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Debian Businesses Apple

How to Install Debian on Mac mini 527

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-you-can dept.
wikinerd writes "After the hype about Mac mini, a Linux consultant wrote a detailed guide on how to install Debian on Mac mini. The whole procedure takes about an hour, but you will need to erase the hard disk and learn to live without the AirPort Extreme, since it's unsupported. The guide also explains how you can dual-boot with Mac OS X and Debian and gives you ideas on how to set up your partitions."
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How to Install Debian on Mac mini

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  • Re:Why ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Inconnux (227132) on Sunday February 13, 2005 @01:37PM (#11660229)

    why? because some people prefer linux :)

    although OSX is 'unix' under the hood, I still cant stand the 'bubbly' backwards interface. Another great reason is to play around with the source code on a different platform. Although I would never buy an apple product, if someone gave me a mac, I would wipe the OS immediately and install linux.

  • Me? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by (653730) on Sunday February 13, 2005 @01:43PM (#11660283)
    People who cares about having a 100% open source operative system, instead only a part?
  • Use Ubuntu (Debian) (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MarkWatson (189759) on Sunday February 13, 2005 @01:45PM (#11660300) Homepage
    The people at Ubuntu [] start with Debian and package it for end users. I have Ubuntu on 2 of my 3 Macs (but both are dual boot) and except for having to install IBM's PowerPC Java SDK, it was just about ready to go.

    Why run Linux on a Mac? I find that Linux has less to distract me from work. I like to boot OS X to edit video, etc., but for writing ( and programming (Eclipse for Java, Python, and C++) there is less fluff on Linux to distract me from my work.
  • Re:Why? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 13, 2005 @01:50PM (#11660338)
    And what about people who already have a mac mini and now decide to put linux on it, because they simply like linux, because they don't like osx, because they like to play around with their computer?

    And what about dual booting? What about people who buy a mac mini and use it with osx but also want to use linux on it for a host of reasons?
  • Re:Why? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 13, 2005 @02:00PM (#11660417)
    All the Mac Zealots told us that the Mac Mini hardware had the best price/performance for its tiny form-factor. I don't see how this changes by running a different OS.

    Furthermore, there's some applications (like HTPC) where Linux simply has better User Interface options than OS X. (gasp)
  • Re:Me? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by b17bmbr (608864) on Sunday February 13, 2005 @02:21PM (#11660574)
    i'd rather have a crappy OSS desktop than a propietary one.

    you and four other people.

    most of us will use the best tool for the job. that is why i use os x AND darwinports. i get the best of both worlds. until iphoto, itunes, and imovie have comprable equivalents on linux then it's a moot point. for me, i need java, perl, mysql, php, and python. hmmm...already there. X11. there. the only real reason i'd need to run lunux is if i was doing kernel development or something x86 specific. and i don't.

    and by the way, i have linux installed on my pc at home. i've run linux since 1998 (red hat 5.2). my "switch" if you will came a couple of years ago when i needed a new laptop and didn't want to pay the ms tax and hardware compatibility was less than perfect for linux on laptops, though it is better now. plus, i have three children and lots of digital movies.
  • Re:keep in mind (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kyrre (197103) on Sunday February 13, 2005 @02:21PM (#11660576)
    One can get sound to work on the Mac Mini. There is a post from a guy getting it to work on Ubuntuforums. []
  • IBM behind on G5s? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by (653730) on Sunday February 13, 2005 @02:25PM (#11660602)
    I would be surprised if linux wouldn't run great on G5s too. IBM has quite a lot of people working in the powerpc port of linux - and IBM is who makes G5s.
  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by frostman (302143) on Sunday February 13, 2005 @02:35PM (#11660682) Homepage Journal
    I'm happy about this not because I don't like OS X, but because it radically extends the potential life of a Mini for me.

    I want to get a Mini and start using OS X as my main (but not only) OS. After living with a 17" Powerbook for a few months, I'm ready to switch - well, switch back anyway, until Win2K I was a Mac guy.

    But if I end up liking it as much as I expect I will, I'll want a dual G5 at some point. Then what would become of the Mini?

    Problem now solved: the Mini would become a Linux development server (something I always need a few of around).

    Very nice. And by setting it up for dual-boot I get can keep it as a backup Mac as well.

  • Re:Why ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by marcello_dl (667940) on Sunday February 13, 2005 @02:53PM (#11660855) Homepage Journal
    You don't happen to have old hardware around? I have installed debian on two macs and one intel. I can use the same software and share data on all three, no more shareware and tryware notices, and I can keep all machines current, I can experiment with free software packages without fuss (I mean, installing debian is easier than port packages) On my tibookII I have no problems with peripherals (digital cam, firewire hd bought yesterday - gotta repartition it NOW, printer, airport - not extreme, ati radeon), on an old mac i have a scsi scanner - see journal for details. The intel laptop is just behind NAT and firewalled when somebody wants windows. Mac on linux (running an istance of OSX in a separate linux window/virtual console) is also possible, but i didn't get it to run on the newest 2.6.10- guess what, i didn't care to as i seldom use OSX anymore.

