No more linux on new mac mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by cualexander, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. cualexander macrumors 6502a

    Apr 3, 2006
    Charlotte, NC
    Yes, I like dual booting my mac OS X and Linux. I'm a computer geek. I like screwing around with Linux distros. I want to get the new Mac Mini but being as Macs can't boot linux off of a USB drive and the new mini doesn't contain an optical drive, that pretty much kills linux on a mac mini. Kind of a bummer if you ask me.
  2. Dewaine macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2011
    Get a cheap Windows 7 netbook, and be happy...... Linux is pointless to me, but if thats what you want, get the correct hardware and enjoy.....
  3. Darth.Titan macrumors 68030


    Oct 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    If you're just "screwing around with Linux distros," download VirtualBox and create as many Linux VMs as your hard drive can hold. Much simpler than dual booting.

    Another option is a <$40 external optical drive. The new mini doesn't exactly herald the end of Linux on Mac.

    As an aside, I've not heard anything about the new minis not being able to boot a Linux thumb drive. Do you have any links to more info on this?
  4. HunterMaximus macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2008
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    I think USB Linux booting can be achieved, but it requires a fair bit of mucking around with additional bootloaders and EFI screwiness. By far the easiest way however is to get any one of the numerous cheap external DVD drives and use it to boot whatever you want.
  5. cualexander thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 3, 2006
    Charlotte, NC
    Yeah, I guess I could get an external DVD drive. Still sucks though. I like dual booting instead of VM. I've never been able to get a USB thumb drive to boot linux and from what I've read it's not possible.

    Still disagree with taking away optical drive and leaving a blank space though.
  6. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I use VMs all the time for development. Keeps things neat and tidy. VirtualBox is free and works great with the Linux distros I've used it with (Fedora, Ubuntu, Mint, all latest releases). You can install from the ISOs so don't need an optical drive or external drive.
  7. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    I run Ubuntu using Vmware Fusion - no issues at all.
  8. 3800cruiser macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2011
    It's still possible! I've already done this along with Windows 7 & Ubuntu. I'm a Computer Science student so I'm switching OS's all the time to work and develop in different environments.

    You CAN boot from USB with rEFIt This allows you to choose which disc to boot from at every startup, kinda like LILO, etc..

    Then get unetbootin to make a bootable USB device. Seriously, goto the store and get a 4GB flash drive for about $10.

    All you have to do is download the .iso file of your favorite distro, install it to USB through unetbooting. Then with rEFIt installed you can boot from it
  9. ChristianVirtual macrumors 601


    May 10, 2010
    +1 for virtual setup ...

    I have an Ubuntu server on VMWare, also now a Lion 10.7.2 and Windows 8 DevPreview. And an unused Vista.

    I like this virtual stuff ... Works well ...and easy to move around.
  10. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Personally I'd rather have 2 hard disks instead of an optical drive I'd rarely use. I bought an external optical drive, and keep it in a drawer. When I actually need to read optical media, I just pull it out and plug it in.

  11. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    The last time I checked, I can boot Linux on an intel Mac fine.
  12. vert18 macrumors member

    Oct 4, 2010
    I tried for days to get (debian) linux onto my new mini(2011) 5,2. Tho only tried a partition area on my second hd. Had rEFIt going n all...

    So installed it virtual box, pretty happy with it.
    Still having problems with switching out of X back to a console screen tho.
    Or if I kill X, a console is not reachable and requires a shutdown signal to be sent but that seems to be the only problem.
  13. basher macrumors 6502


    May 27, 2011
    Glendale, AZ USA
    I use Parallels and Ubuntu. They work very well together.
  14. takezo808 macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2011
    Virtual Box.

    Linux runs very well on this FREE virtual machine suite. It can use iso files thus degating the need for an optical drive. You could have opensuse, Fedora Core, Ubuntu, Gentoo, Debian, Mandrake, or whatever distro suits your fancy. You can have them all if you like. Vitual box supports 3D and 2d accelleration, not that Linux can make use of it any ways.

    Mac 0SX is a *inux machine running of a highly customized BSD kernel. You could run similar bash commands, runs scripts and prety much anything linux can do, Mac OSX can do. To me Macs already have the ultimate *inux installed on it.
  15. Lokheed macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2009
    You know, I found this out yesterday. I tried to boot Ubuntu from USB and DVD (external drive). No go. So don't bother buying an external drive. Which really frustrates me because it's not that I want to run it, but I need it to update my SSDs firmware (OCZ). And I'm not about to pull the drive out to put it in another computer to do it... shazbot!
  16. TEG macrumors 604


    Jan 21, 2002
    Langley, Washington
    You have been able to boot off of USB since the Intel Chips. Even if you couldn't you could still use Firewire. You can also boot off of SD Card (as it is just a USB device). You just have to make sure the distro is supported by the chipset, and you have the drive formatted properly, using the GUID partition table, because MBR (Master Boot Record) isn't supported by EFI.

