haxx qua non

Ubuntu on Mac and upgrading to Snow Leopard

by jja on

I'm now running Ubuntu 9.x on a MacBook Pro that was leftover after colleagues' hardware upgrades. Posts from trainque and richb helped, but I ran into a few more quirks.

Rich linked to ubuntuforums about resizing the disk partitions to make room for Ubuntu. First, one must disable journaling on the Mac partition. This is so Ubuntu/Linux can play with the partition. The posts then describe using parted (GNU partition editor) to resize the partitions. The Ubuntu 9.0.4 install CD also has gparted---the graphical version---available. It's under System > Administrator > Partition Editor.

Then the rest of the install went smoothly and easily with the Ubuntu wizards. Afterwards, one can hold the Option key to pick whether to boot to MacOSX or Ubuntu. Or better yet, install refit for a nicer multi-boot.

So now a day later, I find out I can upgrade from MacOS 10.5 to 10.6 (Snow Leopard). But the install DVD doesn't like my Mac partition, with little explanation. Many web searches later point to a couple of possible issues with the partition map.

The 2 solutions for me were to reboot from the Ubuntu CD, resize the Mac partition to have 200MB empty space after it, and then run gptsync from the refit shell. Now Snow Leopard is happily installing onto my Mac partition. You can probably prevent this by setting up your partitions better in the initial g/parted resizing, but then the Ubuntu install will have to ask you where to put things instead of using the "largest continuous free space". If you do it this way, make your Linux swap partition to be 2GB and and leave 200MB emtpy immediately after your Mac HFS+ partition.

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