I'm looking to install Linux on my Macbook Pro in a Dual Boot config. I've previously asked this question in a different fashion here: Dual Boot Fedora 16 with OS X rEFIt.

However, it didn't really get much attention and seems to have fallen of the radar. I'd like to ask the question again, but in a different scope.

I'd like to start learning how to operate Linux and I think the best way to get this going would be having it as a boot option on my Macbook, rather than running in a VM. I've tried Ubuntu, and it was pretty but I felt like I wanted something a little bit less hand holdy.

The question I'd like to ask is such:

What distro would you recommend as a good starting point that is both simple to use (not necessarily simple like Ubuntu), compatible (or can be made compatible) with rEFIt, and compatible with dual booting on a Macbook Pro 7,1 model?

  • Why not have a VM for each distro you are curious about? (fedora, ubuntu, gentoo, arch, sles). You don't have to format your mac every time you switch, and drivers are much easier in vms. – spuder Mar 1 '14 at 1:11
  • This question was asked two years ago. I've given up on the idea of dual booting my macbook. That said, I would probably go VM for any Linux environment in the future. – Michael Frank Mar 1 '14 at 1:35
  • If you wish to try NixOS, i posted a question and an answer about it on Superuser.SE. – Alexey Jan 16 '15 at 16:12

I've successfully run Ubuntu 10.10, 11.10 and 12.04 on a Macbook Pro 7,1 booting under BIOS compatibility from rEFIt, as well as Ubuntu 12.04 on a Macbook Pro 8,1 with pure EFI boot from rEFIt and directly from the EFI boot manager. The Ubuntu wiki is a good resource for compatibility and installation information.


I have installed F12-F16 on a Macbook that died recently.

I believe for any distro you'd need to create a partition for rEFIt. You'd need to also install the boot loader to the linux partition instead of the MBR. Then I think you needed to set rEFIt to MBR mode and I recall that you had to set the partition to bootable.


Check out this person's post. It isn't quite the same, but you could ignore the pieces about Win7 & gentoo.

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