Linux on Mac Mini.

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by dex22, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. dex22 macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2003
    Round Rock, TX
    Hi all,

    I am wondering if it is possible to run Linux natively on the Mac Mini.

    I have a Bluequartz web server that also has a wireless AP connected to it. It's basically the software from the old Cobalt Raq servers.

    I ask because the current server is an AMD machine that draws too much power and heats up the room too much. Also it takes up a LOT of space. If I could get a Mac Mini running this stuff, I believe my current draw would reduce 75%, which would save me approximately $40/month in electricity.

    So, Linux only mac minis - realistic or impractical?
  2. psychofreak Retired


    May 16, 2006
  3. gillilandboy macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2007
    St. Louis MO
    I would like to do this also. I have an Intel Macbook.
  4. dex22 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2003
    Round Rock, TX
    I would buy a bottom end intel mini just for the purpose. A single-core used machine would be fine too.

    To be clear, it would never run OS X, so bootcamp seems unnecessary - I'd prefer a native, Linux-only install if that's possible.
  5. websavages macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2007
    I used to run linux on my ppc mini with considerable success. I didn't need to use wifi though which is probably where you'll come unstuck.

    I'd be happy to share knowledge.

    Cheers ws
  6. odaiwai macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2006
    Hong Kong
    Most Linux distros have PPC versions which will run on G4 minis (I've run Ubuntu and Fedora on mine), and any modern Linux will run on an intel mac with boot camp. You could probably get most modern BSD unices running too. OSX is based off BSD after all.

    However, it may also be possible to recompile your desired software for OSX with the Xcode tools. If your target package has a page, dig around for BSD ports, and you may be able to get it running under OSX.
  7. NewbieNerd macrumors 6502a


    Sep 22, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Check out darwinports. Lots of good, standard linux apps at a "sudo port install foobar" and compile away. ;)

    I've run linux successfully on G4s and Intels. Best of luck.
  8. adamyoshida macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2006
    How much power are you looking for? I mean, if your present computer heats up the room/draws $55ish in power - that's got to be some kind of rig.

    Assuming you can make do with a lot less (I'm guessing so, since you're looking to downgrade to a Mini) - I'd suggest, with all due respect to the Apple people here, that this is the kind of function which screams out either for a repurposed used PC (IE - I've got an old P3 as a media server), or for a cheap Celeron-based system.
  9. dex22 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2003
    Round Rock, TX
    Which is why I've been having this inner-debate. The Mini is a screenless laptop in a small desktop enclosure, and draws very little power. All I'm doing is serving a half-dozen sites, and some port-forwarding I can pass off to my router.

    I'm trying to avoid desktop processors and chipsets. I could reasonably use an embedded PC with a 200MHz Geode processor, and drop the hard drive for a compact flash card. However, my instinct is to get an intel mac mini, replace the HD with a compact flash card.

    Reducing energy costs is a reasonable part of the project, but simplifying my hardware needs and going to an embedded-type server with no moving parts is a big part of my plans too.

    If it helps, I come from a background of using Cobalt Raq servers in the 90s, and I still use the same software (BlueQuartz) today, which runs on CentOS (RHEL)
  10. mavherzog macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2005
    Columbus, WI
    I think you should go with a low-power, passively-cooled embedded system is you can get by with those specs.

    Personally, I have deployed several WRAP boards as firewalls (running m0n0wall) and absolutely love them.
  11. rjb macrumors newbie


    May 2, 2008
    Treasure Coast ~ Florida

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