My 2011 reaching end of life: how to export to Linux Mint?

eclipse

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 18, 2005
970
12
Sydney
Hi all,
As my iMac 2011 is reaching end of life in September, I thought I would get quite a few more years out of the hardware by jumping ship and heading across to Linux Mint. (Sorry, I love apple, but I'm looking at some career changes and need some Linux time as well.) So I'm thinking about how to store files on an external hard drive in a manner that lets me switch over to Linux in September.

Do I need to create a temporary virtual Linux Mint machine now to format an external hard drive in Linux Mint so I can check for file translation and compatibility? I need to move all my stuff somewhere and then reimport it onto the Linux Mint iMac in a few months. Time is running out. What would you advise?
 

casperes1996

macrumors 601
Jan 26, 2014
4,663
2,450
Horsens, Denmark
FAT and exFat is readable and writeable by both Linux and macOS. UDF used to be by macOS but I'm not actually sure if it still is. There are tons of file systems for Linux, most common is Ext4. - You may be able to get a FUSE layer for macOS that lets it read and write Ext4 disks.

That's file system of course, if you have any files that only work on Apple programs; GarageBand projects, pages files (they can sort of by read by other programs, but it's similar to renaming a Word document to .zip and reading that), etc. it may be wise to do exports from those apps;

Honestly I'd actually recommend not wiping macOS but just dual booting. By all means use Linux as your primary OS, but not harm in keeping macOS as well, just in case. I have an external SSD on my desk with Ubuntu Mate and Catalina on it.
 
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eclipse

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 18, 2005
970
12
Sydney
Thanks for that advice! Glad to hear from a computer scientist!

Won't the Mac OS take up some processing power? I'm only on 2011 kit and 8 gigs RAM and am trying to wring a few more years out of this for admin purposes.

Also, what tests should I be running on my stuff? I'm nervous about our family movies, and am copying across the raw .dv files to redo family movies in something FOSS (Olive?) or even Da Vinci Resolve. (I don't have any 4k yet, so no need to worry about Resolve's limits on 4k.)
 

casperes1996

macrumors 601
Jan 26, 2014
4,663
2,450
Horsens, Denmark
Won't the Mac OS take up some processing power? I'm only on 2011 kit and 8 gigs RAM and am trying to wring a few more years out of this for admin purposes.
Not at all. You can have as many operating systems as you want, but if you're not running them they won't eat CPU cycles. Storage space, yes, but macOS and Linux will both quite happily run on both internal and external drives. It's not like running a virtual machine, if you boot Linux your machine will run Linux entirely, no macOS in the background - it exists on the hard drive but not running at all; Not even visible inside Linux without getting a file system driver that can see HFS+, assuming it's not an APFS formatted macOS installation, which I don't think there's any Linux support for at all yet.
Conversely you could then boot back into macOS and Linux wouldn't be running at all but would still be on the disk.

Also, what tests should I be running on my stuff? I'm nervous about our family movies, and am copying across the raw .dv files to redo family movies in something FOSS (Olive?) or even Da Vinci Resolve. (I don't have any 4k yet, so no need to worry about Resolve's limits on 4k.)
Well you can't really run any tests short of trying to open the files on a Linux installation, virtual or otherwise. But most FOSS applications run on macOS as well, and if it works there I'd wager it's likely to work on the Linux version too. - If you go the way of a dual boot, keeping macOS on the hard drive, you'd also always have the safety net of going back to that to reconvert a file or something if things don't work out.

The best video editor that is open source is probably KDEnlive. I would personally recommend using Resolve though - at least if video editing is something you do a lot. While I love open source, frankly none of them are anywhere near as good as Resolve, Final Cut, Premiere, or really any proper NLE. But for just home use, KDEnlive is probably fine, albeit perhaps a tad complicated and prone to crashing.

Out of curiosity, what career change is it that's leading to Linux for you? Or if that's perhaps a bit private or still secret; What tasks do you see yourself doing that may require Linux?
 

eclipse

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 18, 2005
970
12
Sydney
Out of curiosity, what career change is it that's leading to Linux for you? Or if that's perhaps a bit private or still secret; What tasks do you see yourself doing that may require Linux?
Thanks for all your help above - I'll definitely consider keeping the original Mac OS and running Linux Mint. Is this a bootcamp thing or something to do with UEFI? EG: Would it mostly be booting into Mint and only occasionally going into Mac OS if I hit the magic UEFI button and interrupted?

