Technology

Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Apple Boot Camp

Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet (Google’s parent), Amazon and Facebook dominate the tech landscape. Their dominance is so broad they account for more than 20% of the S&P 500.

There are many things to admire about Apple’s hardware and software. Apple make great looking (albeit expensive) hardware. Over the years key successes include the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and the MacBook Air. The company designs its own hardware and software. This gives them the power to make an operating system and suite of apps that are tailor-made and optimized for their hardware. Apple also operates the Apple Music and Apple TV media distribution platforms.

Mac OS X is Apple’s proprietary operating system for its line of Macintosh computers. Its interface, known as Aqua, is highly polished and built on top of a BSD derivative (Darwin). There’s a whole raft of proprietary applications that are developed by Apple for their operating software. This software is not available for Linux and there’s no prospect of that position changing.

In 2020, Apple began the Apple silicon transition, using self-designed, 64-bit ARM-based Apple M1 processors on new Mac computers. Maybe it’s the perfect time to move away from the proprietary world of Apple, and embrace the open source Linux scene.

Apple Boot CampBoot Camp is a utility that comes with a Mac and lets users switch between macOS and Windows. The utility guides users through non-destructive disk partitioning (including resizing of an existing HFS+ or APFS partition, if necessary) of their hard disk drive or solid state drive and installation of Windows device drivers for the Apple hardware.

Boot Camp is proprietary software and doesn’t run under Linux. What are the best free and open source alternatives?


1. GRUB

GRUB (derived for GRand Unified Bootloader) is a boot loader package. A boot loader is the first software program that runs when a computer starts. It is responsible for loading and transferring control to the operating system kernel software.

The software enables users to boot one of multiple operating systems installed on a computer or select a specific kernel configuration available on a particular operating system’s partitions. GRUB can be used to boot Linux distro(s) and Windows, as well as other operating systems.


2. GParted

GParted creates, deletes, resizes, moves, checks, and copies disk partitions and their file systems.

This is useful for creating space for new operating systems, reorganizing disk usage, copying data residing on hard disks, and mirroring one partition with another (known as disk imaging).

When it comes to getting under the bonnet and altering disk partitions and their file systems, you’ll want a mature and well-tested application. GParted fits the bill.

GParted
Click image for full size

3. rEFInd

rEFInd is a boot manager for UEFI and EFI-based machines. The software can be used to boot multiple operating systems that are installed on a single non-volatile device. It also provides a way to launch UEFI applications.


4. systemd-boot

systemd-boot, previously called gummiboot, is a simple UEFI boot manager which executes configured EFI images. It was intended to be a minimal alternative to GRUB that “just works”.


All articles in this series:

Alternatives to Apple's Products
Apple BonjourBonjour is an implementation of zero-configuration networking; technologies that includes service discovery, address assignment, and hostname resolution.
Apple Boot CampBoot Camp is a utility that comes with a Mac which lets users switch between macOS and Windows. The utility also guides users through non-destructive disk partitioning.
Apple CompressorCompressor is a video and audio media compression and encoding application with support for common formats.
Apple FaceTimeFaceTime is a videotelephony product for making video and audio calls. FaceTime forces many to stay locked into a proprietary world.
Apple FileMakerFileMaker is a relational database application with a graphical user interface and good security features.
Apple Final Cut ProFinal Cut Pro is a series of non-linear video editing software programs. Log and transfer video, edit, process the video, and output to a wide variety of formats.
Apple GarageBandGarageBand is a line of digital audio workstations for creating music and podcasts offering a complete sound library.
Apple NumbersKeyNote is a simple and elegant presentation software that's part of the iWork productivity suite.
Apple Logic ProLogic Pro is a Digital Audio Workstation and MIDI sequencer providing software instruments, audio effects and recording facilities for music synthesis.
Apple MainStageMainStage is a music application designed for use in live performance. This software lets you run a live rig. Transform your keyboard, guitar, or vocal performance with an enormous collection of plug-ins and sounds.
Apple MessagesMessages is instant messaging software for sending messages, images, videos, and documents. There's location data and stickers.
Apple MotionMotion creates and edits motion graphics, titling for video production and film production, and 2D and 3D compositing for visual effects.
Apple NumbersNumbers is a spreadsheet application which uses a free-form “canvas” approach that demotes tables to one of many different media types placed on a page.
Apple PagesPages is a word processor that's part of the iWork productivity suite. It's marketed as an easy-to-use application that allows users to quickly create documents.
Apple PhotosPhotos is a photo management and editing application. Organize your collection into albums, or keep your photos organized automatically with smart albums.
Apple SafariSafari is a graphical web browser which uses the WebKit and Nitro engines. It's the default web browser for Macintosh computers.
Apple ShazamShazam identifies music, movies, advertising, and television shows. There’s nothing more annoying than hearing a new song not knowing the identity of the artist.
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