Tag Archives: apple

Updated EFI GRUB2 tarball, including 64bit

I’ve updated the EFI GRUB tarball that I created for my how to install Linux on an Apple Xserve EFI only machine instructions.

The new 89MB file includes both 32bit and 64bit installers (sha1sum). For systems with a 64bit CPU, but not a 64bit EFI, installs of 64bit Linux are possible via the 32bit loader (bootia32.efi). Just boot it and select the relevant 64bit option from the GRUB menu.

It does also include a native 64bit EFI (bootx64.efi) loader which I have not been able to test because the Mac Pro I use does not have a 64bit EFI.

This version drops both Jaunty and Leonidas, but includes a newer Karmic kernel and support for Fedora 12 (Constantine). Thanks to sufehmi, there is also a sample GRUB and X.Org config file included for Debian/Ubuntu.

This is covered in my original post, but it essentially consists of the following:

Grab a suitably sized USB memory stick and let’s prepare it. Please know what device it is you’re partitioning!! I’ll use sdz just for example purposes only.
Unmount it
su -c 'umount /dev/sdz1'

Partition and format it
su -c 'parted -s /dev/sdz mklabel gpt mkpartfs EFI fat32 0% 100% toggle 1 boot'

It should now automatically mount. If not, unplug it and plug it in again, or mount it manually.

Next you can extract my tarball onto the device, ensuring that it maintains the efi/boot/ directory structure on it and not create an extra directories because of the archiver. If it’s not right, then re-arrange things and eject the device.

You should now be able to plug it into your Mac and turn it on.

Hold down the Option key (Alt key on non-Apple keyboards) until you see the boot option. It should show “EFI” on the USB stick. Boot this and you should see the GRUB menu load. Choose the distro you want to install and away you go!


Computers still too expensive in Australia, despite strong Aussie dollar

Dell just released their new Vostro v13 for US$450 in the States. How much is it in Australia? AU$999.

Based on exchange rates at the time of writing, US$450 = AU$490.

We’re being ripped off over AU$500! That’s more than a second laptop costs in the USA!

Sure, it’s all about the market, but with the strong Aussie dollar it sucks that we cannot get some benefit when it comes to computers!

Apple does the same thing. The 13″ Macbook Pro is US$1190. In Australia it’s AU$1599. A rip off of over AU$300!

On the flip side, it stops me from spending money..

Linux on an Apple Xserve EFI only machine

We have a few of these Apple Xserve machines at work which weren’t doing much, so I thought I’d make better use of them. Naturally, this meant installing Linux on them.

These machines do not have a BIOS (or even any emulation), they use EFI and as such won’t boot the standard Linux install media. I knew that Fedora could boot EFI, so that’s where I started, with Leonidas (version 11). Unfortunately, the install media just wouldn’t work on this device, presumably as it has no BIOS emulation.

To cut a long story short, I had to learn how EFI works in order to get it booting and it wasn’t an easy thing to discover!

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