Triple Booting Mac OS X.6, openSUSE, and Windows XP on Macbook Pro 7,1

I’m sure that this technique will work for more than just Macbook Pro 7,1 and Windows XP, but this is the only machine I’ve actually done this with. I would recommend both reading these instructions completely through before installing either, and backing up your data. You’ll need an openSUSE full-install DVD, a live Ubuntu 10.4+ DVD (for formatting the partition), and a USB mouse.

  1. Install rEFIt. It can be downloaded from here: rEFIt - An EFI Boot Menu and Toolkit

  2. Reboot the computer until you see the startup menu (it may take several reboot cycles).

  3. Once you see the menu, boot into Mac (it should be the only option you see).

  4. Use bootcamp to create a partition for Windows. Any size will do, however, you should keep in mind that this is where you will be installing Windows XP. Thus, you should make it as large as you think you will need.

  5. Next, split the Macintosh HD into two partitions. Any size will do for the second, but this is where you’ll be installing Linux.

  6. Rename that partition Linux, or whatever.

  7. Reboot the computer. When you get to the rEFIt menu, select the partition tool. Say yes when it asks if it can update the partition.

  8. Next, reboot the computer with the Ubuntu CD in. Hold down on the option key. A CD icon should pop up saying windows. Boot into this.

  9. Once you get to to the installation menu, select “Try Ubuntu”

  10. After you get to the desktop, go to System>Administration>Gparted

  11. Right-click on the partition you designated for Linux and select “Format”. This partition will probably have the label /dev/sda3.

  12. Format as Ext4.

  13. Click on the green check mark. It will now format the partition. Although the following format step can be done on virtually any Linux system, I found that when using Ubuntu, the computer recognizes the the partition as existing. If formatting with openSUSE, the computer marks the partition as empty space.

  14. Shut down the computer.

  15. Upon starting back up, put the Windows CD in the computer. Hold down on the option key again, and select the Windows CD icon. Install windows as you would normally, however, as it reboots after the initial formatting, you should see the Windows icon pop up on the rEFIt menu. Boot into that to finish installation.

  16. Insert the Mac DVD to install all the drivers and whatnot.

  17. Restart the computer with the Linux CD in the tray. Using the options key, boot into it the same way as the Ubuntu and Windows. Ignore the other icon that says EFI. It should be known that I found the trackpad does not work when installing. Thus, until you finish with the installation, you will need some sort of USB mouse.

  18. When you get to the area that says “Partitioning”, select the button that says: Create Partition Setup

  19. Select “Custom Partitioning (for experts)”.

  20. Right click on the Ext4 partition, and select Edit.

  21. Do not format it. Only mount it as /

  22. Continue with the setup.

  23. When you get to the final step before installation, where it gives you the readout for the installation, make sure that the partitioning only reads “mount /dev/sda3 as /” If it says anything else, you will have to go back in and change that.

  24. Go towards the bottom of the screen and hit “Change”.

  25. Select the option “Booting”.

  26. Click on the tab in the upper area of the screen to get to the boot loader selection page.

  27. Change it so it doesn’t install any boot loader.

  28. Go ahead and install.

  29. When it finally takes you to the desktop, go the the applications area and click on YaST.

  30. Find the Boot Loader icon.

  31. Change it from no boot loader to GRUB. However, you must click on the boot loader options and uncheck all the boxes.

  32. Now you just need to install the Macintosh drivers. I have experienced problems with the NVIDIA driver, but the rest seem to work fine. You can install them through the terminal or through the “Install/Remove Software” application. Terminal is probably easier though. Use the commands in the following order:

sudo zypper ar --refresh Index of /repositories/home:/ealin:/apple/openSUSE_11.4 “Apple Stuff”

sudo zypper in macfanctld applesmc-kmp-default applesmc-kmp-desktop applesmc pommed mbp-nvidia-bl nvidia-bl mbp-nvidia-bl-kmp-default mbp-nvidia-bl-kmp-desktop nvidia-bl-kmp-desktop nvidia-bl-kmp-default

sudo zypper ar --refresh Index of /pub/mirrors/packman/suse/openSUSE_11.4/ “Packman Repository”

sudo zypper in broadcom-wl broadcom-wl-kmp-desktop broadcom-wl-kmp-default

sudo zypper in alsa-utils

sudo /usr/bin/alsamixer

Press F6 and select HDA Nvidia to unmute the front and surround speakers.

