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Unable to boot Fedora 29 on Mac Pro

asked 2018-12-04 13:40:35 -0500

ndroftheline gravatar image

Hello crew,

I have a bit of a pet project, it's a 2006 Apple Mac Pro 1,1, upgraded with the parts and firmware from a higher-end 2007 Mac Pro 2,1. I'd like to use it to try and get back into doing more work for the Fedora project around package maintenance.

The Fedora installer won't boot on this machine. I suspect it may be due to it's 32-bit EFI. I know Fedora supports 32-bit EFIs specifically https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Change... however this machine won't boot the installer, and I'm hoping someone can help me understand why.

When I start the machine with a Fedora Workstation install USB in, I get the black-white GRUB menu showing Start Fedora-Workstation-Live-29, Test this media & start Fedora-Workstation-Live 29, and Troubleshooting entries. I can navigate this menu and select any option, but all that happens is a still cursor, the activity LED on my USB drive flashes for some seconds (feels like about 60 seconds?), then the machine reboots.

So far: - tried a bunch of different USBs, including USB 2.0 drives - confirmed ISOs i've downloaded hash correctly - tried a bunch of different options in Rufus, unetbootin, etcher no change - installed the Fedora Media Writer and tried that, no change - went through the process described on mattgadient's blog page ( to modify the Fedora 29 netinstall iso, burned it to a CD, booted and installed that successfully - but it only supports MBR installs, and runs in a special mode intended for Windows which causes odd behaviors. I want a native EFI install so I can use the hardware completely. - I've done a fair bit of googling around and finding that there are some who are successfully using pure EFI boots/installs running Linux. I've also read up on how (U)EFI works here, though to be fair I stopped shortly after "Fallback path’ UEFI native boot entries" because not booting from removable media is as far as I've gotten.

FWIW, I'm able to install MacOS versions this hardware supports without any trouble and run them OK.

Any input appreciated. I'll try to update this blog post if I make progress on my own.

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answered 2018-12-20 15:28:47 -0500

Hi there!

I've also had the exact same problem described in this thread on my MacPro 1,1 (flashed to 2,1). I've tested the Fedora installer, which appears to support 32-bit EFI, with all sorts of USB sticks - I've also burned both the full image and the netinstall image to DVD's and CDs and tried booting them, with no success. I get a solid cursor after selecting to boot Fedora 29 for approximately 60 seconds, and then the machine reboots.

I've managed to get Fedora 29 running on my machine by installing the OS on the drive in another computer, and then swapping the drive out into my MacPro. Obviously not ideal at all, so if anyone has any insight or interest in fixing this issue with booting the Fedora installer on the old MacPros, then it'd be great to keep these machines going into the future, considering they're extremely reliable and also now very affordable.

Thanks to anyone who reads this! :)

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answered 2018-12-19 15:44:25 -0500

ndroftheline gravatar image

I think I've progressed one small step in this. I've been able to successfully boot and install debian 9, Elementary OS 5, and Kubuntu 18.04 using the simple fix detailed here: https://bugzilla.kernel.org/show_bug....

However the GRUB entries in the Fedora installer are different, and the noefi parameter added to the "linuxefi" line results in the same behavior: just an unblinking horizontal cursor, activity light on my USB flashing, for 90 seconds and then the system power cycles.

This is funky, old hardware so I totally understand if nobody's particularly interested, ha. But I'd like to keep using it, on Fedora, if I can find out how. Thanks.

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answered 2018-12-12 14:53:59 -0500

ndroftheline gravatar image

Thanks ed209, I had a look at those links and in the first one, he's referencing a MacbookPro5,5 (Released 2010) which uses 64-bit EFI. In the second, he's also using a machine with a 64-bit EFI, since the earliest Retina-enabled MBP was in 2012: https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/...

This particular machine uses a 32-bit EFI. Apple released quite a few machines using 64-bit processors and 32-bit EFI. I also have some 2007 iMacs that use 64-bit processors and 32-bit EFI, and they boot, install, and run Fedora beautifully - although the dual-core, non-hyperthreaded mobile-grade procs are only barely able to keep up with current-day tasks.

I went ahead and reverted the firmware and SMC coding of this system back to its 1 1 roots, but no change - I'm still unable to boot Fedora in EFI mode (or any of the other distros I've manually retrofitted with a 32bit EFI file).

Since Fedora's pioneering work in making 32-bit EFIs a standard part of the installer was done (I think primary by @pjones ? ), and considering my enjoyment of participating in the Fedora project in the past, I'd like to figure out what's going wrong here, solve it, and hopefully enable the project to support these cool old systems going forward.

I just don't know how to get any useful information out of the system; once I select any option from the GRUB menu on the USB installer, it just hangs for about 30-60 seconds and reboots. Other liveUSBs don't even reboot, they just hang until I kill the machine manually.

Further assistance appreciated (: and/or, if anybody is running a Mac Pro Classic (cMP or MPc) 1,1 or 2,1 from 2006 or 2007 successfully on Fedora, please share your experience here! It might just be that I have a funny bit of hardware or something, not sure.

Thanks kindly

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answered 2018-12-04 19:12:13 -0500

ed209 gravatar image

Doesn't look it will work. If you haven't yet, check out those links: https://arunraghavan.net/2010/02/pure... https://oglok.github.io/2016-08-03-Fe...

Strange thing is that it works on macbook pro. Perhaps your upgrade parts have made the situation even worse. Good luck.

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Asked: 2018-12-04 13:40:35 -0500

Seen: 492 times

Last updated: Dec 04 '18