February 05, 2015
This is the third part in a series on dual booting Arch Linux and Mac OS X on a MacBook Pro. This part covers partitioning the drive, the base Arch installation, and getting the dual boot setup. Part One covered creating a bootable USB drive with the Arch Linux installer. Part Two discussed how to prepare the MacBook Pro. 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
Determine the version of MacBook Pro you have. These instructions are for a Mid 2010 model or 6,2 in Apple parlance. Minor hardware differences may make these instructions not work if you have a significantly different MacBook Pro, e.g., one with a SSD.
Insert the USB drive containing the bootable Arch ISO (from Arch Linux on a MacBook Pro Part 1 - Creating a USB Installer) and boot or restart the MBP. Hold the left Option key down until the drive selection window appears.
EFI Boot disk using the arrow keys, and press
enter to start.
Arch Linux option from the boot menu, or let the time out do it for you. Once the initial boot completes (should be fairly quick) you see a prompt like this:
Arch Linux 3.17.6-1-ARCH (tty1) archiso login: root (automatic login) root@archiso ~ #
Congratulations, you've got root.
You'll need to be connected to the Internet to complete the setup. The easiest way is via Ethernet. If you don't have Ethernet available, skip ahead to the Setup Wireless section at the start of Arch Linux on a MacBook Pro Part 4 - System Configuration, and setup wireless now. These instructions assume you have working Ethernet.
This will start the DHCP client and get an IP address lease from your LAN. You can verify that you have working connectivity by pinging something, Google for example.
$ ping -c 3 google.com
In order to proceed you'll need to know the drive mapping scheme. The easiest way to get that information is via
$ fdisk -l
which lists the existing partitions. If you created two partitions when preparing the MBP, you should see a partition with a
Type of Apple HFS/HFS+ with a size that matches the size you set aside for Arch. In my case this was
/dev/sda4. All the partitioning commands below will use
/dev/sda4, you should substitute the designation for your drive.
Now that we know the drive designation we can use
cgdisk tp setup the partitions for our install. Run
$ cgdisk /dev/sda
to see the current state of the disk and to access the partitioning utility. The output will be similar to what is shown below.
Part # Size Partition type Partition name 3.0 Kib free space 1 200 Mib EFI System EFI system partition 2 78.8 Gib Apple Core Storage Macintosh HD 3 619.9 MiB Apple boot Recovery HD 4 223.4 Gib Apple HFS/HFS+ Untitled 1 128.0 Mib free space
We are going to add 6 partitons:
Linux boot loader 128 Mib swap 8 Gib boot 256 Mib root 40 Gib var 12 Gib home ~160 Gib
Linux boot loader will later be blessed as bootable using OS X. The final result should look like this:
Part # Size Partition type Partition name 3.0 Kib free space 1 200 Mib EFI System EFI system partition 2 78.8 Gib Apple Core Storage Macintosh HD 3 619.9 MiB Apple boot Recovery HD 4 128.0 Mib Apple HFS+ Linux boot loader from Apple 5 8.0 Gib Linux swap swap 6 256.0 Mib Linux filesystem boot 7 40.0 Gib Linux filesystem root 8 12.0 Gib Linux filesystem var 9 163.1 Gib Linux filesystem home
To navigate around
cfdisk, use the left and right arrow keys to select a command and use the up and down arrow keys to select the partition and/or the free space. Once you have the partitions set the way you desire, select the
Write option to create the new partitions.
Begin by deleting the
Untitled 1 HFS partition created when you setup the MBP. Next subdivide it into the 6 new partitions. You can use K, M, and G to specify sizes. Accept the starting location offered by the tool when creating a new partition, then enter the size desired. You can use the
L option to look up filesystem type codes. Apple HFS+ is
af00, Linux filesystem is
8300 (the default), and Linux swap is
8200. Finally give the new partition a name. Repeat for each partition. On the last partition accept the default size offered to use up all remaining space. This means you should do
home last to give it as much space as possible.
Write and then confirm that you want to overwrite the disk. Once the display returns you can
Quit from cgdisk.
fdisk -l again should show your new partition scheme. If it doesn't look like you want or expected, repeat the cgdisk process to fix things.
Now it's time to format the partitions.
$ mkfs.ext2 /dev/sda6 $ mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda7 $ mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda8 $ mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda9
And create the swap and use it.
$ mkswap /dev/sda5 $ swapon /dev/sda5
Note that we skipped
/dev/sda4 as that will be setup using OS X later.
In order to acces the new partitions they must be mounted. First mount your root partition.
