Difference between revisions of "MacBookPro7,1"

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You'll then need to rebuild your regular initramfs.  
You'll then need to rebuild your regular initramfs.  
I needed to include two modules in the initramfs file. In /etc/mkinitcpio.conf:
I needed to include modules in the initramfs file. In /etc/mkinitcpio.conf:
  MODULES="libata xfs"
  MODULES="ata_generic libata xfs"
Rebuild it with
Rebuild it with
  mkinitcpio -p linux
  mkinitcpio -p linux

Revision as of 12:03, 20 November 2013

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To install an x86_64 system, follow the MacBook 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.

Dual Boot

If you want to dualboot osx and linux, the easiest way to do so is to use rEFInd. rEFInd is a updated and maintained fork of rEFIt and should be used in its place.

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"[1]

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":

syslinux/ *** My bootloader of choice, see below ***

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.

gdisk /dev/sda

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 :) 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

You can compare start and end sectors between the two tables if you wish.

Press 'w' to write the table to disk and reboot.


Lastly you'll now need a bootloader. I use syslinux because I find it 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
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.

I needed to include modules in the initramfs file. In /etc/mkinitcpio.conf:

MODULES="ata_generic libata xfs"

Rebuild it with

mkinitcpio -p linux

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.


Wireless Setup provides instructions on how to identify your card, but if your MacBook Pro 7,1 is like mine then you'll head to Broadcom Wireless and use this command.

$ 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 netctl.


According to the Debian Wiki the MacBook Pro 7,1 has an NVIDIA GeForce GT 320M in it.


Works out of the box, performance however is not that great and your system will get quite hot when running nouveau.


The drivers work, but so far only when booting the mac in csm- or legacy-mode. See here for some discussion on the topic.

In short, booting in efi-mode, will crash the nvidia module when X starts, resulting in a black screen, so in order to use nvidia's driver, you'll need to boot your machine in csm-mode.

This can't be achieved directly, but depends on apple's firmware agreeing that your partition layout warrants this as presumably they implemented the feature to allow booting of windows xp/7, neither which can ordinarily boot off a gpt partitioned disk.

To be continued..