Can I install Linux on my iMac?

2012Tony2012

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Original poster
Dec 2, 2012
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Two questions please:

1. Can I install Linux on my iMac 2007?

2. Which Linux distro is the best at the moment?

Reason? Because my Mac is running on 4GB RAM but slow as a snail with Maverick :( Want to try Linux to see if it's faster.

Thank you :)
 

scaredpoet

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Apr 6, 2007
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Two questions please:

1. Can I install Linux on my iMac 2007?
Yes you can.

2. Which Linux distro is the best at the moment?
I would suggest Ubuntu. It's a great linux distro especially for someone trying Linux for the first time. It's also pretty much the most Mac-like. Also, you can download a LiveCD or make a bootable USB drive, and boot off that to try it before you install it for good on your Mac.

Whenever I'm running non-Mac hardware, I pretty much install Ubuntu on it whenever possible. It's also what I use on my web servers at work.


Reason? Because my Mac is running on 4GB RAM but slow as a snail with Maverick :( Want to try Linux to see if it's faster.
It probably will be. Though, if you're running anything like Adobe CS, or MS Office, you can say goodbye to using those. While there are alternatives (GiMP, Audactiy, LibreOffice), they're not really the same.
 

shaunp

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Nov 5, 2010
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It might be easier to add more RAM. I think the 2007 iMac can be upgraded to 6GB. The extra 2GB might give you the breathing space you are after. The other bottleneck of course will be the HDD. Adding and SSD would prolong the life of your iMac and they don't cost too much these days.
 

yjchua95

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Apr 23, 2011
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Two questions please:

1. Can I install Linux on my iMac 2007?

2. Which Linux distro is the best at the moment?

Reason? Because my Mac is running on 4GB RAM but slow as a snail with Maverick :( Want to try Linux to see if it's faster.

Thank you :)
1. Yes you can.

2. I highly recommend Elementary Luna. It looks and acts like OS X, and is built on Ubuntu (12.04 LTS if I'm not mistaken), and so all Ubuntu apps will work on it as well.

Elementary is built on LTS builds of Ubuntu.
 

2012Tony2012

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Original poster
Dec 2, 2012
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It doesn't work. No matter what, if I burn Mint or Ubuntu ISO onto any DVD, tried 3 different ones, Mac keeps saying the disc is unreadable.

What can I do?
 

2012Tony2012

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Original poster
Dec 2, 2012
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Sis you use Disk Utility, as per the site's instructions?
What does Sis mean?

Disk Utility doesn't work at all at either, after it says burn was successful, the Mac keeps saying the disc is unreadable :(

Any fix?

(I tried burning other files and iso and it works and reads, so it must be something to do with the linux iso's.)
 
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Chippy99

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Apr 28, 2012
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What does Sis mean?

Disk Utility doesn't work at all at either, after it says burn was successful, the Mac keeps saying the disc is unreadable :(

Any fix?

(I tried burning other files and iso and it works and reads, so it must be something to do with the linux iso's.)
You could try installing from a USB stick perhaps?

I don't know if the 2007 iMacs are EFI or BIOS based, but for a while you had a hell of a tough job getting linux to boot a 2011 or 2012 iMac (I know, I tried!) because they are EFI based systems. I have since had more luck (can't remember how exactly, I am afraid) and have successfully booted linux CD's on my 2012 iMac.
 

yjchua95

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Apr 23, 2011
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You could try installing from a USB stick perhaps?

I don't know if the 2007 iMacs are EFI or BIOS based, but for a while you had a hell of a tough job getting linux to boot a 2011 or 2012 iMac (I know, I tried!) because they are EFI based systems. I have since had more luck (can't remember how exactly, I am afraid) and have successfully booted linux CD's on my 2012 iMac.
All Intel Macs are EFI-based.
 

Felasco

Guest
Oct 19, 2012
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I would suggest Ubuntu. It's a great linux distro especially for someone trying Linux for the first time. It's also pretty much the most Mac-like. Also, you can download a LiveCD or make a bootable USB drive, and boot off that to try it before you install it for good on your Mac.
Thanks much for this information and advice. I've been wondering about Linux too, but like the OP know nothing about it.

