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The name "Mactel" (MACintosh InTEL) refers to Apple's Macintosh computers based on Intel x86 CPUs. MEPIS from version 7.0 onward is compatible with Mactel, with the exception of some real small details. It has a utility for preparing your Mac bootable hard drive for OSX so that you can install MEPIS painlessly.


Installing on Mactel

On the CD or DVD, in the OSX directory, you will find the SimplyMEPIS Assistant for OSX. There is also a Readme file in the directory with more information.

Summary installation:

  1. Put the MEPIS media into an appropriate drive of your Mactel, and use the Finder to navigate to the OSX folder of the CD or DVD.
  2. Drag and drop the SimplyMEPIS Assistant for OSX to the OSX desktop, run it and follow the instructions. In the future, this may be in a dmg package.
  3. When prompted, reboot into the CD or DVD and install MEPIS following the directions above.
  4. Install MEPIS on the partition you created with the SimplyMEPIS Assistant for OSX.
  5. The installer disables options that would be likely to damage your OSX System Drive. For example, do not try to use parted, gparted, or qtparted to do anything on an OSX System Drive. If used, parted will probably destroy the OSX installation and make the disk unbootable.
  6. After installing MEPIS, return to the Assistant in OSX to enable dual booting.

Note: A bootable MEPIS USB key will not work with the Apple firmware.

Alternative method

These instructions are based on the MEPIS User's Manual and repeated successful installations on the same 2008 Macbook, starting from a clean MBR and partition table:

1. Boot OSX, and install all updates using "Software Update" in the Apple menu. Do not use Boot Camp. I don't know what will happen if you do, but Warren recommends against it.

2. Back up all of your data on an external drive -- maybe twice. What worked on one machine may destroy yours. What's more, the repartitioning included in step 5 has the potential to cause data loss.

3. Put the MEPIS Linux CD or DVD into an appropriate drive, and use the Finder to navigate to the OS X folder in it.

4. Drag and drop the SimplyMEPIS Assistant for OS X (SimplyMEPIS to the OS X desktop.

5. Unzip it, then launch the SimplyMEPIS, and follow the instructions. After creating the MEPIS partition, you will be prompted to reboot. Proceed to the rEFIt tab, and install rEFIt instead.

6. Open a terminal window (look in the Applications folder, then in the Utilities folder), and type following command:

 /efi/refit/ (You will need your Macintosh admin password.)

7. Reboot into the MEPIS Linux CD or DVD. You may need to hold down the "C" key to boot from the CD or DVD, or the "option" key to get into the firmware boot menu.

8. Install MEPIS Linux on the partition you created with the SimplyMEPIS Assistant for OS X. Install GRUB on root. DO NOT install it on the MBR.

--If GRUB installs OK, finish the installation, and reboot into OSX or MEPIS Linux.

--If you get an error message that says: "Sorry, installing GRUB failed. This may be due to a change in the disk formatting..." then do the following:

9. Quit the installation process, and restart your Mac.

10. At the rEFIt startup screen, use your left/right arrow keys to select "Start Partitioning Tool". You will see a list of partitions and proposed updates to the MBR. Press "y" to accept the MBR updates.

11. At the rEFIt startup screen, use your left/right arrow keys to select the "Shut Down Computer" or “Restart Computer".

12. Start the computer, and go back to step 7. You shouldn't get the GRUB installation error again.

rEFIt is the boot loader that MEPIS uses to switch between MEPIS Linux and Mac OS X. New model Macbooks may require a version of rEFIt which was not available at the time of the latest release of MEPIS. You can download the latest version of rEFIt here (approx 6.5 MB), and install it at the end of step 5 above instead of the version on the MEPIS Linux CD or DVD.


The version of Memtest86+ included on the MEPIS 7.0 CDs (v 1.65) does not work with Macintosh computers. The version of Memtest86+ included with the MEPIS 8.0 CDs (v 2.10) runs well, but does not respond to Macbook keyboards. Alternatives include trying the latest version (v 2.11 as of March 2009) from the Memtest86+ site, or trying a memory tester designed for Macintosh OSX. You can try for one popular program that comes with a download fee, but older versions can be found on the internet without the fee.

Other info

Warren's description (transcript of the April 1, 2007 MEPIS podcast)
Debian MacBook Wiki (extensive tweaks to improve functionality)
Mactel-linux Wiki (last updated April 2007)
Apple-Intel architecture Wikipedia discussion
MEPIS 8 on a MacBook Pro -- installation and set up procedures
MacBook Pro C2D Non-Santa-Rosa (MEPIS wiki article on early beta version of MEPIS 7.0 or final release of MEPIS 6.0 or 6.5)

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