Obviously, mac os x is sleek and user friendly, and satisfies the needs for most folks. But some of us, who are accustomed to computers providing technical dilemmas that need solving (because sudoku is boring), feel the need to run linux on intel macs.
On PPC macs, it was easy: you could use open firmware to boot into whatever partition you had yaboot on, which would then boot the rest of the system.
But on intel macs, there is no open firmware, and they use EFI instead. I decided to take the plunge, and try and install linux on my original macbook. Since I do not own bootcamp, I thought I would use the EFI from the rEFIt project at http://sourceforge.net/projects/refit/
All I did thus far was download the rEFIt installer and double click it, go through the procedure, and reboot.
After rebooting, I don't get a boot screen. In fact, the only thing that happens, is that the power light comes on (no chime). If I hold the power button down for a while, as if to reinstall firmware, then the activity light on the front, next to the power light, strobes, but not in the pattern for installing firmware.
My first thought was that rEFIt destroyed the firmware, and so I downloaded the firmware install cd (for when firmware updates fail, and you have to install firmware from cd), but when holding down power button, the light activity never fits the pattern discribed for inserting the firmware cd, so I haven't done it, as I am afraid that without the firmware, it won't be able to eject (since drives no longer have emergency manual ejcect mechanisms that you used to be able to put paperclips in, grr).
Nothing happens if I hold down option during startup, or ctl-s or command-option-p-r. Basically, there has not been any combination of keyboard shortcuts during startup that have successfully delivered me to any prompt whatsoever. It won't even start up in target disk mode
I have not done anything else to the box. I am afraid to take it to an apple service specialist, as they probably would just recommend replacing the motherboard, like they always do when they don't know what's going on.
Is it possible that rEFIt just deleted the EFI partition? Maybe it wiped out the MBR, but in that case, shouldn't I just get a question mark drive. How could rEFIt harm this machine to such an extent?
My next plan of attack, but it is lots of work, so I was hoping to get some confirmation form someone elcanse before continuing, was going to be to remove the drive from the macbook, put it in another macbook, and boot the other macbook off of an external drive, and then view the partition table of my drive that I installed to see if all the partitions are there.
I need some data on this drive, so I really need some help. However, I am on a road trip, and will only be able to check this post from hotels in the evening.
I hope we solve this, so we can warn others who try rEFIt on original macbooks (white 13" 2006 macbook with A1181 as model number)
Thanks in advance