This page contains tips on installing Arch Linux on a Mid 2010 13" MacBook Pro.
To install an x86_64 system, follow the Mac EFI installation instructions. It is recommended to read the UEFI, GPT and UEFI Bootloaders pages before trying any of this on your machine. Also of note, GIST.
See notes on video support before attempting installation!
The following assumes that you have somehow managed to install archlinux to a single partition on your drive, and that you still have your osx installation on a different partition.
I've found it easiest to install rEFInd from osx. Depending on your setup, you'll either install it to your osx partition, or to the ESP partition (install.sh --esp). See here for instructions. Installing to the ESP partition can cause some startup delay, which can be overcome by simply renaming rEFInd's installation folder to "BOOT" and the executable to "bootx64.efi"
Assuming that rEFInd was installed to the ESP, I've found it convenient to later mount the ESP as my "/boot" directory. That way, by setting
in your refind.conf, rEFInd will automatically pickup the kernel. All you need to add is a "refind_linux.conf" file to the root of the ESP, containing your boot args. I use:
"Boot with defaults" "root=/dev/sda3 rootfstype=xfs ro add_efi_memmap"
Note that my root partion is sda3 and that I use the xfs filesystem on it, yours may differ! So my ESP partition looks like this when mounted under "/boot":
EFI/ APPLE/ BOOT/ bootx64.efi drivers/ icons/ keys/ refind.conf initramfs-linux-fallback.img initramfs-linux.img refind_linux.conf syslinux/ *** My bootloader of choice, see below *** vmlinuz-linux
Note that the EFI/BOOT directory is normally named EFI/REFIND and that the bootx64.efi is normally named refind_x64.efi.
You should now be able to boot your mac in efi-mode via the kernel's efistub feature. rEFInd should present you with an option to do so. See here for more general information on the topic. This however has some drawbacks, as mentioned in the Video section below.
Booting your mac in csm- or legacy-mode provides a solution. To do so, we need a hybrid mbr, with at least one 'active/bootable' partition. See here for more general information on how to setup a hybrid mbr. Simply boot in efi-mode, then assuming you have three partitions, the ESP partition, an osx and a linux partition you'll need to use gdisk to set things up.
Press 'p' to print your partition table, which should look somewhat like mine:
Number Start (sector) End (sector) Size Code Name 1 40 409639 200.0 MiB 0700 EFI System Partition 2 409640 393186215 187.3 GiB AF00 OSX 3 393186216 625142414 110.6 GiB 8300 Linux filesystem
Press 'r' to enter recovery and transformation mode.
Now press 'o' to print your mbr. It should only list a single partition covering the entire disk. Or depending on with which tools you used to partition your disk maybe some other entries.
Press 'h' to create a new hybrid mbr. You'll be prompted for some input:
Type from one to three GPT partition numbers, separated by spaces, to be added to the hybrid MBR, in sequence:
I chose to mirror my gpt, so I entered '1 2 3', but it should be enough to just use one partition here. In my example, this would need to be the ESP partition, so '1', but in case you don't want to use the ESP to store your kernels, this could also be the linux partition, so '3'. You decide :)
Another and maybe more secure way to mirror the gpt is only to enter '1' for the first and only partition, the EFI or boot partition. This prevents the strange behaviour of MacOS. It can happen that MacOS or its bootsystem can't find his partition and will end up in a rather long loop. Then proceed as written below.
Make sure to say 'Yes' to the next promt:
Place EFI GPT (0xEE) partition first in MBR (good for GRUB)? (Y/N): y
Then set at least one partition as active/bootable:
Creating entry for GPT partition #1 (MBR partition #2) Enter an MBR hex code (default 07): Set the bootable flag? (Y/N): y
Note the MBR hex code depends on the partition type, press 'l' in gdisk's main menu to list them.
Press 'o' (make sure you're still in the recovery menu!!!) again to see your new hybrid mbr, in my case:
Number Boot Start Sector End Sector Status Code 1 1 39 primary 0xEE 2 * 40 409639 primary 0x07 3 409640 393186215 primary 0xAF 4 393186216 625142414 primary 0x83
Or if you choose to only mirror the first one, it can also look like this:
Number Boot Start Sector End Sector Status Code 1 1 39 primary 0xEE 2 * 40 409639 primary 0xEF
Even if the mbr table looks like this (note that in the second table only the last two lines are missing), the bootloader will know what to boot. You can compare start and end sectors between the two tables if you wish.
