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  1. #1
    Best Linux on Mac?  Best Way to Install?

    Member Since
    Aug 22, 2006
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    Best Linux on Mac? Best Way to Install?
    I am interested in Linux and likely will use Mac OS X far more but want to have the capability of using it so that I can learn the OS as well as run any software for Linux that I'm interested in.
    I thought of switching a older Windows machine over to Linux but my interest is now to put it on a MacBook Pro. Hard Drive space is precious since I'm already planning to use Parallels to run Windows XP on it. My questions:
    Can I run Linux on a Mac with it on a external drive so that I can simply buy a firewire drive and make that the Linux Drive?
    Can I run Linux with Boot Camp or is it better to use Parallels?
    What flavor of Linux is best? I have heard a lot about SUSE but also some about Red Hat.
    Is it possible to boot straight into Linux on a Mac?
    Are there specific versions of Linux catered to the Mac?

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. #2
    Best Linux on Mac?  Best Way to Install?
    novicew's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 04, 2006
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    Specs:
    MacBook Pro | iMac(2.1 G5) | MacBook(2.16 C2D) | MacMini (1.67 CD) | iPhone 4 | iPad (3rd Gen)
    You need only around 5GB of space for installing Linux(it can even be less). I have installed Ubuntu Linux 6.06 using Parallels and it works fine for me.

    You can also install Linux using Boot Camp. However this requires you to partition your HD and allocate dedicated space for the Linux file system. If its installed through Paralles, you can always remove the image drive without repartitioning/resizing the HD. Also you can run Linux without reboot.

    At present Parallels doesn't support all versions/distributions of Linux. Go to their website and see the Distros. they support. However I am sure Ubuntu 6.06 is one of the supported distro and it works fine for me.

  3. #3
    Best Linux on Mac?  Best Way to Install?
    mac57's Avatar
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    Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper Drake) would be an excellent choice. It is a very well thought out distribution, quite fast, and VERY complete. Because it is based on Debian, there are over 18,000 open source software packages available for it. You can get pretty much ANYTHING for Dapper Drake, and what you can't get precompiled you can compile yourself. I have used SuSE, Fedora, Mandrake, Arch, CCux, Ubuntu and a few others. I can honestly say that you will like Ubuntu. It is stable, fast and well supported. Now mind you, that default orange color schema is a killer, but you can change the theme to something like Industrial Tango and get a nice soothing blue theme. The default Gnome desktop has a Preferences menu that allows you to change the theme in use very simply.

    Try it out, you will like it... but, after you use Ubuntu, which is pretty much (IMHO) the best the open source world has to offer, you will realize just how far ahead Mac OS X is compared to the rest!
    My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
    My iStuff: 64GB iPhone 5, 64GB iPad4, 30GB iPod Video, 16GB iPod Touch
    My OS': Mac OS X Lion, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Mac OS X Tiger, Mac OS 9.2.2, openSUSE 10.3
    I was on the Mac-Forums honor roll for September 2007

  4. #4
    Best Linux on Mac?  Best Way to Install?
    mac57's Avatar
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    By the way, you may not be aware that you can run almost all of the open source software directly under OS X! OS X is built on a foundation of Open BSD I think. Anyway, there is an excellent package called DarwinPorts that is a very complete open source "distro" that runs nicely on your Mac. To use it, you install Apple's X11 (available on your Tiger install disks) and then download and install DarwinPorts. This is a Terminal based package. You then use it to build any of the open source apps you like, very simply.

    Say for example you want to play with the gnumeric spreadsheet. After DarwinPorts is installed, you issue the following magic at a Terminal session command prompt:

    sudo port install gnumeric

    This downloads the source code for gnumeric, compiles it, builds it and installs it. After that, as long as Apple X11 is running, you can fire it up just like any other app. You can do this for as many open source apps as you like. I have about 20 of my favorites from the linux world loaded on my Mac.
    My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
    My iStuff: 64GB iPhone 5, 64GB iPad4, 30GB iPod Video, 16GB iPod Touch
    My OS': Mac OS X Lion, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Mac OS X Tiger, Mac OS 9.2.2, openSUSE 10.3
    I was on the Mac-Forums honor roll for September 2007

  5. #5
    Best Linux on Mac?  Best Way to Install?
    XJ-linux's Avatar
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    Virtual Box is always my first recommendation. It's free and gets more robust all the time. If it works (and usually does for most things) then you are good to go. If not, then there are the paid solutions like Parallels and VMWare.

