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Trying to install Ubuntu server on my MacBook however the CD drive is not working. All the guides I have seen so far use the bootcamp process (same as for windows) to achieve this.

I currently have a windows partition on my machine (it was installed with a CD when the drive was ok) which I'm going to remove before I do this. Is it possible to boot using the USB drive from the Mac bootloader using this method? I don't want to remove my Windows partition to find that I NEED a CD to do this.

I would also prefer to have a separate partition as opposed to any sort of VM setup to do this.

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Did you know there's separate site for Ubuntu? askubuntu.com/questions I've already flagged the moderators to see if they'll migrate this question there. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Oct 4 '12 at 15:09
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closed as off topic by Blrfl, Oded, Wyatt Barnett, FrustratedWithFormsDesigner, GlenH7 Oct 4 '12 at 16:12

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2 Answers

Ubuntu has a guide called How to install Ubuntu on MacBook using USB Stick

See also generic instructions for installing Ubuntu on Mac.

Generic instructions for USB Stick Ubuntu install also mention Macs

You need Mac OS X to create a USB flash drive that can boot on Macs. Even so, the process is less reliable than using a CD, as the USB flash drive is not always recognized on boot. Reversely, you can't create bootable USB flash drives for other platforms than Macs from withing Mac OS X. This is because Macs use a custom EFI bios with a custom boot-loader and need a special filesystem layout to boot correctly.

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I don't think I've installed anything off CD in recent memory -- usb sticks and .isos are the way to fly. Check out these instructions for installing ubuntu server from a USB stick.

You'll probably want to setup the partition before you dive in, though in all honesty there is very little reasons not to run this stuff in a VM these days.

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I really should have asked this question in apple to be honest (as I will repost) as it's more of an issue with the mac boot loader. I would be fully confident installing from a USB if it was a pc/blank HDD –  Thomas Egan Oct 4 '12 at 15:29
    
Yeah, personally I installed it as a Parallels VM, just like Windows 7. If your machine has the horsepower, at least you don't have to reboot to get into the other environment. –  MetalMikester Oct 4 '12 at 15:30
    
Yes, you can definitely boot from a USB stick. Start the computer holding down option to pick. –  Wyatt Barnett Oct 4 '12 at 15:31
    
FWIW, I'm using VirtualBox VMs w/ drives mapped back to the host machine -- really awesome for being able to hop into different environments and not have file schlepping issues. –  Wyatt Barnett Oct 4 '12 at 15:32
    
@WyattBarnett: I wouldn't be so sure, I've tried booting Ubuntu 12.04 altnernate+mac from USB on MBP, and it didn't work at all. Burned CD instead. –  vartec Oct 4 '12 at 15:32
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