Your advice to run Ubuntu on an extra drive while testing is very good, nothing to worry about, nothing to lose.

If anyone knows of a site or forum dedicated to a OSX => Linux transition, thanks in advance for posting a link.
 

OLDCODGER

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Jul 27, 2011
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What does Sis mean?

Disk Utility doesn't work at all at either, after it says burn was successful, the Mac keeps saying the disc is unreadable :(

Any fix?

(I tried burning other files and iso and it works and reads, so it must be something to do with the linux iso's.)
Which distro did you download, also 32 or 64 bit?
 

556fmjoe

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Apr 19, 2014
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Mint 16 any good?
It's the best Linux distro for anyone new to Linux. It's one of the best overall in terms of what you get out of the box. Driver support is excellent, software is plentiful, and and it's easy to figure out. Ubuntu used to be the best for this, but the switch to Unity killed it for me. It's way too bloated in my opinion.
 

2012Tony2012

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Original poster
Dec 2, 2012
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Which distro did you download, also 32 or 64 bit?
I been downloading the 64bit ISO, but it says AMD in the file name, but my iMac 2007 uses Intel doesn't it?

Where are the 64bit Intel Linux ISO?

And is that maybe why the DVD was unreadable because the ISO burned the 64bit AMD ISO?
 

556fmjoe

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Apr 19, 2014
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I been downloading the 64bit ISO, but it says AMD in the file name, but my iMac 2007 uses Intel doesn't it?

Where are the 64bit Intel Linux ISO?

And is that maybe why the DVD was unreadable because the ISO burned the 64bit AMD ISO?
AMD64 is the one you want. AMD invented the 64 bit extension of the x86 architecture and called it amd64. It's sometimes also called x64, or x86_64, or x86-64. It works fine on Intel CPUs. The terminology is a bit confusing, but it's what most current 64 bit CPUs from Intel and AMD run
 

2012Tony2012

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Dec 2, 2012
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AMD64 is the one you want. AMD invented the 64 bit extension of the x86 architecture and called it amd64. It's sometimes also called x64, or x86_64, or x86-64. It works fine on Intel CPUs. The terminology is a bit confusing, but it's what most current 64 bit CPUs run.
Well whenever I burn any file or ISO the DVD are readable. But whenever I burn a Linux 64bit ISO, tried Ubuntu and Mint, the Mac burns it successfully and then says disc is UNREADABLE!

What's going on? Anyone knowledgeable to understand this? :(

This is a mystery to me, any help please?
 
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2012Tony2012

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Dec 2, 2012
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UPDATE: I just burned the 32bit Ubuntu and the DVD is READABLE!

Can someone please explain to me, why when I burn any 64bit Linux ISO the Mac complains the DVD is UNREADABLE after burning process completes, however when burning the 32bit ISO, the DVD is READABLE after the burning process.

I tried multiple ISO's, Mint Linux 64bit, Ubuntu 64bit etc, and they all turn out UNREADABLE!

I thought my iMac 2007 can read 64bit burned DVDs, so how come it says it's UNREADABLE?

So does this mean I have to install 32bit Ubuntu or 32 Mint Linux, and that I cannot install the 64 bit version? :(
 
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OLDCODGER

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UPDATE: I just burned the 32bit Ubuntu and the DVD is READABLE!

Can someone please explain to me, why when I burn any 64bit Linux ISO the Mac complains the DVD is UNREADABLE after burning process completes, however when burning the 32bit ISO, the DVD is READABLE after the burning process.

I tried multiple ISO's, Mint Linux 64bit, Ubuntu 64bit etc, and they all turn out UNREADABLE!

I thought my iMac 2007 can read 64bit burned DVDs, so how come it says it's UNREADABLE?

So does this mean I have to install 32bit Ubuntu or 32 Mint Linux, and that I cannot install the 64 bit version? :(
This was the reason why I asked which distro you downloaded. I cannot remember the details, but have read that 32 bit is the more sure way to go on a Mac. As to why, I haven't a clue - however, my external burner handles 64 bit with no problem.

It seems that perhaps the best way for you is a bootable USB stick.
 
