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Created a USB flash drive of Elementary OS 6 (elementaryos-6.0-stable.20211005.iso) and attempted to boot (option key at boot) into the drive on a MacBookPro2,2. It appeared to be accessing the flash drive with the LED active for a while, but nothing would render to the display.

I attempted to boot and edit the GRUB entry so as to remove quiet and altered splash to nosplash debug --verbose + F10 (to start boot), but still no verbosity / messages to indicate what's going on or wrong with the OS initialization/startup.

What can be done to diagnose this further and isolate the point of failure?

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The "point of failure" is likely the hardware itself, as the MacBook Pro you're using shipped in autumn 2006. Comparing the specifications of a fully loaded, top-of-the-line MacBook Pro for that year to the recommended hardware for Elementary OS we see this:

  MacBook Pro (2,2) Recommended Notes
CPU Intel Core2Duo T7600 @ 2.33GHz Recent Intel i3 or comparable dual-core 64-bit processor The Core2Duo is nowhere near a recent Core i3 in terms of performance.
RAM 2GB
(Upgradable to 4GB1
4GB The UI for Elementary (and anything that uses Gnome) requires a good bit of memory. 4GB is the minimum if you're a patient person
Video ATI Radeon X1600 w/256MB RAM Integrated or Dedicated graphics card with 384MB RAM2 Modern Gnome-based UIs generally use about 512MB of video RAM for general computing at 1024x768. Your MacBook has a 1440x900 display, so will need a bit more.
Storage 120GB HDD
(4200RPM)
32GB SSD A mobile 4200RPM drive from 2006 can generally move data at about 48MB/sec if the segments of each file are sequentially lined up on the disk (not fragmented). The slowest SSDs can generally move three times faster at a minimum.

It's almost a certainty that the MacBook Pro you're trying to install Elementary OS onto has seen some upgrades over the past 15 years but, even with 4GB of RAM and a modern SSD3, the system will struggle to handle the number of processes and services that Elementary (and modern Ubuntu) will try to load.

Based on experience, Elementary OS needs to have a 4th Generation Core i3 or a 3rd Generation Core i5 at a minimum in order to install. Atom and Pentium-based systems are pretty much non-starters regardless of how much RAM and storage is made available.

With all this said, if you really want to use Linux on that notebook, you may want to consider installing Ubuntu MATE4 and using the Pantheon theme. It's not the same experience as Elementary, but has many similar design elements. Alternatively, if you need something that is incredibly light-weight, Bodhi Linux has become my favourite go-to for older hardware. It will run on just about anything manufactured since Y2K, including machines with graphics cards that have 128MB RAM.


Notes:

1 The MacBook Pro (2,2) technically had a maximum memory limit of 3GB. However, you could get it to almost 4GB with a bit of work.

2 The link I had with the source of this number seems to have died at some point in the last year. However, based on experience supporting people coming to Linux with older hardware, 384MB is certainly the minimum you'll need for the graphics device. Dedicating more will only improve what you see on the screen.

3 The MacBook Pro (2,2) shipped with a SATAII interface, which limits transfer speeds to 300MB/sec. Any SSD manufactured after 2009 should be able to provide this amount of throughput.

4 Pronounced mah-tay.

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  • I appreciate the input! It appears that the main problem may be the 32-bit EFI on Core2Duo systems like this. See: mattgadient.com/… - Also, I did try YUMI UEFI and was able to get it to boot up to "fb0: switching to radeondrmfb from EFI VGA": p153.p0.n0.cdn.getcloudapp.com/items/RBuE06rR/… - So I guess this is getting close, but perhaps the GPU is the issue? Apparently from that article there are a number of distros that should work even modern ones with this system...
    – ylluminate
    Oct 20 at 5:08
  • Also, FWIW, I've run desktop systems with lesser hardware performance than this MacBookPro2,2 with pretty great success before for other folks so I'm thinking there must be a way around this as I'd hate to throw another window manager on this system if I could avoid it. Pantheon is just so nice for Linux distros. I think support for Gecko with Tumbleweed might be a better option than the Ubuntu base, but OpenSuse Pantheon builds need to just get back in gear.
    – ylluminate
    Oct 20 at 5:15

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