    The only risk is if a naughty exploit hits debian. But it's a risk that win-only or mac-only setups have, too. Especially win ;)
  • by prockcore (543967) on Sunday February 13, 2005 @03:00PM (#11660918)
    Wow, bad wireless support in a Linux Distro? What next? No major vendor games?

    Wireless support in linux distros is actually quite good these days.

    I'm on an older pismo powerbook that dual boots osx and ydl. I plugged in a dlink 802.11b card and osx didn't see it at all. I ended up paying for a $40 aerocard driver. (There is an opensource driver but it doesn't support wep or wpa for 90% of the cards). Linux did see it and prompted me for the wep key etc.

    Then a year later I got an airport card from work. I plugged it in, and removed the dlink card. OSX made me reconfigure the card, including plugging in my wep key again. Linux asked me if I wanted to migrate my wireless settings over to the new airport. It required 0 setup and "just worked".
  • by forkazoo (138186) <wrosecrans&gmail,com> on Sunday February 13, 2005 @03:19PM (#11661074) Homepage
    Weep silently? I added the first steps of primitive network play into the RTS I've been working on. The one good thing about Valentine's weekend is that I can always plan on getting work done, because I know I won't be bothered by other people. It's *great!*
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 13, 2005 @03:21PM (#11661096)
    You mean less distracting software, don't you? Because MacOS has jack shit on Windows in the most ftware department.
  • by Jay Carlson (28733) on Sunday February 13, 2005 @03:31PM (#11661179)
    I bought a Mac mini the day it came out because it was the lowest price for a OS X dongle I've seen, and I needed something quiet. The old fanless G3/450 iMac is the loudest machine in the house because it has one of those Maxtor drives that goes "weerrrerrrowwwwwwEEEERERROOWrrrrreeeoor".

    I installed dual-boot Debian testing the day I got the mini, however. (debian-ppc lost my success report mail from weeks ago, so I can't cite precedence over this guy.)

    Why install Linux on an OS X dongle?

    Because it's probably the cheapest new non-x86 machine you can buy. I care about the portability of my software to other architectures, and I can check them on the mini. Also, it's big-endian.

    At some point I'm going to buy a nice Athlon 64 box and run it in pure AMD64 mode. That will give me a sizeof(void *) != sizeof(int) box, and mostly a non-i386 machine. (It's still little-endian, though.) Between the mini and the Athlon 64, I figure I've covered most of the common portability problems, without spending too much money on hardware I can't use for something else like OS X or Halflife 2.
  • Thank you Apple! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fsmunoz (267297) <{gro.fsf.rebmem} {ta} {zonumsf}> on Sunday February 13, 2005 @06:57PM (#11662716) Homepage
    The more I read the reactions of the recently converted Mac OS X users the more I like Apple. Not because of the OS itself, which is nice in the extent that it is NeXTStep based. No. Because in a clean sweep it has clarified the waters and draged the apparently significant ammount of "pragmatics" away from the GNU/Linux and BSD fields.

    Reading the above comments by OSX users is funny as hell! "We can use Photoshop!", "We can use Word!", "We can use iWhatever!". The only important thing is "getting work done with the best tool!". Basicaly all they say applies to Windows, but being made by Apple makes it acceptable. The concept of freedom in the development and use of software is just a sidekick, something that can be convenient but not at all necessary.

    Thanks a lot Apple! OSX has attracted -- like a bright light attracts flies -- the Windows rejects looking for a company to worship that rided the free Unices bandwagon for years, but always whinning about the need for pragmatism and pissing in the ideals that made it all possible.

    Good ridance, and "think different!".
  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MerlinTheWizard (824941) on Sunday February 13, 2005 @08:24PM (#11663379)
    I already said that not long ago, but absolutely *nothing* beats the Mac Mini for the time being in terms of processing power and smallest form factor. Ok, that and the price: a Mac Mini is rather cheap. Oh, and some people like challenge and like to "make things happen" instead of just gobbling up what they're being given. So there, there is every reason why someone would want to run Linux on a Mac Mini. Of course, I could also mention that a recent Linux kernel is more advanced that the OS X kernel. We could go on... Anyway, why would you want to see a "main factor" or even a philosophy behind a simple purchase. There is not necessarily. But as I said, find me one single device that is as small and as powerful as the Mac Mini. I bet you you can't.
  • by solios (53048) on Sunday February 13, 2005 @09:27PM (#11663814) Homepage
    Heck, if you want to measure the filesystems an OS can deal with by the formatting utilities it includes, Apple's taken a GIANT step backwards with OS X. Can't use Disk Utility to format for A/UX, linux, ProDOS, etc. :-|

    Apparently you either haven't heard the horror stories about UFS, or you're one of The Few The Proud The Etc. who've had good experience with it.