  1. Enjoy

Note: This only works if you have the full installation DVD, because it doesn’t require rebooting to configure itself. Thus, it is possible to get to the desktop without having to install a boot loader during installation.

Thanks a lot for this detailled explanation. I may add some comments.

I never needed step #8 to #13. I understand that you wanted to make sure that Windows doesn’t touch your Linux partition and that Linux recognizes it. It would have been enough to change the partition ID (0x83 in this case) in the partition table - meaning setting this partition ID with fdisk would have worked too. All right, it is not faster than formatting the partition in ext4. But the relevant part is the partition ID, not the ext4 filesystem you put in there. Of course, in step #20, I would have formatted the partition. I’m not sure if I “faked” the type of the (future) Linux partition before installing Windows and it was Vista, not XP - which might have made a difference too.

I should add that this is the most important part. If you write anything (either Grub or generic boot code in MBR), the MBR won’t match the GTP anymore and if you use the rEFIt shell to resynchronize them, Linux won’t boot. So it is important that you install Grub in the root partition (sda3) and nowhere else.

Finally, as soon as you have a bootable and workable Linux, you should create a swap file.
To create a 2GB swap file:

su -l
dd if=/dev/zero of=/swap bs=1024k count=2048
mkswap /swap
swapon /swap

and add the following line in /etc/fstab:

/swap             none            swap       sw        0  0

Great guide!!! rotfl!

I have read it once, now I am… I think… going to try it on my new Lion Macbook Pro 8.3 (or 8.2) I am REALLY new in Mac OS.

As far as I know/tried, it is one of the greatest OS I out there… but anyway, I have mi OS girlfriend is Opensuse… so I wont let her down :o) (mmm, I need my medicine)

I have a lot to read, because it seems the EFI bios or the “mac” bios is quite strange for me or I havent seen this kind of system before. It seems that the notebook has a 500gb SATA drive and… something like a internal flashdrive or similar 2gb memory that stores the recovery partition (where the OS install disks resides in case of system crash)

So I think, I have to backup this internal frashdrive and the 500gb SATA (because I have already play a little with it, and I dont really know if my Opensuse 12.1 will run)

Now I am trying to backup with the Mac Disk Utility from the recovery boot option, but every disk I have for backups is NTFS (and Mac wont write on it from boot without macfuse and that stuffs)

I will try with clonezilla boot CD or a 16gb flash USB drive mac formatted.

Can you give me some extra advice? I know there is something called Boot Camp (that is a “native” Mac way to be able to install window$ on a Intel Mac, also it should linux) and rEFIt (is a boot menu and maintenance toolkit…)

Thanks very much!!!


PD: cant wait… pray for my Mac :slight_smile:

You must love your girlfriend very much :slight_smile:

Back in 2004, I bought an iMac G5 (still PowerPC back then), because I was so sick and tired of Microsoft frigging Windows. Two weeks OS X (Panther, back then and Tiger now) and I wondered how on earth I had been able to tolerate MS Windows for all those years (answer: I didn’t know any better).

I now have Ubuntu on my PC. Not because Ubuntu (and GNU/Linux in general) is better/safer/more user friendly than OS X (it isn’t - it really isn’t; OS X is great), but because I was curious about Ubuntu. I have had 7.10 and now 10.04. Today, I discovered something new in Ubuntu. It’s just a little thing, but it it brought a smile on my face as wide as… name what you want.

