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iMac triple-boot (Part 2): OSs installation June 20, 2008

Posted by idebian in Debian, GNU/Linux, MacOS, Windows.

Welcome back Guyz,
if you followed my part 1 guide on how to configure the iMAC for a typical triple boot configuration, we had just repartitioned the HD and installed the rEFIt boot manager.

We can now step on the Linux and Windows operating system installation.

3 – Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 “lenny” (64 bit) Installation

For my brand new iMac I’ve selected the upcoming 5.0 Debian release, codename “lenny“, 64 bit (amd64): lenny is still in testing stage but it will be released soon during this year.

Let’s download the lenny Beta2 Installer (amd64) netinsta CD image here and burn the ISO.
Note that the ISO can be burned directly within Mac OS X Disk Utility application: right click on the ISO file and select Open With … ‘Disk Utility’. In Disk Utility select the ISO in the left panel, click on the Burn button on top toolbar, insert a blank CD and you are set 😉

Mac OS Disk Utility Burn

We can now restart and rEFIt shold present us a new icon with the Linux on the CD: select that icon and press Enter to start the Debian Installation. Let’s choose ‘Graphical Install’ and follow on with the setup process: I won’t go into all the installation steps, just pay attention to the following details:

Partition disks

In the partition manager menu, select ‘Manual’ Partitioning Method and click ‘Continue’: on the following screen select Partition #3 and click Continue.
Set-up the partition #3 to be used as the root device:

Partition #3 used as root device

Once done select ‘Done setting up the partition’ and click ‘Continue’.
Now select Partition #5, click ‘Continue’ and set-up the partition #5 to be used as swap area:

Partition #5 used as swap area

Once done select ‘Done setting up the partition’ and click ‘Continue’. You should end-up with something like this:

Linux partitioning

Select ‘Finishing partitioning and write changes to disk’, click ‘Continue’ and proceed with the installation.

Boot Manager

Select the LILO boot manager instead of GRUB, and install it in the Linux partition boot sector and not in the MBR: on the LILO menu just select /dev/sda3 as the ‘LILO installation target’ and click ‘Continue’.

Select LILO installation target

When prompted reboot and we have a new icon the Linux OS on the rEFIt menu 😀
Before start Linux, make sure that the GPT and the MBR are aligned each other by selecting the proper icon on the second row of icons. Performs the synchronization and reboot with the icon on the bottom right.

From now on you can start Linux by selecting the penguin icon: isn’t that nice?

4 – Windows Vista (32 bit) Installation

The Windows Vista installation is also straightforward once we select the approriate target partition (/dev/sda4).
In order to do this we select the ‘Custom’ installation:

Select Custom install

Selecting ‘Drive Options (Advanced)’ let us format the 4th partition; then select ‘Partition 4’ and click ‘Next’ to proceed with the installation.

Windows partitioning

Note that during the reboot that Windows performs we need to select the Windows on HD icon on the rEFIt menu.

Again at the end of the Vista installation we need to resynchronize the GPT table with the MBR as we did before.

5 – Finalization

Reboot in Mac OS X and verify that everything is fine on the partition side by executing the rEFIt ‘Partition inspector’ tools which is in Applications -> Utiliy folder.
As you may see there are both the GPT and the MBR entries synchronized each other.

Partition inspector results

The final results

The rEFIt boot menu


Stay tuned!



1. crayon - July 2, 2008

thank you! just what i was looking for. plan to install win xp and fedora on my mac.
this will help tremendously.

2. nekten - August 11, 2008

What about the configuration of the wireless card under Debian? Any succed?

3. Homer - October 13, 2008

Hmm… I have read that in triple boot setup, there is no room (partition #) available for linux-swap space. See here http://wiki.onmac.net/index.php/Triple_Boot_via_BootCamp. I am now confused…

4. idebian - October 17, 2008

That was an older method 😉
If you want a swap partition you can follow this guide: it’s actually running on my system!


5. idebian - October 17, 2008

@ nekten: there seems to be some work-in-progress for the wireless card under linux (natively, not via ndiswrapper).

You can follow the development here: http://linuxwireless.org/en/users/Drivers/b43.


6. Homer - October 26, 2008

OK, Just bought a new Macbook pro last week. Followed this installation guide, and made it triple boot (OS X + Debian lenny + Vista business) this weekend! Thanks, idebian!

A few things to note,

1. I used Grub instead of Lilo, it works just fine.
2. I spent majority of my time to get Vista installed because
A. Somehow the windows partition is not “active” when I started to install Vista, I had to get a terminal (shift+F10) and use diskpart command to make the partition active. (google diskpart for howto)
B. During the Vista installation process, I could not get the 1st CD out when I was asked for the 2nd install CD since there is no button to eject CD on Macbook. Googled and found a solution here (http://num19.blogspot.com/2007/03/boot-camp-multi-cd-vista-install.html).