Career stuff is still a bit open ended - I do all the bookkeeping and admin for my wife's graphic design studio, so it would be used immediately in that.

But - it's probably dreaming because I'm in my early 50's, I might one day finish my Comptia A+ and get into a general IT helpdesk role. Then - if I have the energy (maybe once the kids move out of home?) - and general health allowing - I might study some cybersecurity. Or something with coding. Linux is kind of to save money and get another 3 years out of my iMac, kind of a hobby, kind of a 'career move' if I can ever figure out what I want to be when I grow up o_O, and kind of because the first 3 Seasons of Mr Robot were so cool. (He used Linux Mint and fired up Kali for attack runs. I mean, who wouldn't want to grow up to be Mr Robot when there are adds for Kali like this one? :) )

Maybe I'm destined to stay in the mailroom till I retire and I'll just go back to reading William Gibson instead of trying to live it. ;)
 

casperes1996

macrumors 601
Jan 26, 2014
4,663
2,450
Horsens, Denmark
Thanks for all your help above - I'll definitely consider keeping the original Mac OS and running Linux Mint. Is this a bootcamp thing or something to do with UEFI? EG: Would it mostly be booting into Mint and only occasionally going into Mac OS if I hit the magic UEFI button and interrupted?
It's multiple bootable partitions. It's not inherently UEFI dependant, but in the case of your Mac it would be loaded through EFI, yes.
Bootcamp sets up a Legacy BIOS style computability layer in the EFI, with a Master Boot Record hybrid section on the partition map of the disk it installs to; None of that is necessary for Linux - strictly speaking not necessary for Windows either, but I'd argue less so for Linux.
When you boot a Mac, you can hold down the alt key to select which media to boot from. Within macOS you can also set the default boot source inside System Preferences.
So yeah, if you just install Linux to a different partition on the same disk, or even a different disk, you can set it to boot automatically, but if you hold the alt key when turning on the computer you can pick an operating system.
You can also get boot-pickers so that you can boot into a menu for picking an OS by default - GRUB usually does this for different Linux installations on the same computer, and there's also rEFInd which is quite liked by a lot of people, but you don't need any of that to get a dual booting system going. - A lot of Linux installers will actually have an option right in the installer of the operating system labeled something like "Install Linux alongside macOS" or "Install alongside other operating system"

Career stuff is still a bit open ended - I do all the bookkeeping and admin for my wife's graphic design studio, so it would be used immediately in that.
Gotcha. Don't know what you're using now, but spreadsheet wise, LibreOffice is the most universally liked FOSS office suite.

But - it's probably dreaming because I'm in my early 50's, I might one day finish my Comptia A+ and get into a general IT helpdesk role. Then - if I have the energy (maybe once the kids move out of home?) - and general health allowing - I might study some cybersecurity. Or something with coding. Linux is kind of to save money and get another 3 years out of my iMac, kind of a hobby, kind of a 'career move' if I can ever figure out what I want to be when I grow up o_O, and kind of because the first 3 Seasons of Mr Robot were so cool. (He used Linux Mint and fired up Kali for attack runs. I mean, who wouldn't want to grow up to be Mr Robot when there are adds for Kali like this one? :) )
Oh no, I don't believe in "I'm too old for..." mentality. I'm sure you'll be able to do it! If you have the motivation I think you can do anything, really. Mid 50's isn't that bad either. Lots of great people have done lots of great things in their 50's and beyond. So cheers to good health and I'll be rooting for you :)
I'm happy to hear comp sci and cybersec is apparently considered cool, hehe. - If you in any of the learning endeavours - be it code or security topics or whatever - need help with anything, feel free to write me at any time. I never cared particularly for Mr. Robot, but at least it was a more accurate representation then the film Hackers...
As a Mac user, you'll also find that almost anything you learn on either macOS or Linux is applicable to the other system as well; At least when it comes to Terminal commands. Of course there are differences, but macOS and Linux are fairly similar in many ways and if a program exists on Linux you can almost always brew install it on macOS as well
Good luck with it all, and do let me know if you need assistance with anything - happy to help
 
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