How to install Linux and breathe new life into an older Mac

Install Linux on a Mac with Etcher

How do I install and arrange Linux on a Mac?

Linux is an attention-grabbing and moderately much less well known running machine – even supposing Macworld’s tech-savvy readers are most likely to know no less than slightly about it. In the twin international of Windows vs Apple, Linux sits off to one aspect, powering critical servers and being utilized by tool builders.

There are a whole lot of nice causes to be taken with Linux. Like Mac macOS it has a heritage with Unix (or no less than a Unix clone referred to as GNU). Some Linux desktops, like Ubuntu Unity, are identical in nature to the Aqua person interface (the only utilized in macOS).

Linux could also be extremely flexible, designed to run on the whole lot from cell phones up to supercomputers. This makes it ideally suited for putting in on older computer systems, such because the previous Polycarbonate MacBooks. These would possibly not even run the most recent model of Mac OS X, let on my own macOS. But they’re going to run an up-to-date model of Ubuntu Linux with out breaking a sweat.

Linux is beloved by way of builders, and for just right reason why. If you might be into coding it may be nice to transfer into Linux. It seems that macOS is (in some ways) higher than Windows for tool construction, however Linux is much more at ease to paintings in.

Its open-source nature guarantees that code is freely shared, and systems and answers are frequently simply an “apt” away (do not be concerned, you can be told what apt is later).

Apple Macs make nice Linux machines. You can install it on any Mac with an Intel processor and if you happen to stick to one of the crucial larger variations, you can have little hassle with the set up procedure.

Get this: you’ll be able to even install Ubuntu Linux on a PowerPC Mac (the previous sort the usage of G5 processors). And we are not speaking about an previous model of Linux. We’re speaking about Ubuntu 16.04 (and even the most recent Beta of 16.10). Both are to be had as PowerPC symbol information thank you to some lovely energetic neighborhood enhance and call for to use previous G5 Macs as servers.

See additionally:

Parallels, VMware, VirtualBox and Boot Camp when put next

Parallels Desktop for Mac evaluate

How to install Linux on a Mac: Which model of Linux to select

How to install Linux on a Mac: Ubuntu

The very first thing you wish to have to know is that there are other variations of Linux round. These are referred to as “distributions” and each and every gives a distinct enjoy. Which one you select will depend on what sort of enjoy you need. Here are some to choose between:

  • Ubuntu. This is the most well liked selection for inexperienced persons, and it makes use of a desktop interface referred to as Unity, which may be very identical to macOS. It’s almost definitely the most productive position to get started.
  • Linux Mint. This has made waves not too long ago, and is a brilliant choice to Ubuntu. You can select a variety of desktops (Cinnamon or MATE are the most well liked). While Unity appears like OS X, Mint feels slightly extra like Windows.
  • Kubuntu. This blends the Ubuntu model of Linux with a distinct desktop referred to as KDE Plasma. The desktop is in most cases regarded as to be extra robust, and without a doubt has much more options.
  • Debian. It’s a bit of extra advanced to setup than Ubuntu or Mint. But Debian gives a large number of options and is used broadly in server tool.
  • Fedora. This has a tendency to be on the chopping fringe of generation and you can frequently to find options right here that make there means into different distributions (and even macOS) down the road. Crashes so much although and is not nice for inexperienced persons.

We’d recommend you get started with Ubuntu, however it is lovely simple to install all other variations of Linux and there is not anything preventing you from checking out all 3 (and extra) prior to settling at the one you need.

How to install Linux on a Mac: Use virtualisation tool

How to install Linux on a Mac: Parallels desktop

By some distance the easiest way to install Linux on a Mac is to use virtualisation tool, akin to VirtualBox or Parallels Desktop. Because Linux is in a position to operating on previous {hardware}, it is typically completely tremendous operating inside of OS X in a digital surroundings.

VirtualBox is a unfastened surroundings, even supposing Parallels Desktop is extra robust and an more straightforward set up, so we might advise the usage of Parallels Desktop for Mac first. A unfastened 14-day trial is to be had from Follow those steps to install Linux on a Mac the usage of Parallels Desktop.

