February 05, 2015
This is part one in series on dual booting Arch Linux and Mac OS X on a MacBook Pro. This part covers creating a bootalbe USB installer. Part Two discusses how to prepare the MacBook Pro. Installing the base Arch Linux operating system and getting the dual boot between Arch and OS X working is covered in Part Three. Setting up the system, configuring Xorg, installing Gnome and Awesome are all covered in Part Four.
My day job has transitioned to system administration and infrastructure automation (Chef!). All of our virtual infrastructure (with rare exceptions) is based on Linux so I am keenly interested in learning more about its underpinnings. Setting up Arch Linux and sorting through its configuration challenges seems like a good way to jump into the deep end of the Linux pool.
Arch Linux on a MacBook Pro Part 1 - Creating a USB Installer
Arch Linux on a MacBook Pro Part 2 - Preparing for Dual Boot
Arch Linux on a MacBook Pro Part 3 - Base Installation
Arch Linux on a MacBook Pro Part 4 - System Configuration
Visit the Arch download site and grab an ISO.
The image needs to be in Read/Write Universal Disk Image Format (UDRW) format. Use the command line tool
hdiutil to convert the file.
$ hdiutil convert -format UDRW -o destination_file.img source_file.iso
The resulting image will actually be called
destination_file.img.dmg as hdiutil will append that suffix. The file format extension won't matter, so you can ignore it.
While some of this can be done using GUI tools, not all of it can, so I'll describe all the steps using the command line.
Insert the drive and then run this command:
$ diskutil list
The output will look something like this:
/dev/disk0 #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER 0: GUID_partition_scheme *500.1 GB disk0 1: EFI 209.7 MB disk0s1 2: Apple_CoreStorage 399.5 GB disk0s2 3: Apple_Boot Recovery HD 650.0 MB disk0s3 5: Apple_Boot Boot OS X 134.2 MB disk0s5 /dev/disk1 #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER 0: Apple_HFS MacOSX *399.2 GB disk1 /dev/disk2 #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER 0: GUID_partition_scheme *2.0 GB disk2 1: Microsoft Basic Data UNTITLED 1 2.0 GB disk2s1
In this case the USB is
Prepare the USB by making it all free space. This will delete all data on the USB drive.
$ diskutil partitionDisk /dev/disk2 1 "Free Space" "unused" "100%"
Substitute the proper designation for your USB drive.
Now we can copy the converted image to the USB drive.
$ dd if=destination_file.img.dmg of=/dev/disk2 bs=1m
The dd command does not show any output before it has finished the copy process, so be patient and wait for it to complete. When the command does complete OS X will try to mount the drive and fail as it won't recognize the formatting. Click ignore or eject.
If you clicked ignore above you can eject the drive from the command line.
$ diskutil eject /dev/disk2
Now the bootable image is ready to be used. Proceed to Arch Linux on a MacBook Pro Part 2 - Preparing for Dual Boot.