I am so excited to report that after a long time of trying every distribution under the sun, I was finally able to install Ubuntu 14.04 on my beloved Macbook Air. I absolutely love this laptop, but was disappointed that I was stuck in OS X. I am a huge fan of Apple Hardware, and it is my personal opinion that the Macbook Air is the perfect laptop. However, I have never been a huge fan of OS X because it takes all of the fun out of UNIX. Below are the steps I followed. The install process is pretty straightforward. I had to dual boot because no matter how many different guides I followed I was not able to get the Macbook Air to single boot with Ubuntu. I probably reinstalled OS X three or four times before I finally gave up and decided to dual boot. The 20~ GB of Hard Drive space that I lose is well worth being able to finally run Linux on this laptop. In addition, most guides recommend keeping OS X laying around somewhere in case apple decides to release some firmware update that is required for future operation of this device.
Steps to Install Ubuntu 14.04 on Macbook Air
- Download Refind
- Open up Terminal.App and issue the following commands to install Refind
cd Downloads/refind-bin-0.8.0 && sudo sh install.sh
- Open up Disk Utility, Select the Macintosh HD, and make two additional partitions. I took out 80GB for Linux and 4GB for Swap (I have a 128GB SSD). It does not matter what file system type you use here because we are going to change it using the installer later.
- Download [Ubuntu 14.04 64 Bit] and make a [bootable USB].
- Plug in the USB and reboot your Macbook Air
- You should boot into ReFind, if not reboot again.
- From ReFind select Boot EFIBOOTgrubx64.efi
- Select Install Ubuntu from GRUB
- Go through the installer with all defaults. When you get to the part where it asks you where you would like to install Ubuntu select Something Else. Your Partition should look something like this:
- EFI Partition (From Mac)
- Mac HD Partition (From Mac)
- Swap (I made this 4 GB )
- Ubuntu (I made this 80 GB using ext4 as the file system)
- Continue through the installer choosing the rest of the default values.
- Once Ubuntu installs, the computer will reboot. When it comes back to life select Boot EFIubuntugrubx64.efi
The nice part about installing it this way, is that if you ever decide to get rid of Ubuntu (Which would make me sad :'( ) You can just boot into OS X and remove your Ubuntu and Swap partitions and resize the OS X partition to take up the rest of the space. Once Ubuntu boots, the wifi, sound, suspend, etc.. all works out of the box. iSight does not work, but I am ok with that.
I could not be happier that Ubuntu finally works on my Macbook Air! Please let me know in the comments if you run into any issues with this install.