$ mount /dev/sda7 /mnt
And within the
root mount just created, create mount points and mount
$ mkdir /mnt/boot && mount /dev/sda6 /mnt/boot $ mkdir /mnt/var && mount /dev/sda8 /mnt/var $ mkdir /mnt/home && mount /dev/sdc9 /mnt/home
With the partitions created and formated, and with the filesystem mounted, the operating system can now be installed using
$ pacstrap /mnt base base-devel
This will install ~140 packages and could take a while based on your download speeds. Sit back and watch the progress.
Once the packages are installed it's time to record your file system settings in
fstab. Use the
genfstab command to generate your
$ genfstab -p /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab
You can view the fstab using
$ less /mnt/etc/fstab
Now you can set up your desired hostname, proper time zone, the hardware clock, create a user account for yourself, and enable
First you need to
chroot into the new system.
$ arch-chroot /mnt /bin/bash
Set your hostname.
$ echo arch > /etc/hostname
Set your time zone. I'm in the US Central time zone so I used
Chicago. Adjust this to your location.
$ ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/America/Chicago /etc/localtime
And set the hardware clock.
$ hwclock --systohc --utc
Create your user account and generate a password for it.
$ useradd -m -g users -G wheel -s /bin/bash you && passwd you
While you're at it, create a
root password too.
sudo installed so that when you are signed in to your account you can run commands requiring
pacman is the command line package manager for Arch, so we'll use that.
$ sudo pacman -S sudo
/etc/sudoers and uncomment the
wheel line. The
-G wheel portion of the
useradd command above added you to the
wheel group. By uncommenting this group in the
sudoers file you'll allow all
wheel members to run commands as
sudo. You need to use
visudo to edit this file.
Set your locale.
sudo vi /etc/locale.gen
and uncomment the locales you want. For me this was
en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8 and
Generate the locale.
And set the
/etc/locale.conf and export your settings.
$ echo LANG=en_US.UTF8 > /etc/locale.conf $ export LANG=en_US.UTF-8
/etc/mkinitcpio.conf to make sure
keyboard is after
autodetect in the HOOK section.
$ less /etc/mkinitcpio.conf
$ mkinitcpio -p linux
This is somewhat confusing. The best way to do this is to boot directly from your MBP's EFI boot loader, which means creating a
Grab the package:
$ pacman -S grub-efi-x86_64
And then, edit
/etc/default/grub and alter
GRUB\_CMDLINE\_LINUX_DEFAULT to look like this:
which I believe is the default setting.
Then you can generate the
boot.efi with GRUB which you just installed. You’ll want to put this on a USB device because you’re going to be switching into OS X in a minute.
$ grub-mkconfig -o boot/grub/grub.cfg $ grub-mkstandalone -o boot.efi -d usr/lib/grub/x86_64-efi -O x86_64-efi --compress=xz boot/grub/grub.cfg
This is going to create a file in the current directory called
boot.efi. Copy it to a USB device. Check your devices then make a directory to mount your USB. Copy the
boot.efi file onto your USB drive. You may have to determine the path to the USB drive.
$ mkdir /mnt/usbdisk && mount /dev/sdb /mnt/usbdisk $ cp boot.efi /mnt/usbdisk/
Now you can exit
chroot and unmount everything, and reboot back to OS X.
Unmount all filesystems. And reboot.
Restart the computer and boot into OS X. Run
Disk Utility and select
/dev/sda4 which is the "Linux boot loader from Apple" partition created earlier. Using Disk Utility erase this partition by selecting "Mac OS X Journaled" and clicking on
Erase. This is where the Grub2 image will go.
Open up Terminal and issue the following sequence of commands to create directories and files necessary for this partition.
$ cd /Volumes/disk0s4 $ mkdir System mach_kernel $ cd System $ mkdir -p Library/CoreServices $ cd Library/CoreServices $ touch SystemVersion.plist
boot.efi image from the USB drive as a peer to
$ cp /Volumes/usbdrive/boot.efi .
SystemVersion.plist to look like this:
<xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <plist version="1.0"> <dict> <key>ProductBuildVersion</key> <string></string> <key>ProductName</key> <string>Linux</string> <key>ProductVersion</key> <string>Arch Linux</string> </dict> </plist>
Next "bless" the partition so that it is bootable.
$ sudo bless --device /dev/disk0s4 --setBoot
Now when you boot or restart the MBP, a Grub menu with Arch Linux should appear. To boot into OS X you'll need to hold down the left Option key. Test this and make sure it works before proceeding to Arch Linux on a MacBook Pro Part 4 - System Configuration.