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Installing Ubuntu on to a Mac -
Quick Guide to Installing Ubuntu on a Mac OSX PC
by Ben Mackie, for

In this beginner article, Ben Mackie provides step-by-step instructions for installing Ubuntu Linux through VirtualBox on an Intel Mac running either Tiger or Leopard. Hopefully this article will encourage even the most cautious Mac users to enjoy the benefits of a Mac with Linux.

Can Linux co-exist peacefully with Mac OSX? Of course it can, and it's my opinion there are some real advantages to having both available on your Mac system. So, with this beginner article it is my hope that others will be open to trying out the power of Linux on their Mac.

A few items you may prefer to have when starting:
• A blank cd
• A copy of Ubuntu
• A copy of VirtualBox 3
• A copy of Burn if you wish to use it
• An Intel Mac running Tiger or Leopard
You might also benefit from a review of the article for Ubuntu beginners: It offers some introductory guidance regarding Ubuntu for new users.

To get Ubuntu, click on the following link:
For this installation I recommend you simply choose the Desktop Edition of Ubuntu.
Start now by selecting the closest location to you in the dropdown.
Scroll down and ensure 32bit version is selected.
Select Begin Download.
Once finished, locate the downloaded file; it will be named something similar to
To create a bootable disk from the .iso, you may wish to use the useful tool named Burn. Go to the following link to get this tool, or simply choose a burner of your preference:
No, you do NOT have to use this tool, but it has several advantages and I include it in the process simply as an example of the ISO burning process. The nice thing about Burn is that you simply download, install, and open. PLUS, often the biggest issue with an install is an improperly burned ISO, and this tool helped me get quick and correct burns each time.
In Burn, go to the copy tab as shown below:

Now just Drag the .iso file you downloaded to where it says, "Drop discs and images here."
Insert a blank cd.
Select Burn.
Ensure Maximum possible is selected.
Select Burn.
Once complete, this is the Ubuntu Linux boot disk you will need for the next steps.

Virtual box is a fantastic and enterprise capable virtualizer for Mac hardware. For those not familiar with virtualizers, this tool allows you to install Ubuntu in a shared manner with another Operating System such as MacOS or Windows.
You may wish to find out more about this SUN Microsystem's tool, as it is very useful for many virtualizing scenerios. Best of all, it is one of the only virtualization tools that is also Open Source Software.
To get VirtualBox simply go to this link:
Under VirtualBox Binaries, where it says VirtualBox 3.0.0 for OS X hosts, select "Intel Macs"
Open the VirtualBox disk image and run the installer
ADVANCED TIP: If you're a more advanced user, it's important to let you know that rather than burning the ISO to CDROM, then using the CD to install into Virtualbox, the CDROM drive in virtual box can be configured to point at the ISO file, eliminating the need to burn a disk.
When you're ready, open VirtualBox from the Applications folder on your Mac.
Begin the following series of steps:
Register (optional)
Select the "New" icon in the toolbar.

A new window will open.
Select Next.
Enter a Name for the virtual machine e.g. Ubuntu Linux.
Change Operating System to Linux.
Change Version to Ubuntu.
Obviously you can apply this method to other Linux flavours if you wish.
Select Next.
Select amount of RAM to be used on the virtual machine.
(384 recommended, I recommend 512 if you have 1GB RAM on your Mac).
Select Next.
Ensure Boot Hard Disk (Primary Master) is selected.
Select "Create new hard disk."
Now you need to again Select Next and once more Select Next.
Choose "Dynamically expanding storage" ("Fixed-size storage" creates a fixed hard drive for Ubuntu, but "Dynamically expanding storage" only uses as much hard drive space as it needs to install and will thereafter expand as needed).
Select Next.
The Name you chose for the Virtual Machine earlier should now show under Location; if not then enter the same name as before under Location e.g. Ubuntu Linux, and select the amount of maximum space that the hard drive can use.
TIP: This will automatically be something like 8 GB but you can change it depending on your requirements. Or just leave it as it is and move on.
Select Next.
Now Select Finish.
Finally Select Finish once more.
You should now see something similar to this:
Macintosh HD:Users:benmackie:Desktop:Picture 1.jpg
When you're ready, please press the "Start" icon at the top.
Now start this process:
Select OK.
Select Next.
Ensure CD/DVD-ROM Device and Host Drive are selected (should be the default).
Select Next.
Insert previously created Ubuntu Linux bootable disk.
Select Finish.
At this point the disk will start booting.
Select English or your preferred language.
If a screen appears regarding the mouse or keyboard, take note of the host key; something like the Left Command key (also shown at the bottom right of the VirtualBox window). This is important so please don't forget what it indicates.
Now select the checkbox "Don't show this message again" and select Capture (This will make the mouse change automatically when you select the virtual system.)
Select Install Ubuntu.
At this point you should get the following loading screen, which is Ubuntu starting:

