Installing Antergos on a MacBook Pro 8,2 (Mid-2011)

The MacBook Pro is (if treated well) a very durable piece of hardware. It's able to execute the latest OS smoothly, and reading a bit, you can get to customize it a lot to make it your own.

If you happen to own a MacBook Pro 8,2 (Mid 2011) with dedicated graphics card, and try to install Antergos in it, you may have stumbled upon hassle making the Live USB, issues connecting it to the internet once logged into the Live USB, and big trouble making it boot from HDD. But all those things have a solution. Here is how:

Making the Live USB

When you boot a system on you Mac, you want to boot it in EFI mode. Particularities of BIOS mode and EFI mode are beyond the scope of this tutorial, but given that OSX configures your HDD to have a GPT and EFI partition, it's best not to go against the rules.

The best way I've found is to format the USB thumb drive to FAT32, and dump the contents of the .iso into it. You can extract the contents of the iso using Keka if you are in OSX, or just mounting the iso with Image Mounter if you are in Linux.

The dd method advised by the antergos community may work as well, but I have found instances of these drives to be interpreted as BIOS boot by the computer.

Booting to the LiveUSB

You can choose where to boot from by keep pressing the alt key as soon as you turn on the MacBook. It will display a menu with several disks to choose from. IF the LiveUSB has been created properly, there will be one with the USB sign on it, labeled as "EFI boot". That's the one you want to choose.

If you fiddled with linux distros in the past, it is possible that you have another bootloader installed, like rEFInd or grub. On those, there is a chance that you can choose between efi boot, fallback boot or legacy boot for the LiveUSB. Always choose EFI boot.

Once selected, the LiveUSB will display a black screen with a menu in white letters. Again, choose EFI boot.

Connecting to Wi-Fi

The Antergos installer needs to be connected to the internet in order to provide all that variety of packages. But, you will find that Wi-Fi is simply not available. That's because the driver that controls the BCM4331 wireless chipset doesn't kick in automatically. You need to manually activate it by opening a terminal, and type:

sudo modprobe b43

That activates the b43 open source driver for this chipset, and as soon as you hit enter, the wifi panel will be available on the top right corner menu.

Wait until Antergos updates and restarts Cnchi, and then install, using the options as you want. (as of the day of this being written, the Cnchi version that comes with the .iso is somewhere around 0.14.68, and it updates to 0.14.94). 

But when it finishes, and ask you to restart, don't do it yet

Being able to boot Antergos

The thing here is that if you reboot, you will be unable to boot into Antergos. It will simply crash, and remain unresponsive until you hard reset the computer.  You won't be able to enter a rescue shell or anything. It just sits there.

The cause of this is lightdm. The login manager that kicks in to ask you for your username and password, when you turn on the computer. For some reason, it doesn't go well with the ATI open source drivers for this chipset (Radeon 6750M) and crashes. The solution for this is to just use another login manager. In my case, I choose gdm, but you may choose any other one. Here is the way to change it:

  • Open up a terminal
  • Switch to root user using su
  • Mount the partition in which you have Antergos installed, on the /mnt folder.  You can do it by using: mount /dev/sdXn /mnt with the X being the letter of your drive, and the n being the number of the partition.

  • Change the root using arch-chroot /mnt. This open some kind of root session on that drive, allowing you to make changes to the system without booting from it.
  • Uninstall lightdm, and install gdm: 

pacman -Rcns lightdm

pacman -S gdm

systemctl -f enable gdm

And then reboot. You will be able to boot into Antergos and it will get you to the gdm login manager which works perfectly.

Happy hacking!


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