Computer Software

Linux on a USB flash disk

I successfully installed Xubuntu 12.04 on a 4gig USB stick connected to my Windows Vista Laptop. Proves it can be done!

I wondered if it might be possible to install an identical version of Linux on my iMac, but alas no…I am now trying a different distro.

Installing to a USB flash drive has the advantage of not wiping out your hard disk by mistake. On the Macintosh, there are a number of issues:

Firstly, it depends on what Macintosh model you’ve got. Some Macs are more amenable to Linux installs than others. The version of Linux that you can install depends very much on whether  you have got an Intel Mac, or an older “PPC” machine.

I have only got an old G3 iMac, acquired second hand for $50. (Thought I had better own up, this being a freeware blog). It is important to note that the procedures described in the Ubuntu Help pages may or may not apply to your Macintosh model, depending upon whether it is an Intel or PPC machine.

On a PPC Mac, you need to use a program called “Yaboot” .Be warned, if this installation fails, then it messes up the bootloader and you subsequently cannot boot into Mac OS X or 9. However, you can get out of this by holding down the “option” key (marked “alt” on some keyboards) during boot up and choose Mac OS X from the launcher that appears. 

I have not been able to find a freeware Utility which will repair the Mac OS 9 boot loader on a PPC Mac.If you know differently, please post a link!

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