[LAU] Mac Mini? (or, am I an idiot?)

Robin Gareus robin at gareus.org
Fri May 18 22:31:55 UTC 2012

On 05/18/2012 11:40 PM, Leigh Dyer wrote:
> On 19/05/12 7:23 AM, Josh Lawrence wrote:
>> Hi again list, sorry so noisy lately -
>> I've got a Mac Mini.  It's really nice, was bought late last year, 8
>> GB RAM, fast processor, etc.  I love OS X, but I really, really,
>> really miss Linux.  I've been enjoying Tango Studio (an Ubuntu
>> derivative), and would like to install it on my Mac Mini.
>> Is this stupid?
> Nope! I have Linux installed on my Macbook Air, and while I don't use it
> a whole lot, it works just fine.

+1 ;

no "Air" here, but we use Mini Macs running GNU/Linux a lot - especially
for exhibitions. The form-factor of those boxes is great to hide them in
various places on stage or in the space.

Asus EEEPCs or EEEboxes do that do; but the Institute here feels more
comfortable with ordering Macs. I hate that they pay Apple for their
bundled OS but I already fight enough uphill buerocratic battles with
the administration.. and Mini Macs are more powerful than those Atom
CPUs in the EEEs, so I don't complain.

>>  From what I've been reading, getting this to work is a mix of BootCamp
>> and rEFIt (http://refit.sourceforge.net/).  Has anyone done this, and
>> if so, what was the experience like?
> Yep, that's pretty much it -- use Mac OS X's partitioning tools to
> resize your OS X partition to give yourself some free space to work
> with, 

"Disk Utility" in "Applications->Utilities" -- but `parted` can do it as
well, these days.

> install rEFIt, and then just boot from the install CD of your
> choice.

That is if you want to dual (or triple) boot. If you only want
Gnu/Linux, you can directly boot from CD: press "C" when powering on.

https://support.apple.com/kb/HT1533 comes in handy "Startup key
combinations for Intel-based Macs".

> As long as your selected distro supports all of the hardware,
> the install process isn't much different to a standard PC -- just make
> sure you install the boot loader on to your Linux partition, rather than
> the disk's MBR.
> If Tango Studio isn't modern enough to support all of the Mac Mini's
> hardware, you might have better luck with something like Ubuntu 12.04.

Debian/squeeze runs fine on various Mac Minis up to the last model from
2011. So most derivative distros should do, too.

These days even drivers for MacBook WiFi and iSight cameras are included
- IIRC the latter only in debian/non-free. It's easy to linuxify macs
these days.

have fun,

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