Booting FreeBSD on a Macintosh?

Michael Sinatra michael at
Wed Jan 15 18:27:56 UTC 2014

On 1/15/14 3:01 AM, Volker Nebel wrote:
> Dear all,
> looking for a good a computer I bought a Macmini 6,1 with Intel Core i5
> last summer, then installed Ubuntu (for amd64) on it and now came back
> to FreeBSD (already running on my laptop). Having installed this, the
> macmini does not boot anymore, unfortunately. It only shows a blinking
> question mark in a folder symbol.
>    I searched the web for hints and found half a dozen of pages
> describing how to run both, Mac OS and FreeBSD. One page recommanded to
> issue
> "gpart bootcode -b /boot/pmbr -p /boot/gtpboot -i 1 ada0" after the
> installation and before reboot, but this didn't help. I found the hint
> to use FreeBSD for i386 - same result. (And it did boot Ubuntu for
> amd64.) Someone else recommanded to use MBR partitioning scheme instead
> of GPT, but the Partition Editor of the FreeBSD Installer returns "Error
> Invalid Argument" when I try to Create a partition of type freebsd-boot
> and size 64k or 512K.
>    Can anybody help? How can I install FreeBSD 9.2 on a Macmini and boot?

Surprisingly, the way I have gotten it to work is to use a good,
old-fashioned BSD-style disklabel.  I just installed FreeBSD 10-RC1 on a
Mac Mini, but it was the oldest possible Intel version (a 1,1).

If you install 9.2 the way you would install 8--use an MBR partition
with BSD disklabel on slice 1, you should get it to boot.

I am not close to the machine right now, and it's powered off, but I can
fire it up and send you the partition/label parameters.

Again, this is a very old 1,1 (still, it's an EFI system, but it's only
32-bit), but the same scheme might work on your system as well.


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