can't write the file to the partition during installation.

If it's anywhere else: How did you create the symlink? Symlinking to a file on an unmounted device doesn't sound very good, but you can't mount the partition at this point of the startup process, can you?

Maybe this is a stupid question, but I've searched for additional information on several other websites and most of them advise to use rEFIt, but your approach sounds a lot cleaner to me, so I'd be very happy, if you could clarify this point to me.

Re: Bootloader installation

Date: 2012-12-03 07:15 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
hey simply disable journaling in the efi partition, works good i have done and works fantastic.

Re: Bootloader installation

Date: 2012-12-04 09:53 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
i use archlinux, i made the partition on osx with gpt fdisk, then formated the small hfs+ partition and disabled the journaling. in installed manually grub2 on the hfs+ partition during the installation, and wen rebooted on osx blessed the smal hfs+ partition.

3.0 KiB free space
1 200.0 MiB EFI System EFI System Partition
2 175.7 GiB Apple HFS/HFS+ mac
128.0 MiB free space
3 200.0 MiB Apple HFS/HFS+ Linux EFI
128.0 MiB free space
4 200.0 MiB Linux filesystem Boot
5 10.0 GiB Linux filesystem Root
6 43.0 GiB Linux filesystem Home
7 3.4 GiB Linux swap Swap

Apple boot-picker menu

Date: 2013-09-11 09:06 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
How does the BOOTCAMP partition appear in the boot-picker menu if it is not HFS and doesn't have those files?

Thank You


Matthew Garrett

About Matthew

Power management, mobile and firmware developer on Linux. Security developer at Google. Ex-biologist. @mjg59 on Twitter. Content here should not be interpreted as the opinion of my employer.

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