  1. Download a Linux distribution record and reserve it to your Downloads folder. The record may have an “.iso” extension. Click right here if you need to obtain Ubuntu.
  2. Open Parallels Desktop and select File > New.
  3. Choose Install Windows or any other OS from a DVD or symbol record. Click Continue.
  4. Parallels robotically reveals all of the suitable ISO information to your machine. Highlight Ubuntu Linux (or the only you need to install) and click on Continue.
  5. Fill out the Full Name, User Name, Password and Verify Password fields. Click Continue.
  6. The virtualisation record will probably be stored for your Users folder by way of default. Click Location if you need to alternate it, in a different way simply click on Continue.

Parallels will install Linux throughout the digital surroundings. Click it within the Parallels Desktop Control Center to get started the usage of it.

How to install Linux on a Mac: Replacing OS X/macOS with Linux

Running Linux inside of a digital surroundings is all smartly and just right, however if you are a extra seasoned Linux person it’s your decision to substitute OS X totally and run simply Linux. If so, you can release extra of the pc’s assets and get an ideal Linux device.

Installing Linux on a Mac is not fairly as simple as putting in it on an older Windows device, and you wish to have to make a couple of tweaks within the set up procedure. You’ll desire a USB Thumb stick (with no less than 8GB of spare house). You may even lose your macOS/OS X set up (we do not counsel making an attempt to dual-boot OS X and Linux, as a result of they use other filesystems and there are lots of reported issues).

Be warned that you can additionally lose your OS X Recovery Partition, so returning to OS X or macOS generally is a extra long-winded procedure, however we have now directions right here on how to deal with this: How to repair a Mac with no restoration partition

Here’s how to move about putting in Linux on a Mac:

  1. Download your Linux distribution to the Mac. We counsel Ubuntu 16.04.four LTS if that is your first Linux install. Save the record to your Downloads folder.
  2. Download and install an app referred to as Etcher from This will probably be used to replica the Linux install .ISO record to your USB force.
  3. Open Etcher and click on the Settings icon within the top-right. Place a tick in Unsafe Mode and click on Yes, Continue. Then Click Back.
  4. Click Select Image. Choose ubuntu-16.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso (or the picture you downloaded in Step 1).
  5. Insert your USB Thumb Drive. A reminder that the USA Flash force will probably be erased all through this set up procedure. Make certain you have got not anything you need on it.
  6. Click Change below Select Drive. Look moderately and select the force that fits your USB Thumb Drive in measurement. It must be  /dev/disk1 if you happen to simplest have a unmarried onerous force for your Mac. Or /dev/disk2, /dev/disk3 and so on (in case you have extra drives hooked up). Do no longer select /dev/disk0. That’s your onerous force. Pick /dev/disk0 and you can wipe your macOS onerous force You’ve been warned!
  7. Click Flash! Wait for the iso record to be copied to the USB Flash Drive.
  8. Remove the USB Flash Drive out of your Mac.
  9. Shut down the Mac you need to install Linux on and connect the USB stick.
  10. Power up the Mac whilst preserving down the Option key.
  11. Choose the EFI Boot possibility from the startup display screen and press Return.
  12. You will see a black and white display screen with choices to Try Ubuntu and Install Ubuntu. Don’t select both but, press “e” to edit the boot access.
  13. Edit the road that starts with Linux and position the phrase “nomodeset” after “quiet splash”. The entire line must learn: “linux /casper/vmlinuz.efi            record=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper quiet splash nomodeset –. (See screenshot, beneath.)
  14. Press F10.
  15. Ubuntu boots into trial mode.
  16. Double-click the icon marked “Install Ubuntu”.
  17. Select English and select Continue.
  18. Select “Install this third-party tool” possibility and click on Continue.
  19. Click Yes to the /dev/sdb alert.
  20. Select “Erase disk and install Ubuntu” and click on Continue.
  21. Ensure that Select Drive is exhibiting the primary onerous force. Click Install Now. Click Continue within the alert window.
  22. Select your location at the map and click on Continue.
  23. Choosing your keyboard format and click on Continue.
  24. Enter the identify and password you need to use.
  25. Click Continue and Linux will start putting in.
  26. When the set up has completed, you’ll be able to log in the usage of the identify and password you selected all through set up.

Install Linux on a Mac using nomodeset

Above: Step 12

When you install Linux to your Mac, it eliminates the entire OS X set up together with the restoration partition. If you need to reinstall OS X, you can have to create an OS X restoration disk the usage of the thumb stick.

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