[clug] Installing debian on a macpro - grub failed

Paul Warren pwarren at pwarren.id.au
Mon Dec 16 17:05:29 MST 2013

Hash: SHA512

On 16/12/13 22:56, Logan Ryan McLintock wrote:
> Hi Guys,
> I have a MacPro 5,5 (the box one, not the macbook pro laptop) and I
> am trying to install Debian. I booted a Partition Magic DVD and use
> GParted to make all the three hard drives and single SSD ext4 (i.e.
> erasing the terrible mountain lion).
> Then I did the firmware nonfree netinst whilst connected to the
> internet (behind a net gear router). Every thing went fine until
> the Grub failed. I was using
> debian firmware 7.2.0 amd64 netinst
> and I checked sums before burning it.
> I am trying to install debian as the only operating system (no os
> x, no rEFIt), booting naturally using efi, not bios emulation.
> Maybe the grub in the Debian is too old?
> I would really appreciate any help as I am quite unsure what to do.
> I could probably use ubuntu as I think the installer can do the
> whole efi grub 2 thing, but I would prefer debian.
> I am willing to pay for help.
> PS. Don't but macs
> Regards, Logan -) cyclops

Here's what I had to do for my MACs:

EFI needs its own smallish partition with a fat32 filesystem

here's my layout with just one disk:

(parted) print
Model: ATA Hitachi HTS54503 (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 320GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: gpt

Number  Start   End    Size    File system     Name  Flags
 1      1049kB  512MB  511MB   fat32                 boot
 2      512MB   316GB  316GB   ext4
 3      316GB   320GB  4023MB  linux-swap(v1)

Now, debian does sort of support UEFI booting with the 7.2 install
discs (haven't tried 7.3 yet but should be good), but there was some
extra mucking about I had to do.

Once you've installed, and it boots the flashing folder icon (or
question mark, I forget which). Boot into rescue mode, and let debian
find the right root partition, and execute a shell in that partition.

You may have to:

mount /boot/efi


apt-get install grub-efi-amd64

The installer for grub-efi-amd64 puts the boot executable in

And we need to put that in the right place for EFI to load it:

mkdir /boot/efi/EFI/boot
cp /boot/efi/EFI/debian/grubx64.efi /boot/efi/EFI/boot/bootx64.efi

then run:


To make sure all the configs are in the right place.

Then reboot! and you should eventually get into debian :)

If you have a white screen for ~30s after the boot chime, and you want
to get rid of the wait, you'll have to boot an OS X disk and run:

bless --device /dev/disk0s1 --setBoot --verbose

substituting the proper device node for your efi partition.

Also, if you have a relatively recent mac, it's a good idea to install
OS X to a USB disk so you can run the firmware updates.

Hope that helps

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