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#1 2023-11-07 20:47:23

Registered: 2023-11-07
Posts: 2  

Do live install on Intel Mac (MacBook, Mac mini, iMac)

I'll start by saying for anyone using an Apple Silicon (M1-M3) Mac, unforunately, you'll need to run Devuan inside a virtual machine; ( UTM is the best for this) and there's also VirtualBox builds available, or you'll need to run Asahi Linux to run it on the actual hardware.

But for those that have Macs with Intel processors in them, here's a quick way to install Devuan, and have it recognized natively by your Mac without needing anything other than macOS. When macOS prompts you, allow Terminal to have folder and volume access, or steps needing these permissions will fail.

1. First, if you haven't already (after backing up your stuff), you'll need to turn off Secure Boot if you have a T security chip in your model; you can do this from the recoveryOS in the SSU (Startup Security Utility) and allow it to boot non-Apple operating systems; if you're planning on booting from a flash drive, also choose to allow external devices. (I'd suggest this anyway in case you need to create your own unsigned macOS startup disk if something goes wrong). Just in case anyone is unfamiliar with doing this, as an extra, the command (for /Applications/Install macOS Ventura as an example would look like this):

/Applications/Install\ macOS\ --volume /Volumes/Untitled

This example would be for a disk prepped to run the macOS installer, in this case a GUID + Mac OS Extended flash drive mounted as 'Untitled'.

2. Second, partition an available disk in Disk Utility (in /Applications/Utilities). Click Partition in the toolbar and click + to split it with about 8 GB of space (you could do like 4 GB instead, but this gives room for extra files), then when Disk Utility asks, Add Partition. 'Add Volume' will add a new containerized volume to the set, so definitely go for a partition smile Once that's done, format the new partition as FAT32. And once that's done, close Disk Utility.

3. In your Downloads folder, extract the files from the Devuan ISO. (Keka or the Unarchiver are free/open apps on the App Store, and should work for this). Then copy the contents (boot, efi, isolinux, live) to the partition made earlier.

4. Open Terminal (/Applications/Utilities), and elevate to root:

sudo -s

Type your password (which won't be visible for security) and press return. Type:

diskutil list

Or for an easier way, you could open Disk Utility and see what device your partition is in the info table (like /dev/disk0s4 for example). Once you've found it (and we'll say it's disk0s4, your Mac could have it in a different place so beware, we'd do something like:

bless --device /dev/disk0s4

If macOS can't find your device for whatever reason, check you've mounted it and typed it properly, or alternatively try blessing the Volumes folder/mount point or --setBoot manually. This method should work for making single partition FAT32 flash drives into EFI startup disks as well.

5. Restart your Mac, and right after the chime, hold down the option key to bring up the Startup Chooser. You should see your partition either as 'EFIBOOT' or 'Windows'. Use your trackpad, mouse, or arrow keys then click or press return to boot into Devuan. If you're just aiming for a live filesystem, congrats! You've now got Linux installed on the side.

Extra step: If you want a properly installed Devuan on your Mac, you can, of course, also create a third partition (I'd suggest 32 GB at least) in Disk Utility back in step 2. Once you restart into Devuan in step 5, you can create separate EFI and ext4 partitions from the space given to your third partition using GParted (or parted from the Terminal in Devuan). Then run refractainstaller as root from the Terminal as usual to be guided through installing the new system. Be careful to assign / and /boot (and grub-efi) to the right partitions if you do this, so you don't mess up macOS (unless you want to erase it and install only Devuan from an external disk).

Either way, you've got Devuan running on your Mac! Hope this is helpful to anyone else out there who are fans of the Mac and Devuan!

Last edited by systemnaut (2023-11-07 21:18:26)


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