After getting a new Mac notebook, the next step in my mind was how to configure this notebook in such a way it could boot, at least, three different operating systems (OSes). I have to ensure that the build software could run across the platforms. Eventually, there are four main OSes in the world: MS Windows, Sun OS, Linux, and Mac OS. The last two OSes are based on Unix.

Unfortunately, Sun OS runs on a specific computer architecture, called SPARC, as well as Mac OS with PowerPC. Although Apple Inc., the Mac producer, uses nowadays Intel processor on its OS development process, there is still no guarantee that the Mac OS could run on every Intel-based computer from other benchmark. This is the main reason why a Mac computer (notebook or CPU) is really required. The same condition occurs also in case of Sun OS. However, the Sun computer is still quite expensive and the Sun OS is not often used at the time. An exceptional is Sun-based network !

Also, I need at least three main OSes (ie. Windows, Linux, Mac OS) to be in my Mac notebook. The Mac notebook came with Mac OS X 10.5 (also known as Leopard). The Leopard has more functionality than its predecessor, the Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4). The Bootcamp is one example. With this Bootcamp functionality, one can easily install Windows as the second OS.

Now, how to have the third one ? 

rEFItFirst of all, a small, powerfull software so-called rEFIt should be on the hand for having a nice boot manager. Please click here to freely download. You need also BootCamp. In case of having Leopard or later, you have no worry as it has been bundled within. Otherwise, you should download here or just google it in case of broken link.

The most referred article about how to configure a triple booting through BootCamp is on wiki.onmac site. However it requires some command line, eq., for partitioning. The easiest way to do it is written in ubuntuforums.org. Unfortunately, not all mentioned there could be easily implemented in my case. Thus, the following is what I did during my experimentation. Assume that no partition has been done.

  1. Install rEFIt by typing the following command line on Terminal:

    cd /efi/refit
    ./enable.sh

  2. Do Windows partition using BootCamp. Just easily start BootCamp and follow the wizard until directly installing the Windows (does not matter: XP or Vista). The notebook will automatically re-boot.

    BootCamp changes the startup volume. Thus, during booting process, hold Alt button and change the startup volume back to the Mac partition, which will boot into rEFIt Boot Manager.

  3. So far, two OSes have been installed on the Mac notebook: Windows and Mac OS. Now it is the right time to install Linux as the third one. There are two ways for doing that. First, just put Linux Install CD/DVD on the driver and install it on Windows partition.

    Disadvantage: grub Boot Manager will take place such that you are only able to see two icons, Mac OS and Windows, on the rEFIt. Clicking Windows icon will open grub Boot Manager, in which you can choose either Windows itself or Linux.

    Second, put Mac OS Install CD/DVD into the driver, re-boot the notebook, hold C button. This action will bring you to the GUI of Mac OS Installer. Open Disk Utility, click Partition tab of Mac partition (not Windows one !!), click the little plus (+) sign at the bottom. It will split the Mac partition into two.

    Disk Utility will format it as HFS+. Do not worry because Linux installer will gladly reformat it to ext3.

    Re-boot, hold Alt button, replace the CD/DVD with Linux install CD/DVD, choose re-boot option from rEFIt, hold C button. You should now be on the GUI of Linux installer. The best way is to use Live CD.

  4. <<< still under constructions – please come back later >>>