Press 'w' to write the table to disk and reboot.
The next important thing is the bootloader, which acts as the bridge from refind to your kernel. Based on the Mode you use to install arch, either EFI or CSM, you can choose a bootloader of your choice. But for now, We provide you with information about Syslinux and Gummiboot, because these are the two we tested successfully for now.
In both cases I assume that you managed to mount the EFI partition mentioned above to /boot/ already.
Grub is the one bootloader, which can handle both the EFI and the CSM mode. But because it's mighty, it also can be complex and the configuration are far-reaching. I recommending you, unless you want to configure the smallest detail in the bootloader for an unforgetting adventure during a booting, to use gummiboot (EFI-only) or syslinux (CSM-only), because both are really easy to setup.
Here, let's do it with gummiboot:
# pacman -S gummiboot
After installing the package, it needs to be configured, so run the installer of gummiboot:
# gummiboot install
Then you need to create a config file for gummiboot and add an entry for the arch booting. The sdaX means that you have to replace it with your root partition, in this case it may be /dev/sda3.
# nano /boot/loader/entries/arch.conf
title Arch Linux linux /vmlinuz-linux initrd /initramfs-linux.img options root=/dev/sdaX rw
As usual, for more information on configuring and using gummiboot, see gummiboot.
CSM-Mode or BIOS-compatibility
Otherwise, if you don't want to miss out the advantages of the nvidia driver, I suggest you to install syslinux or also GRUB for the CSM-Mode. We'll use syslinux because it's the simplest to setup, but others should also work. Install it via pacman, and then just execute
syslinux-install_update -i -a -m
It should detect your hybrid mbr and install itself automatically. Refer to Syslinux for more details.
Make sure to configure the bootloader's menu entries correctly: (syslinux)
LABEL arch MENU LABEL Arch Linux LINUX ../vmlinuz-linux APPEND root=/dev/sda3 ro vga=865 INITRD ../initramfs-linux.img
Note that 'sda3' refers to the gpt mapping, 'vga=865' means 1280x800 framebuffer resolution, nicer when using the nvidia driver.
Can't find root device
If booting fails, first try to use the initramfs-linux-fallback.img, as it includes more modules than your 'auto-detected' initramfs, and should allow the kernel to actually find your root partition. You'll then need to rebuild your regular initramfs. Rebuild it with
mkinitcpio -p linux
If you're lucky, the whole booting process with the regular initramfs-linux will end up successfully, if not, then try to add the following configuration and rebuild the initramfs again. I needed to include modules in the initramfs file. In /etc/mkinitcpio.conf:
MODULES="ata_generic libata xfs"
Note, that you'll only need xfs if your root partition is actually formatted with it, exchange it with the appropriate module for the file-system you use.
Once you reboot, rEFInd should now present you with three options, two linux entries and one for osx. One linux entry will boot the kernel via efistub in efi-mode, the other will call syslinux(or your chosen bootloader) which then should boot the system in csm-mode. Do the latter from now on!
The easiest way to see if you were successful, is to install the NVIDIA driver and start X.
$ lspci -vnn -d 14e4:
If from this you discover that your full PCI-ID is
[14e4:432b], then the following advice applies to you: Don't waste time on the
b43 driver. I've been fiddling with it for weeks, and switching to
broadcom-wl made all the problems go away.
broadcom-wl might make your device names funky, but that's easily fixed with the udev rule documented on Broadcom Wireless.
I also recommend
Works out of the box, performance however is not that great and your system will get quite hot when running nouveau.
The drivers work out of the box when booting the mac in csm- or legacy-mode. See here for some discussion on the topic.
Running the drivers in efi-mode requires setting some PCI registers before the kernel modules get loaded, preferably using a udev hook or GRUB script. Otherwise, the screen just remains black when X starts. Follow these instructions in order to find the appropriate PCI device IDs for which to set the registers. This approach has been confirmed to work and is still being actively discussed inside the above mentioned thread.
To be continued..