Linux on nMP bare metal?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by kschendel, Dec 9, 2014.

  1. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2014
    I haven't found a definitive answer to the question elsewhere, so trying here:

    Can the nMP (Mac Pro 2013) run linux, bare metal, ie not in a virtual machine?

    I have a Mac Pro4,1 (early 2009) that I use mostly for software development, mostly running Linux. I use a Mac Pro because it can run OS/X, of course, but also because it's fast and very nearly dead quiet. It's starting to get a little long in the tooth, though, and I'm starting to think about replacement.

    I suppose I could custom build a so-called silent PC, but by the time you're done, it turns out that you've spent nearly as much as an nMP costs, and you only have a PC.

    So ... has anyone run any Linux variant on the nMP? I don't particularly care which distro it is, I'm mainly interested in knowing whether the necessary driver support is there, and what sort of gotcha's exist.

    (As mentioned above, for a variety of reasons, running linux in a virtual machine is a non-starter for me.)
  2. kschendel thread starter macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2014
    Yes, if you read that page, it's a mish-mash of Mac Pro and Macbook Pro info, and I don't trust it. Many of the Ubuntu community mac-related pages are garbage (I found out the hard way).
  3. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    I don't see any Macbook Pro info on that page. It looks entirely like a guide to running Linux on a Mac Pro.
  4. Fearless Leader macrumors 68020

    Mar 21, 2006
    I've used 14.04, 14.10, and arch linux on the 2013 mac pro. I always gave the whole internal drive to linux and used a fast external for OS X needs. This guide does work, but the partitioning/efi/grub is easy to mess up.

    I remember all of those installs being stable, unity is probably fine but I can only attest to xfce.

    The main reason I don't run it is because of the catalyst drivers. As of October, I couldn't get the proprietary drivers to work. If you want to do OpenCL stuff, you need these drivers because the open source ones can't currently. The default open source drivers are otherwise fine.

    I read on an amd forum that they don't directly support the D3/5/7XX on windows and that you need to get the driver from apple. It seems unlikely that an official linux driver will be produced. I have a D700, so probably the same issues with the D500. D300 might work better.

    AMD just updated their drivers, so I might try it again after finals.
  5. ScottishCaptain macrumors 6502a

    Oct 4, 2008
    Linux is such a cluster**** right now that you'd best just try it yourself and see. The worst that will happen is that the SMC might get gummed up a bit, but resetting that is just a matter of pulling the power plug and waiting a minute or two.

    Seriously, I'm not trying to be curt or anything. I was trying to find out the exact same thing a while ago for a MacPro5,1. It was like pulling teeth- in the end I landed up downloading and trying almost all the major distibutions. A lot of them had problems with sound, some had issues with the wireless, and almost none of them worked with the Bluetooth (probably because the Apple adapter shows up as a USB keyboard and mouse during boot for compatibility control, you need a "kicker" driver that kicks the adapter out of this mode before it'll act as a BT adapter).

    I landed up with Gentoo because it was the only distribution I could still debug easily (thanks systemd). I still had to fiddle around with the kernel config to get the machine happy, but once I did it seemed to be fairly rock solid. Normally I wouldn't advocate a distort where everything needs to be compiled in the local machine, but it's not too bad with a couple of decent CPUs.

  6. lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    Just about all distros now use systemd much to the chagrin of many users. Systemd caused a geek war that been fed by the tech press it's sad and funny at the same time.


    I wouldn't use Linux on a new Mac Pro for anything. AMD drivers are just not good, and the new diver they're writing right now won't support and older cards. Just build a hackintoshable PC if your primary system is going to be Linux.

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