• JD Wallace

Install Ubuntu Desktop 20.10 on MacBook Air (Late '10)

I have this old MacBook Air that wouldn't run a new enough version of MacOS to really be useful any more. I've been playing around a lot more with Ubuntu lately so figured why not give it a shot? It's a great little laptop that I remember using way back in my Microsoft days and it's pretty great to see it still kicking.


Install Ubuntu

  • There's actually a super straight forward walk-through on Ubuntu.com, so just follow that.

  • Use Image: Ubuntu Desktop 20.10 Groovy Gorilla

  • When you get to Updates and other software, do not select Download updates while installing Ubuntu. I'm not sure why but I actually tested out the install several times and each time the Mac would fail to reboot if I enabled this option. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Don't worry though, it seems that updates will install just fine when I run them after install is complete.


UEFI Secure Boot Error

When the Mac reboots it will see the following error for a few moments. Start up will then continue. You could just ignore this, it doesn't seem to hurt anything and you only see it during boot; but I wanted to try to fix it.

Failed to set MokListRT: Invalid Parameter
Could not create MokListRT: Invalid Parameter
Importing MOK states has failed: import_mok_state() failed
: Invalid Parameter
Continuing boot since secure mode is disabled

I'm not totally sure I understand what's happening here, but It seems like this is a bug caused by UEFI Secure Boot trying to import a key but this older Mac doesn't support Secure Boot.


To fix, I reinstalled GRUB using Boot Repair and disable Secure Boot.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair
sudo apt update
sudo apt install -y boot-repair && boot-repair

Boot Repair will launch. Expand Advanced options.

Select GRUB options and uncheck SecureBoot. Select Apply.

You will be shown three commands to run. Run the first two, but you'll actually need to modify the third before running it by appending --allow-remove-essential.

Run the commands, then select Yes on the pop-up, and then Forward.

sudo dpkg --configure -a
sudo apt-get install -fy
sudo apt-get purge -y group*-common shim-signed \
--allow-remove-essential

Now reinstall GRUB by running the next command that is presented. When done, select Forward.

sudo apt-get install -y grub-efi os-prober

Now you're done. Select OK.

Finally reboot, and you should no longer see the error.

reboot
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