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2012Tony2012

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Dec 2, 2012
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This was the reason why I asked which distro you downloaded. I cannot remember the details, but have read that 32 bit is the more sure way to go on a Mac. As to why, I haven't a clue - however, my external burner handles 64 bit with no problem.

It seems that perhaps the best way for you is a bootable USB stick.
Tried for over 1 hour to get the bootable USB stick to work, that doesn't work either. It keeps giving a error when booting, something about flag failed. Doing the USB boot is too hard on Mac:(

I will install Linux Mint 32 bit, that won't matter too much will it?

By the way I realised afterwards why you were asking, it seemed you knew about the 64bit version becoming UNREADABLE for some reason. Good pick up:)
 

2012Tony2012

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Dec 2, 2012
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Can the 32 bit Linux use all my 4GB RAM on my iMac? or only 2GB Max?

Do I need to install the 64 bit Linux to use all 4GB RAM?
 

556fmjoe

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Apr 19, 2014
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UPDATE: I just burned the 32bit Ubuntu and the DVD is READABLE!

Can someone please explain to me, why when I burn any 64bit Linux ISO the Mac complains the DVD is UNREADABLE after burning process completes, however when burning the 32bit ISO, the DVD is READABLE after the burning process.

I tried multiple ISO's, Mint Linux 64bit, Ubuntu 64bit etc, and they all turn out UNREADABLE!

I thought my iMac 2007 can read 64bit burned DVDs, so how come it says it's UNREADABLE?

So does this mean I have to install 32bit Ubuntu or 32 Mint Linux, and that I cannot install the 64 bit version? :(
Just to clarify, when you say it's unreadable, do you mean OS X cannot read it or that you cannot boot from it (or both)? If it is the former case, then you may very well be able to install 64 bit Linux even if your Mac OS can't figure out what to do with it. If the latter, then I don't know what to tell you. You might try burning it on a different computer and see if it works then.


As to RAM, you should be able to use about 3.3 GB of RAM with 32 bit Ubuntu. I believe Ubuntu's kernel can be compiled with PAE enabled that would let you use up to 64 GB of RAM, but that's probably unnecessary and more work that it's worth.
 

2012Tony2012

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Dec 2, 2012
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Just to clarify, when you say it's unreadable, do you mean OS X cannot read it or that you cannot boot from it (or both)? If it is the former case, then you may very well be able to install 64 bit Linux even if your Mac OS can't figure out what to do with it. If the latter, then I don't know what to tell you. You might try burning it on a different computer and see if it works then.


As to RAM, you should be able to use about 3.3 GB of RAM with 32 bit Ubuntu. I believe Ubuntu's kernel can be compiled with PAE enabled that would let you use up to 64 GB of RAM, but that's probably unnecessary and more work that it's worth.
What happens is the ISO is burned to DVD and I get a message that it is successful and then it ejects DVD. When I insert DVD again it says UNREADABLE and cannot READ or BOOT!

Looks like I have to try installing 32bit Ubuntu. But someone was saying on internet Ubuntu uses hybrid ISO now which MACs have trouble with :(
 

556fmjoe

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Apr 19, 2014
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What happens is the ISO is burned to DVD and I get a message that it is successful and then it ejects DVD. When I insert DVD again it says UNREADABLE and cannot READ or BOOT!

Looks like I have to try installing 32bit Ubuntu. But someone was saying on internet Ubuntu uses hybrid ISO now which MACs have trouble with :(
If both Ubuntu and Mint didn't work, then you could try Fedora. Mint and Ubuntu are both Debian based, so if Debian uses hybrid ISOs and they are the culprit, Fedora would not be affected as if is Red Hat based. It's a fully functional desktop OS with good security features and a strong development base. I used it for years as my main OS and liked it a lot.

32 bit Ubuntu may be fine though; it just depends on how much speed you're after. If you could get 64 bit Fedora working, it would likely be faster.
 

556fmjoe

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Apr 19, 2014
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I will try Fedora then :)

Downloading the 64bit Fedora now:)
Sounds good. I did some looking around and it appears that both Mint and Ubuntu use hybrid ISOs, but I don't think Fedora does. This should rule out the ISO as the problem if it still fails.