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GRUB, the GRand Unified Bootloader, is a boot loader from the GNU project. GRUB 2 is a complete rewrite. In early 2009, Vladimir Serbinenko has added support for booting Darwin to GRUB 2, making it suitable as an alternative to boot-132 (the original Apple Darwin boot loader).
However the "COPYING" file stipulates a GPLv3 license.

This page discusses how to install and use GRUB 2.

For BIOS-based machines

Getting GRUB 2

Since GRUB 2 is still under heavy development, and since the XNU-related functionality is still very new at the time of this writing (June 2009), your best option for getting the most recent version of GRUB 2 is to compile it from source.

Compiling from SVN using Ubuntu

At the time of this writing, there are some issues with compiling GRUB 2 on Mac OS X and Darwin. Hence, the follwoing instructions assume that you use a Ubuntu 8.10 Live CD (more recent versions should work as well). (This page needs to be updated to explain the procedure using Mac OS X or Darwin as well.)

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install build-essential subversion autoconf ruby bison
svn co svn://
cd grub2/
./configure --enable-efiemu
sudo make install

This should install GRUB 2 to /usr/local/bin, from where you can call it to install the boot loader to a disk.

Installing GRUB 2

Once you have installed GRUB 2 to /usr/local/bin as described above, you need to install it to the disk you want to make bootable.

sudo grub-install --root-directory=/media/XXX/ /dev/sdX

This should give a message like

Installation finished. No error reported.
This is the contents of the device map /media/disk//boot/grub/
Check if this is correct or not. If any of the lines is incorrect,
fix it and re-run the script `grub-install'.

This has been tested with a FAT32-formatted USB stick. You need to replace /media/XXX/ with the mountpoint the partition is mounted to, and /dev/sdX with the device of the USB stick (not the partition). It might be necessary that you flag the partition bootable using cfdisk. To be investigated: Can we install this to a HFS+ volume from Ubuntu?

Booting Darwin with GRUB 2

GRUB 2 lets you control the kernel and extensions to be loaded in a very fine-grained manner. Please refer to the XNUSupport page of the GRUB wiki for more detailed information. The following searches all disks for /mach_kernel, and boots it using Extensions.mkext:

insmod vbe
insmod gfxterm
search --set
xnu_kernel /mach_kernel
xnu_mkext /System/Library/Extensions.mkext

terminal_output gfxterm

For EFI-based machines

GRUB 2 can also be used on EFI-based machines, such as Intel-based Macs.

The procedure is different from the one described above. Basically, you have to compile GRUB 2 as an EFI module, and place it in


on your disk. When you press the Alt key during boot, your Intel Mac should show the disk as "EFI Boot". See this thread on the Ubuntu Forums for more information.