I have a old Mac Mini. (1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo) Running Mac OS 10.6.7 That is not able to upgrade to “Lion”. Also several large external “Firewire” hard drives.

What I would like to do is install and run Ubuntu on the internal Mac Mini drive, and then boot into a clone of my current Mac OS from the external drive, once in a great while. Is this doable?

I now run rEFit on the internal system so that I can boot into the Ubuntu system on my external drive. I would like to reverse this.

I can not afford to buy a new mac at this time.

Boot loaders are a mystery to me. Do I need to install rEFit on the Ubuntu system?

Thank you in advance

2 Answers 2


The myths page from the rEFit author has a lot of information about the subject of booting operating systems that are usually booted via BIOS (i.e. Windows and Linux).

In particular:

Myth: You need rEFIt to install/boot Linux

You don’t. The firmware’s built-in boot volume chooser (hold Option to activate it) will recognize Linux boot CDs as well as bootable hard disks and let you boot them. (They may be labeled “Windows”, though.) For triple-booting you’ll get only one item in the built-in chooser, but you can use GRUB, LILO, or NTLDR to act as a second-level menu to choose between Windows and Linux. The gptsync tool can be compiled to run on Linux.

While you can install some Linux distributions on a GPT-partitioned disk, it's much easier to repartition the internal disk and put an MBR partition table on it, depending on the version of Ubuntu you are going to use.

This is all described at the Ubuntu MactelSupportTeam site. The fact that you are going to boot Mac OS X every now and then does not change the approach; in fact it is even recommended on that page.

Before you make any changes, just make sure you have at least one, better two backups of all your data.


I can't really answer your question but I should point out that Lion CAN run on core duo macs, it's just being limited by one file which states which macs can't be used. This is just because the core duo macs are old, but are still capable.


That link will explain how to do the easy hack (which is literally just deleting one file)

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