Thread available [ here]

Debian Etch on a MacBook HOWTO (triple-boot) at:

Boot process described is rEFIt to LILO to Linux (as discussed in above-linked thread.)

Relevant information elsewhere on this wiki: MacMiniIntel

Partitioning (via OS X)

Before being able to install Debian, you need to repartition the disk; supposing you want to reserve 20Gb for your OS X partition, run the following command from a terminal (Applications -> Utility -> Terminal):

Mac OS X $ sudo diskutil resizevolume disk0s2 20G
Started resizing on disk disk0s2 Macintosh HD
Resizing Volume
Adjusting Partitions
Finished resizing on disk disk0s2 Macintosh HD
WARNING: You must now reboot!

Preparing to dual boot (via OS X): rEFIt

Now [ Download] and install rEFIt (the following example is done with disk image):

sudo cp -r /Volumes/rEFIt/efi /efi
cd /efi/refit

it's now possible to proceed installing Debian. In the installation process, before installing the lilo bootloader you need to fix the partition table via gptsync either using the shell tool provided with rEFIt or, later on during the installation, using the [ refit Debian package].

To run gptsync from the shell tool, just reboot and press enter on the terminal icon ("start EFI shell"):

Shell> gptsync

Install Debian

Grab and burn an image from the [ d-i website]; for example a daily [ netinst]

Boot from the CD (hold down C while booting) and proceed with installation; when asked to reboot on the installed system, go to the second console (CTRL-ALT-F2) and chroot on the debian partition:

$ chroot /target /bin/bash

This can be necessary for example because you will need to run gptsync, and debian-installer being the daily image may need some random workarounds.

Gigabit Ethernet

Your kernel must have support for the Yukon Gigabit Ethernet driver known as sky2. See [ #378521]


apt-get install madwifi-source madwifi-tools module-assistant


# m-a prepare
# m-a a-i madwifi
# depmod -a
# modprobe ath_pci

See [ madwifi wiki] for more details.


Configure right apple key to alt-gr adding the "?XkbOptions" line below

Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier      "Generic Keyboard"
        Driver          "kbd"
        Option          "CoreKeyboard"
        Option          "XkbRules"      "xorg"
        Option          "XkbModel"      "pc105"
        Option          "XkbLayout"     "it"
        Option          "XkbOptions"    "lv3:rwin_switch"


Alternatively you can work around with xmodmap and xkbset. xkbset is useful for emulating mouse buttons with keyboard.

xmodmap -e "keycode 115 = Alt_L"
xmodmap -e "keycode 116 = Zenkaku_Hankaku" # right-apple
xmodmap -e "keycode 108 = Pointer_Button3" # KP-ENTER
xmodmap -e "keycode 204 = Pointer_Button2" # eject
xkbset m

Has anyone made the fn key work? I can't so to get Page Up and Down I use:

xmodmap -e "keycode 116 = Page_Up" # Right-Apple
xmodmap -e "keycode 108 = Page_Down" # KP-Enter


The video chipset shipped with Macbook is 945GM; to get video to work properly, you need to adjust the resolution using the [ 915resolution] package

apt-get install 915resolution
915resolution -c 945 54 1280 800

then edit /etc/default/915resolution

# 915resolution default
# find free modes by  /usr/sbin/915resolution -l
# and set it to MODE
# e.g. use MODE=54 
# and set resolutions for the mode.
# e.g. use XRESO=1024 and YRESO=768
# We can also set the pixel mode.
# e.g. use BIT=32
# Please note that this is optional,
# you can also leave this value blank.

Adjust the Monitor section of /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Section "Monitor"
        Identifier      "Color LCD"
        Option          "DPMS"
        HorizSync       28-64
        VertRefresh     43-60
        Modeline "1280x800@60" 83.91 1280 1312 1624 1656 800 816 824 841

and make sure the Screen sections uses "1280x800" as default resolution in the Modes lines and finally

/etc/init.d/915resolution start

See also an [ xorg.conf file] which enables use of an external monitor.


ALSA driver snd_hda_intel seems to work for playback as of 2.6.18-rc1.

With kernel 2.6.16-2 and 2.6.17-1 available in the Debian archives, no sound comes out of the speakers.


CPU frequency scaling is governed by CPUFREQ_CENTRINO kernel module. Enable that module, and install cpufreq package for CPU frequency scaling.


usual EHCI, UHCI stuff

infra red receiver

Just usual HID device, kernel patch available as of 2006-07-17.

Hardware Sensors

# lspci |grep -i ich
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) High Definition Audio Controller (rev 02)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) PCI Express Port 1 (rev 02)
00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) PCI Express Port 2 (rev 02)
00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI #1 (rev 02)
00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI #2 (rev 02)
00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI #3 (rev 02)
00:1d.3 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI #4 (rev 02)
00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller (rev 02)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation 82801GBM (ICH7-M) LPC Interface Bridge (rev 02)
00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) IDE Controller (rev 02)
00:1f.2 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82801GBM/GHM (ICH7 Family) Serial ATA Storage Controller IDE (rev 02)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) SMBus Controller (rev 02)

So, it would appear that the MacBook contains the 82801G (ICH7 Family) and [ ICH7 is supported by lm_sensors since sensors 2.9.0] by the [ i2c-i801 kernel driver] which has been in the kernel since 2.6.11.

However, even with all of i2c_i801, i2c_dev, and i2c_core loaded as modules, running sensors-detect fails as follows:

# sensors-detect revision 1.413 (2006/01/19 20:28:00)

Probing for PCI bus adapters...
Use driver `i2c-i801' for device 00:1f.3: Intel ICH7
Probe succesfully concluded.

We will now try to load each adapter module in turn.
Module `i2c-i801' already loaded.
If you have undetectable or unsupported adapters, you can have them
scanned by manually loading the modules before running this script.

 To continue, we need module `i2c-dev' to be loaded.
 If it is built-in into your kernel, you can safely skip this.
 i2c-dev is not loaded. Do you want to load it now? (YES/no): yes
 Module loaded succesfully.

 We are now going to do the adapter probings. Some adapters may hang halfway
 through; we can't really help that. Also, some chips will be double detected;
 we choose the one with the highest confidence value in that case.
 If you found that the adapter hung after probing a certain address, you can
 specify that address to remain unprobed. That often
 includes address 0x69 (clock chip).

Next adapter: SMBus I801 adapter at efa0
Do you want to scan it? (YES/no/selectively): yes
Client found at address 0x08
Client found at address 0x38
Probing for `Philips Semiconductors SAA1064'... Failed!
Client found at address 0x3a
Probing for `Philips Semiconductors SAA1064'... Failed!
Client found at address 0x44
Probing for `Maxim MAX6633/MAX6634/MAX6635'... Failed!
Client at address 0x50 can not be probed - unload all client drivers first!
Client at address 0x52 can not be probed - unload all client drivers first!
Client found at address 0x69

...(all other probes fail)...

 Sorry, no chips were detected.
 Either your sensors are not supported, or they are
 connected to an I2C bus adapter that we do not support.
 See doc/FAQ, doc/lm_sensors-FAQ.html, or
 (FAQ #4.24.3) for further information.
 If you find out what chips are on your board, see for driver status.

hostname:# sensors -version
sensors version 2.10.0 with libsensors version 2.10.0

Please replace above if you can replace it with a clear how-to on getting hardware sensors to work correctly.

A GPL program called [ ?SpeedIt] is apparently able to provide CPU temperature under OS X. Perhaps it could be adapted to work under GNU/Linux.

Devices to be confirmed