Linux install party

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The idea is to setup your laptop for dual (or triple) booting. This means that in addition to the software that came with your laptop, one or more additional operating systems will be place on the computer to be selected at "boot" time (when the computer is first switched on.

In the Networked Media Design course, we use the GNU/Linux operating system as a means of "opening the black box" of software, and to take a critical look at software and design.

The linux distributions we will work are based on a project called Debian. Crunchbang and Ubuntu are derivatives of the debian system with rather different approaches.

( see debian family tree)




Unet bootin is a cross platform (window, mac, and linux) program to create bootable USB sticks.


  • Useful when things go wrong with booting

Mac / OS X

Generally, the idea is to use the Mac's Disk Utility to shrink the main OSX/hfs partition and then to (USB) boot to install linux in the free space you create.

Work around: copy a lot of data off the hard drive (temporarily), say your Movies folder, and then try to resize again. Once the partition has successfully be resized, you can copy the files back.

  Roel's unsolicited advice for osx:
   #this method worked for me in the past, because often apple refuses to recognize bootable discs and dualboots
   - Install refind
   - Use bootcamp to do the partitioning etc
   - shut down, insert your bootable usb drive/cd, boot  
   - you should see some refit menu, select the drive/cd. If you don't see it press escape to reload
   - using the live cd software, repartition the partition that bootcamp made:
   - if you have a 64bit system, make three partitions, a swap, uefi and ext4 partition
   - install everything and reboot. if it crashes while booting into linux. try setting nomodeset
   - if you get gfx problems have a look at sgfxi
   - ???
   - sudo apt-get install profit


Pressing shift while selecting restart (in the Power "charm") seems to bring up the UEFI settings.

Things to do once you've installed linux...


Max's MacBook Pro, running 10.6, booted from the Debian NetInstall AMD64 USB stick using Alt key on bootup. Debian standard installer works, asking for wireless driver.


Got Lidia's machine working, BCM4331 wireless support still not in kernel.

Installed debian on Artyom's machine, and GRUB installed itself rather agressively and doesn't work -- Linux is broken and he needs to press the ALT key to manually select OSX now each startup... to be continued.

Installed debian on Caetano's Lenovo with Win8 and again the boot stuff isn't setup right. Tried using EasyBCD but choosing debian results in a windows error (is grub maybe not setup right?)