    As far as Linux distros go... all depends upon what you foresee using it for. Ubuntu is an excellent stable choice for general home use. There are tons of variants and much that is tailored specifically for being easy to use and compatible with Ununtu. I recommend openSUSE for anything serious related to business or infrastructure. openSUSE has a nice one click install option for folks who don't want to get too dirty with the OS's underpinnings: software.opensuse.org: Search Results For traditionalists there is Debian as a great choice. If you are a Unix geek like me, I always like to recommend FreeBSD for a good exercise in problem solving.

    I currently have a 2011 MBA running Lion with VirtualBox and Windows7 32-Bit + openSUSE 64-Bit + FreeBSD installed as VM's.
    Never judge a man, untill you have walked a mile in his shoes...
    That way you'll be a mile away from him, and you'll have his shoes.

  6. #6
    Best Linux on Mac?  Best Way to Install?
    vansmith's Avatar
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    Like XJ, I'd also recommend VirtualBox primarily because it's free and works for 98% of users. I'd also recommend openSUSE since it's well polished and solid but Ubuntu would also meet your needs.

    Check to see if packages of that application are available - that'll save you some time and headaches.
    Important Links: Community Guidelines : Use the reputation system if you've been helped.
    M-F Blog :: Write for the blog
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  7. #7
    Best Linux on Mac?  Best Way to Install?
    cwa107's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
    Like XJ, I'd also recommend VirtualBox primarily because it's free and works for 98% of users. I'd also recommend openSUSE since it's well polished and solid but Ubuntu would also meet your needs.

    Check to see if packages of that application are available - that'll save you some time and headaches.
    Its support for USB peripherals is weak. If the Subaru diagnostics program requires some kind of USB-interfaced device, I would definitely steer him toward VMWare Fusion and NOT Parallels, which is pretty weak in terms of *NIX support.
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

  8. #8
    Best Linux on Mac?  Best Way to Install?
    vansmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
    Its support for USB peripherals is weak. If the Subaru diagnostics program requires some kind of USB-interfaced device, I would definitely steer him toward VMWare Fusion and NOT Parallels, which is pretty weak in terms of *NIX support.
    I don't use USB peripherals with my VMs so I'll defer to you here. I do, however, know that you can add support with the extension pack.
    Important Links: Community Guidelines : Use the reputation system if you've been helped.
    M-F Blog :: Write for the blog
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  9. #9
    Best Linux on Mac?  Best Way to Install?
    XJ-linux's Avatar
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    I run a Diablosport Predator tuner for my 2008 Dodge Charger Daytona off of Windows7 in VirtualBox. It connects via USB, or rather it uses a serial to USB adapter cable to hook into the Mac USB port which is snagged by the Win7 VM. I have no idea about Linux and USB support for your application in VirtualBox. I can vouch for a Windows7 VM hooking in to an automotive OBDII bridge device via USB to serial cable and the proper Prolific PL-2303 v1.4 and v1.5 drivers.
    Never judge a man, untill you have walked a mile in his shoes...
    That way you'll be a mile away from him, and you'll have his shoes.

  10. #10
    Best Linux on Mac?  Best Way to Install?
    cwa107's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 20, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by XJ-linux View Post
    I run a Diablosport Predator tuner for my 2008 Dodge Charger Daytona off of Windows7 in VirtualBox. It connects via USB, or rather it uses a serial to USB adapter cable to hook into the Mac USB port which is snagged by the Win7 VM. I have no idea about Linux and USB support for your application in VirtualBox. I can vouch for a Windows7 VM hooking in to an automotive OBDII bridge device via USB to serial cable and the proper Prolific PL-2303 v1.4 and v1.5 drivers.
    That's good to know - it must have improved over time.
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

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