  17. Lokheed macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2009
    Dude, please look into this before you type. You cannot boot from ANYTHING on the new Airs or the minis. Go see the discussion here (comments):

    And next time, do a little research before chiming in. I own a new mini and it's a no go on ANYTHING. :rolleyes:
  18. TomR103 macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2008
    Cannot boot Ubuntu 11.10 on my Mac Mini

    Pulling my hair out guys, my mac mini (2010) will never complete a live CD boot leaving me with a flashing cursor on a blank screen. I have 8 gigs of memory and I'm running OS X Lion. I've tried different distros but still can't complete booting. I've tried Ubuntu 11.04 and it boots further along than 11.10 (this is using the CD). I've tried creating a USB flash drive, loading the EFI booter and other methods and I never can boot from the flash drive. I never get the boot icon after holding down the "Alt Option" key while booting. I normally use a Bluetooth keyboard but I've tried using an older USB keyboard. I've been successful loading the PC versions on an older Dell PC and also loaded the live cd installed on a flash drive. This Mac Mini just doesn't like booting Ubuntu. I also tried the Ubuntu 64 +Mac version and still no joy.
    Any suggestions? (other than giving up!)


  19. keekl macrumors regular


    Nov 9, 2008
    Agreed~my optical drive died a couple years ago, just use an external and it is rare when I use that~I'd rather have two HDs also:cool:
  20. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    You could buy a MBA SuperDrive as well...and it is still cheaper then last year's model.
  21. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    Indeed, I agree with this poster. I am happily running Windows on an internal hard disk partitioned with MBR. Even had for a while Lion running on it under MBR too.
  22. jimreynold2nd, Nov 20, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011

    jimreynold2nd macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2011
    I installed Archlinux on my Mac Mini 5,1 (June 2011 model). I also tried to boot my custom GrUB usb, it just works. Here's how:
    - Install rEFIt AND enable it. (from within OSX). This allows more boot options on EFI. <-- rEFIt is the key to booting liveUSBs as well as GrUB2 you will install later
    - Turn off the Mac. Plug in your Linux USB. Start. You should see rEFIt menu with the USB option in it. Install the distro.
    - Mount the EFI partition (the ~200MB FAT32 partition at the beginning of your GPT drive). Install GrUB2 into that partition. You should have EFI/APPLE and EFI/grub in that partition by now.
    - Create EFI/grub/grub.cfg and modify it according to your grub2 booting need. This way you can use that instance of GrUB2 to boot virtually anything you need, incluing future Linux installations without having to reinstall the bootloader, or Windows. I have yet to try booting OSX from GrUB2 tho.

    Oh and by the way, I chose Arch because it has the newest kernel. Wifi support for the BCM4331 on the Mini 5,1 will be fixed in Linux 3.2. You can compile the 3.2-rc2 kernel yourself to try it out.
  23. ACiB macrumors member

    Dec 15, 2010
    Not impossible... If you want the cheap (actually, free) way you can make an additional 2 partition set to your HDD/. One will be the size of your linux distro and one will be the one that will actually hold the linux distro OS installed. Use disk utility to restore the .iso or whatever to the partition, then boot from partition and install n the other partition. Done.

    Another way, which is the one I use, is to get a FW800 drive, install all your crap on it. Boot from FW HDD. Done.
  24. GekkePrutser macrumors 6502a


    Aug 18, 2005
    Yep I have this too, just turn off the ACPI and it will boot fine.

    (From memory the procedure is like this: with Ubuntu, press F6 to bring up the boot options menu, select noacpi with the space bar, and press enter twice)

    The only side-effect is that it won't be able to power itself off after shutting down, so you have to use the power button.
  25. paul.opensource macrumors member

    Mar 8, 2009
    San Antonio, Texas
    I understand the context in which you wrote this, but having been a Linux user on both the desktop and at work for nearly 13 years, Linux is most certainly not pointless. I would agree it can be aggravating on the desktop, which is precisely why I switched to a Mac, but in the server world, Linux rules the roost.

Share This Page