xTreme Triple Booting: Linux, Mac & Windows

Summary:In my quest for Ultimate Freelancer Flexibility, I have purchased a MacBook, so that I can run Linux, Windows and Mac and be able to walk in to any development environment and start work instantly. No more installing software or waiting for passwords!

In my quest for Ultimate Freelancer Flexibility, I have purchased a MacBook, so that I can run Linux, Windows and Mac and be able to walk in to any development environment and start work instantly. No more installing software or waiting for passwords!

OS X comes with Boot Camp, which enables a dual OS X/Windows machine. But it’s no good for Linux.

Over at billsdon.com there’s some very useful info on how to setup a MacBook Air to triple boot, mostly gleaned from this Lifehacker post.

Essentially, you use Disk Utility in OS X to setup the drive, and then install the rEFIt boot manager.

First you install Windows (and the Boot Camp drivers from the Mac Boot Camp application), and then, hopefully, Linux. billsdon.com has a separate blog post about how to install Linux Mint 12. Boy, it’s a bit convoluted. And, in my own techimpatient world, it didn’t work very well.

Then I saw that there were reams of instructions for MacBook Air users for installing Ubuntu. Particularly, the latest version of Ubuntu, Precise Pangolin 12.04, which installed without much bother.

However, I had two problems with 12.04. Firstly, the trackpad was 'sticking'. Secondly, and more importantly, I really don’t like the Unity interface. How do you get rid of the left hand menu? Eh? And how do you launch an application using the built-in keystroke launcher? I searched for 30 minutes and couldn’t find the documentation. Maybe it was the Mac keys but still, I lost the will to live (with Unity).

Linux Mint 13 with Cinnamon desktop
Linux Mint 13 with the Cinnamon desktop

Yet again, Linux Mint stepped admirably up to the mark. Linux Mint 13 has just been released, so I gave the Cinnamon desktop version a go. It installed even more easily than Ubuntu 12.04, and the trackpad worked out of the box.

So my advice to anyone wanting to triple boot their own Mac would be to try Linux Mint 13.

@growdigital

Topics: Software Development

About

A web designer since the 20th century, I am a pragmatic advocate of Free Software and I use proprietary software when appropriate. I made the full-time switch to Linux back in 2007, and my desktop tools of choice are Linux Mint, Inkscape, GIMP and Sublime Text. As a Front End Developer, my core skills are HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery, an... Full Bio

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