Now I need to get all the devices working on debian, first one is the wireless card (bcm4328)…

Any help?

7. Homer - November 4, 2008

Ok, I used ndiswrapper to get bcm0x4328 (which is not supported by linux b43 drivers) to work. However, ssb module always reloads at boot which conflict with ndiswrapper even I blacklisted it. I guess it is internal, I had to do rmmod ssb and modprobe ndiswrapper each boot. I need to find a better way, any suggestions?

Cannot get sound to work. using alsa, see lsmod output below:
Module Size Used by
nvidia 7086148 36
rfcomm 28272 0
l2cap 17248 5 rfcomm
ipv6 235300 16
ppdev 6468 0
parport_pc 22500 0
lp 8164 0
parport 30988 3 ppdev,parport_pc,lp
acpi_cpufreq 6796 1
cpufreq_powersave 1856 0
cpufreq_stats 3776 0
cpufreq_userspace 3172 0
cpufreq_conservative 5960 0
cpufreq_ondemand 6476 1
freq_table 4224 3 acpi_cpufreq,cpufreq_stats,cpufreq_ondemand
nls_utf8 1760 1
hfsplus 66052 1
nls_base 6820 2 nls_utf8,hfsplus
loop 12748 0
snd_hda_intel 324248 2
snd_pcm 62628 1 snd_hda_intel
snd_seq 41456 0
snd_timer 17800 2 snd_pcm,snd_seq
snd_seq_device 6380 1 snd_seq
snd 45604 9 snd_hda_intel,snd_pcm,snd_seq,snd_timer,snd_seq_device
i2c_i801 7920 0
hci_usb 12252 2
uvcvideo 45576 0
evdev 8000 11
i2c_core 19828 2 nvidia,i2c_i801
pcspkr 2432 0
iTCO_wdt 9508 0
compat_ioctl32 1312 1 uvcvideo
videodev 27520 1 uvcvideo
v4l1_compat 12260 2 uvcvideo,videodev
bluetooth 44900 7 rfcomm,l2cap,hci_usb
usbhid 35904 0
soundcore 6368 1 snd
hid 33184 1 usbhid
snd_page_alloc 7816 2 snd_hda_intel,snd_pcm
ff_memless 4392 1 usbhid
video 16400 4
battery 10180 0
output 2912 1 video
ac 4196 0
button 6064 0
intel_agp 22300 0
agpgart 28776 2 nvidia,intel_agp
ext3 105256 1
jbd 39444 1 ext3
mbcache 7108 1 ext3
ide_cd_mod 27652 0
cdrom 30176 1 ide_cd_mod
sd_mod 22200 4
piix 6568 0 [permanent]
ide_pci_generic 3908 0 [permanent]
ata_piix 14180 3
ide_core 96168 3 ide_cd_mod,piix,ide_pci_generic
ata_generic 4676 0
libata 140384 2 ata_piix,ata_generic
scsi_mod 129356 2 sd_mod,libata
dock 8272 1 libata
ohci1394 24944 0
ieee1394 75800 1 ohci1394
sky2 37380 0
ssb 33476 0
pcmcia 29548 1 ssb
pcmcia_core 31892 2 ssb,pcmcia
firmware_class 6816 1 pcmcia
ehci_hcd 28428 0
uhci_hcd 18672 0
usbcore 118160 6 hci_usb,uvcvideo,usbhid,ehci_hcd,uhci_hcd
thermal 15228 0
processor 32576 4 acpi_cpufreq,thermal
fan 4164 0
thermal_sys 10856 4 video,thermal,processor,fan

All seem to work, except when I do speaker-test, no sound. Any help?

8. jegr - December 4, 2008

You did not mean test Ubuntu? I had Debian,but I recomened you Ubuntu, working without problem on my MacBook… Wifi working on Debian, but you must little play with it…good luck

9. Bookmarks about Oss - December 17, 2008

[…] – bookmarked by 2 members originally found by Lurktopia on 2008-11-13 iMac triple-boot (Part 2): OSs installation https://idebian.wordpress.com/2008/06/20/imac-triple-boot-part-2-oss-installation/ – bookmarked by […]

10. iMac triple-boot (Part 1): The perfect partitioning scheme ;) From https://idebian.wordpress.com « techlifeuptodate - June 16, 2011

[…] The first two steps will be covered in this post, while the others will be covered in the upcoming post “iMac triple-boot (Part 2): OSs installation“. […]

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