Recently got an old macbook air 2008 model. I am a linux guy and I am very new to Mac OS X. I tried but I just prefer to have my familiar debian running on this laptop. On a PC I would do this easily, but Mac is a different story.

Could anyone tell me if it's possible to run Kali Linux (Debian 6) on the original Macbook Air (proper installation, not on a virtual machine on Mac OS X) and if yes, how?

  • Google is your best friend. This is for Arch but it should be quite similar for Kali, especially if you are a "Linux guy". wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/MacBook#Arch_Linux_only
    – aglasser
    Jun 2, 2014 at 19:19
  • Were the quotes really necessary? I thought this wasn't one of the hostile communities. Anyway, thanks for your "help"
    – learnerX
    Jun 2, 2014 at 19:24
  • What, are you offended? You could have searched Google (as I did for you) and found many solutions to your problem.
    – aglasser
    Jun 2, 2014 at 19:25
  • I have been googling since a while now and I have been trying. I just wanted to know if anyone has tried installing debian on this version of Mac. In that case, it would save me some time.
    – learnerX
    Jun 2, 2014 at 19:28
  • On my Mac at least, Debian really appreciated an HD of its own. Not a partition, a physical disk. Apple support for Linux drive formatting/reading is basically nonexistent, so your alien partition will be noticed and objected to. Sep 2, 2015 at 23:41

3 Answers 3



You can use the native OS X Disk Utility.app to split, resize, create & remove partitions as desired.


If you prefer to work with a UNIX-style bash shell, there are tools available via OS X's native Terminal.app command-line interface.

One of these would be a good start:

root@host:~# diskutil
root@host:~# diskutil list
root@host:~# diskutil listFileystems
root@host:~# diskutil activity

Once you have a bit of info, you might want a few of these:

root@host:~# diskutil splitPartition
root@host:~# diskutil resizeVolume
root@host:~# diskutil eraseDisk
root@host:~# diskutil eraseVolume  

Boot from your installation media by holding the alt/⌥ option key during startup.


I recently looked into this myself. Note, I had an easier time installing Ubuntu over Debian, but it may have been due to a corrupt Debian image. Here's what I did:

  1. First step is to install the boot manager rEFInd (http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/). If you're like me and don't like the default GUI it can easily be themed.
  2. Make some free space on the hard drive. As stated by tjt263 you can either use diskutil in the terminal or the Disk Utility app.
  3. Once you have the necessary free space reboot with the install media inserted, and boot to it from rEFInd.
  4. (the easy part) Now just install Linux as you would on a PC. Create a partition on the free space you made earlier, and sit back. One note: I had trouble here as neither Debian nor Ubuntu could work the wireless card without the necessary drivers, so have an ethernet cord at the ready.
  5. Once your install's complete go ahead and boot to it from rEFInd. If you installed GRUB you may find it overwrote rEFInd as the default boot manager. If this is the case (and you ever care to boot to OS X) you can do so by holding ALT on boot (before the chime) and the apple boot manager will be loaded, where you can boot to OS X and reinstall rEFInd.
  6. Now have fun getting the necessary drivers up and running and you should be good to go. My main issue with Debian was it not booting to the desktop manager. Maybe you'll have more luck than I did. Ubuntu did not have this issue.

Good Luck!


You can use VirtualBox and install Kali Linux on it. I am using Kali Linux 2 on my MacBook Pro. I have assigned it 4GB RAM and it runs smoothly.

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