    Apt is handy. And a hell of a lot easier to use than software update, ime- with debian, any gui app you have is updated through apt. No going to Adobe's site to download updates, going to Macromedia's site to download updates, no downloading Quicksilver and copying it to the Appllications folder every single week, etc. It makes the environment quite a bit more transparent.

    Especially when it comes to hardware. Debian makes beige macs and blue g3s (machines that SUCK for OS X) useable, and more importantly- the system isn't strapped to the PPC.... which enables us (my workplace) to spend a heck of a lot less on server hardware. And if you're running it on PPC, you're not stuck with PCI cards and hardware with OS X drivers available- you can run anything that has a linux driver- a good example would be Debian Stable shipping with drivers for common Realtek ethernet chipsets- something that's a driver install on either OS 9 OR OS X. A driver you have to _download_.

    Server-wise, I'm a lot more comfortable with linux than I am with OS X. I can get around it, but I just _don't_ like using it headless. The GUI's the entire point of the OS, and if I'm not going to be using it, I'll run something that takes advantage of the features I DO want. The box in the closet could be a pentium three, a Sparc, an SGI or a PPC, but if it's got debian installed, it doesn't matter. (compare SGI, solaris, and Apple command line environments... bleh.)
  • by tres (151637) on Sunday February 13, 2005 @09:27PM (#11663816) Homepage

    Well that's funny. I feel exactly the opposite about the whole thing. When I want to get work done, I fire up the Mac. Things just work right. It stays out of my way while I complete my work.

    When I want to experiment, play and tinker endlessly with the system (it seems most often to get it working the way it already should, or find another project that works better) I fire up the Linux box. When I want to spend time learning how to get something working or the elements of a project I fire up the Linux box.

    Not saying that one is better than the other, it's just interesting that you find you're more productive on a Linux box.

  • by toddestan (632714) on Monday February 14, 2005 @01:12AM (#11665115)
    The old fanless G3/450 iMac is the loudest machine in the house because it has one of those Maxtor drives that goes "weerrrerrrowwwwwwEEEERERROOWrrrrreeeoor".

    Just curious, but why don't you replace it? 40GB drives run about $50-60 or so now, and most of the ones on currently the market only have 1 platter and run pretty cool and quiet.
  • Re:Why ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fr0dicus (641320) on Monday February 14, 2005 @05:27AM (#11665923) Journal
    I'll tell you why you should consider it. Mac OS X comes with a lot more than just "eye-candy" (although I might point out that it's not very good form to criticise a feature of a different system simply because your favourite doesn't do it too well), it's the greatest thing since sliced bread for some people simply because it comes with bloody great software.

    While it's fun if you've got hours to kill to muck about with Linux, installing bits of software here and there, OS X is simply ready to use. Plug in your printer, camera, scanner, it'll just work, and there's good quality software to use with them. Linux has nothing to compare to the quality of even software in the iLife suite, let alone the Pro applications that Apple offers. OS X is the consummate "home" operating system.

    I like Linux, it's a fantastic server OS, but in my opinion, the desktop software is lacking massively because it has no integration. Best of breed picture editing might be made by (for instance) a GNOME favouring author, which won't play nicely with best of breed word processor which is written without using that toolkit. Actual features which simply don't exist - not to mention the more esoteric things like look-and-feel differences from having different toolkits on the same desktop. It's not particularly pleasant even on the Mac when some apps are more Carbon than Cocoa based, so mixing Qt, GTK+ and other styles (Firefox, OOo, etc.), which are even more fundamentally different is just bad. I'm not belittling choice, just pointing out for me that the Open Source desktop has some fundamental flaws in my opinion, things which stop the job getting done.

    Of course these are all just my opinions, but it's nice to not sit waiting for functionality to arrive, and just get on with it.

  • Re:No offense (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fr0dicus (641320) on Monday February 14, 2005 @06:11AM (#11666044) Journal
    But it would take very very large changes to even approach some of the functionality (especially the integration) offered by Apple's software with OS X. The "could" argument is pretty weak when it generally "doesn't". Most people aren't coders either.

    I used Linux mainly before I switched to Mac, and it just seems to me that since I switched (early 10.2 time) OS X has been accelerating away from Linux in the functionality areas that I require.

"Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed." -- Robin, The Boy Wonder