Once finished loading (this may take a few minutes), ensure your language is selected once again on the left panel and select Forward.
Select your Time Zone on the map or by your region and city.
Select Forward.
Choose keyboard layout depending on the type of keyboard you have (to test, simply type digits into the typing box, ensuring that it enters the correct digits as on your keyboard).
Select Forward.
Choose "Use the entire disk."
Select Forward.
Fill in your name, account username, password (minimum eight digits recommended), and computer name for network visibility.
Choose whether to log in automatically or require a password to log in.
(I recommend that you do require a password, just take note of what you choose).
Select Forward.
Now, please Select Install.
It should show the following installing system box with a status on the installation.
Be patient, as this is nearly the final step, but unfortunately takes time. It can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to install, depending on your system. Look at it this way, now is a perfect time to grab a tasty snack, sit back and enjoy an episode of your favourite TV show.
You can check on the status of the installation, as shown below:

When completed, please Select Restart Now (you should not restart the Mac itself, the VirtualBox will merely restart Ubuntu for you within the program).
It will say on the Ubuntu restart "Please remove the disc, close the tray (if any) and press ENTER to continue"; when this happens, the eject button in OS X will not work therefore in the VirtualBox window, select Devices (on the top toolbar in OS X).

Select Unmount CD/DVD-ROM and press ENTER.
Now you will be able to eject the disk from the computer.
Enter your Username and Password (the one you should have noted earlier!).
TIP: If you need more details with regard to Users and user privileges in Ubuntu, you may wish to review this article:
Ubuntu will open and the Update Manager should automatically open (if not, it can be found in System/Administration).
Select Install Updates (this may take a while depending on your internet speed).
OUTSTANDING!You should now have a virtual machine Ubuntu running inside OS X.
(Optional to increase graphics performance)
Whilst in Ubuntu,
Select Devices at the top of the screen again
Select Install Guest Additions
This will open on your Ubuntu desktop as something similar to VBOXADDITIONS_3.0.0_49315
Double click it to open
Double click
Select Run
Enter your password
It will open a terminal window and may take a couple of minutes to complete
Once finished, it will say, "Successfully installed the VirtualBox Guest Additions."
Restart Ubuntu
Go to System/Preferences/Display to customize the screen size.
CONGRATUALTIONS and I give you a hearty welcome to Linux!
For further help with Linux, look over the list of the other articles here on the website, as there are plenty more beginner articles to get you started.
The process is fairly straightforward, but in case you encounter an issue, I try to provide some tips for the more common anomalies.
If you get this message,

Select "Do not show this message again" and select OK
To change the mouse back and forth simply click the Linux window to use Linux. To change back to Mac OS X, press the host key once (as indicated at the bottom right of the Linux window)
If you get a black screen on the Linux window, simply double click to restore session.
Note: to close VirtualBox, in the open Ubuntu window, select your name on the menubar and select shutdown; when it says Aborted or Powered Off under your Ubuntu Linux boot in the VirtualBox program, it is safe to close VirtualBox. To run in the future, simply open VirtualBox, select your operating system e.g. Ubuntu Linux and select Start

If the installation fails for some reason or another, select the operating system name, while in VirtualBox, and then select Discard. Unfortunately, if a complete fail occurs, you will need to restart the installation process. Make sure your ISO burn is correct.

You may also wish to review the article Exploring Linux with Ubuntu.

This brief article is intended as a beginners guide to help new Linux users get started using Ubuntu on their Mac running OSX. All trademarks or registered trademarks in this article belong to their respective owners.

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