Ubuntu is amazing.

Anyway, my apologies for hijacking your thread, sebadamus. I am afraid I can’t help you with your questions. I do have a Mac, but my PPC iMac can’t (even) run Leopard, Snow Leopard or Lion or BootCamp, and I have no idea how I get into the BIOS of my 2004 iMac.

Yes… my girlfriend always complains about that :shame: thanks for your answer it is a help anyway to keep trying (or breaking hehehe)

This Lion OS es really awsome! but… no matter, I could make the backup using Mac Disk Utility (booting with option key pressed, then recovery option), I could select in Disk Utility the Harddrive at top (not the partition itself) and image it to a pendrive, about 10gb… Its almost a clean Lion OS install)

Then I backuped up the little 2gb partition (the one I think is a flash internal or something… or a .dmg image on the same harddrive :-/). I think I could have know better booting a GParted cdrom or similar but couldnt because every linux boot I tried just hunged in the middle of the process with some error that I think its because the original Intel Mac “bios”.

Now I installed rEFIt and seems to have install well because Mac OS works fine after rebooting, and I see rEFIt booting logo image.

I tried the linux pinguin image (the one that says “Linux boot from CD” having Opensuse 12.1 inserted) but it hanged with the pinguin image, but the “legacy os” option seems to boot right from the CD but the installation comes up in in text mode :-/

Then on the third full reboot those options disapeared :, now I have only the apple like on step 3) hopefully…

Ill try the rest of the guide tomorrow and read some more, if you have some more light :nerd: please send it…


Stupid me, there are several guide on opensuse forum I should have search better!

How to dual boot Mac OSX and openSUSE 11.4

Installing Suse on OS X 10.6.6

Triple boot step by step

This GOOGLE search gives a lot of good results: bootcamp linux - Buscar con Google

And here is a GOOD concepts explanation, still reading :slight_smile: Triple Boot via BootCamp - Wiki

I have read the attention notice on this thread to not ask questions, sorry I miss it before. The WIKI onmac would be a good addon for the how to.


If I get my notebook working I will try to post a how to (dam# this OSX is lovely! it hungs sometimes anyway its not fault proof as one Mac user told me. Dam# I miss opensuse)

I want to install OpenSuSE 12.1 on an iMac with XP already installed under Bootcamp. The bootcamp partition is unmoveable and unresizable.

I have repartitioned the HD using the Mac disk utility into four partitions - /dev1 as boot, dev2 as Apple hard disk, dev3 as LINUX (formatted as FAT for now) and dev4 as XP under bootcamp. The dev3 partition was sized as 100Gb.

I have installed rEFIt and modified the windows boot.ini to look for windows in sda/dev4.

rEFIt gives me access to both Mac and XP. So far so good.

I’ve successfully accessed the OpenSuSE .iso image on DVD and started the installation, but had to stop at partitioning. This is what I found:

**1 ** partition scheme is reported as

dev1 2.01 GB - swap - no format - no mount point
dev 2 470 GB - Apple - no format - no mount point
dev 3 ~35 GB - LINUX - FAT - no mount point
dev 4 ~30 GB - Windows - FAT - /Windows/C
dev 5 ~35 GB - no label - Ext4 - /
dev 6 ~30 GB - no label - Ext4 - /home

So the partitioner wants to create two partitions which did not previously exist.

**2 ** In terms of sectors on disc dev4 was last and unmoveable. It is not clear (to me at any rate) that the addition of two more volumes will present no problems with XP which is still last in terms of disk sectors.

3 It would seem to be logical to split dev 3 into Swap and / and rename dev 5 as /usr.

4 main problem however is that whatever I do with dev 3, 5, 6 the installer wants to either reformat dev1 as Linux swap or delete it entirely.

At this point I decided to share what may be a problem with the installation set up for 12.1 and Macs.

Anyone else tried triple booting with 12.1?


r (despite the title).