Steps for Installing Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail in Dualboot Configuration on MacBook Pro Retina 10,1

Ubuntu's Circle of Friends Logo.

Ubuntu Circle of Friends Logo.

There are a number of useful guides to installing Mac OS X and Ubuntu in a dual boot configuration on Macintosh hardware such as James Jesudason’s guide here or Alex Victor Chan’s guide here. However, I ran into a problem with Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion not waking from sleep due to using the rEFInd bootloader (more information about this problem documented on this thread).

The following is the process that I used for successfully having Mac OS X and Ubuntu play well together on my MacBook Pro Retina (MacBookPro10,1) (15.4″/2.6 Quad-core i7/8GB/512 GB SSD)

  1. Using a Mac OS X 10.8 bootable USB flash drive (create your own by following the DIY instructions here), partition your drive into two equal partitions with Disk Utility. Format the first partition as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and the second as free space.
  2. Install Mac OS X on the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) partition.
  3. Boot into Mac OS X, download the rEFIt bootloader, and install it in Mac OS X. Reboot your Mac twice and you should see the rEFIt bootloader screen appear after the second reboot. It will have your Mac OS X installation highlighted. Press Enter to boot.
  4. Create a bootable USB Ubuntu disk with this guide for Mac OS X. It will involve downloading the Ubuntu 13.04 ISO image, converting it for Mac OS X, and using terminal commands to write the converted image to your USB drive. When it is all done, Mac OS X will not recognize the disk and ask you to initialize it. Choose “Ignore.”
  5. Reboot your MacBook Pro with the Ubuntu USB drive inserted. rEFIt will give you the option to boot Mac OS X (Apple icon) or Ubuntu (this might appear as two separate icons depicting four squares in a diamond configuration). Choose the first Ubuntu icon with the arrow keys on the keyboard, press Enter.
  6. Next, GRUB, another bootloader, will appear as white text over a black background (like DOS) and give you options to Try Ubuntu or Install Ubuntu. Unlike the other guides, I suggest selecting Install Ubuntu from this menu.
  7. The Ubuntu installer will guide you through the setup process. The only setting that you have to select is “Install alongside Mac OS X.” The Ubuntu installer will automatically find the free space partition that you created earlier, partition it in a way that Ubuntu anticipates, and install Ubuntu and its included software.
  8. At the end of the installation, it will return to a text-based screen and prompt you to remove the installation USB drive and press a key to reboot.
  9. After rebooting, rEFIt should show your Mac OS X installation (Apple logo) and Ubuntu represented by three stacked, colorful boxes (subtitled: EFI\ubuntu\grubx64.efi from EFI). Select the Ubuntu installation with the arrow keys and press Enter. GRUB will appear, select Ubuntu and hit Enter.
  10. The Ubuntu desktop should load very quickly, but it will appear very tiny at the native resolution of the MacBook Pro Retina’s 2880 x 1800 resolution. To adjust the resolution, click on the Gear/Wrench icon in the launch bar on the left to enter system settings. Click on Displays, choose a new resolution (I use 1680 x 1050), click Apply, and Confirm.
  11. The status bar at the top of the screen will show familiar icons for Bluetooth, WiFi, sound, and system/shut down (If Ubuntu does not automatically detect your WiFi card, you can download this package and its three dependencies from within Mac OS X, put them on a USB drive, reboot into Ubuntu, install each from terminal using the “sudo dpkg -i filename.deb” command for each–though, leave the Broadcom deb package for last. I downloaded the nightly build of 13.04, which I believe has this package on the installation disk.).
  12. To switch between installations, simply reboot the one that you are in and select the system that you want to run from rEFIt.
Apple's friendly byte.

Apple’s friendly byte.

Now, you can run Ubuntu or Mac OS X on your MacBook Pro. Here are some important things that you should do in Ubuntu after installation.

Also, it is possible to take GRUB out of the equation by installing Ubuntu with the “ubiquity -b” command from within the Live CD version of Ubuntu and configuring rEFInd or rEFIt, but I had trouble getting Ubuntu to boot following Jesudason’s guide for rEFInd (the fault is likely with what I did and not his thorough instructions). I can live with GRUB if it means that I can get my work done in these two computing environments on my MacBook Pro.

If there is interest among Brittain Fellows, I can incorporate this into the series of DevLab Workshops that I am planning for the upcoming year.

I am a professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on 20th/21st-century American culture, science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology.

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Posted in Computers, Georgia Tech
4 comments on “Steps for Installing Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail in Dualboot Configuration on MacBook Pro Retina 10,1
  1. dinepada says:

    will this funtion on a 7.1 macbook pro 13″?
    how can i unistall refit and ubuntu after?

  2. Hi Dinepada, I have not tried this on other MacBook Pros, but I would guess that it should work on your hardware. If you cannot get it to work, I would suggest a nuke-and-pave (reformatting your hard disk and reinstalling Mac OS X). Before you begin, backup all of your files and confirm that you have the appropriate reinstallation media for all of your software. After confirming that you can reinstall and restore your files, it is okay to experiment with your hardware. If things don’t work, you can simply start over by wiping the drive and reinstalling everything. Good luck! Best, Jason

  3. […] Steps for Installing Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail in Dualboot Config… […]

  4. […] regarding older writing (like my deep-throat Aliens vs. Predator post, various tech posts such as this one about installing Linux on MacBook Pro retina, and Lego posts such as this one on the vintage Launch Command set). The Recovered Writing posts […]

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Who is Dynamic Subspace?

Dr. Jason W. Ellis shares his interdisciplinary research and pedagogy on DynamicSubspace.net. Its focus includes the exploration of science, technology, and cultural issues through science fiction and neuroscientific approaches. It includes vintage computing, LEGO, and other wonderful things, too.

He is an Assistant Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY (City Tech) where he teaches college writing, technical communication, and science fiction.

He holds a Ph.D. in English from Kent State University, M.A. in Science Fiction Studies from the University of Liverpool, and B.S. in Science, Technology, and Culture from Georgia Tech.

He welcomes questions, comments, and inquiries for collaboration via email at jellis at citytech dot cuny dot edu or Twitter @dynamicsubspace.

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