ntang (ntang) wrote,

The Linux on Mac Mini odyssey, day 1

So I unpacked the box - very sleek, but the top is ugly. Still, this thing is small as #$#$% and cool for that reason alone.

Booted up into OS X and played around with it for a while. Installed Firefox and uninstalled the trial copy of MS Office and customized the OS a bit, played with Front Row, etc. etc. etc. It's cute, for around 5 minutes, and then it just started annoying me. I will say, though, that even though I felt like I was being shackled and wrapped in chains, it was a very polished OS. I can definitely see why some people would prefer it to Windows (or Linux of course), and if I was using it as a desktop (or media center) OS only, I might as well. But I'm not, and so I don't.

Then I tried installing various virtualization options. One open source one, based off of QEmu, wouldn't even recognize the Gentoo CD and I didn't feel like messing around with it as it just didn't feel very... polished. I dunno.

Then I tried Parallels, which was a little better, but it didn't see the VT-x function on the CPU. I spent some time reading forums, and apparently you can either a.) manually screw with the CPU settings to enable it, or according to one person, b.) install the latest firmware update. I tried b - no dice. Without VT-x it's so painfully slow as to be not worth it. And I don't feel like trying option a yet.

Ok, so then I downloaded and installed the Boot Camp beta, and repartitioned the HD and am now in the process of looking into installing Gentoo onto that 2nd partition. Theoretically, if this works, I'll have a working dual-boot OS X/ Linux box, which works for me.

Anyways, the reason I'm jumping through all of these ridiculous hoops is because Macs don't use the standard BIOS, they use the "new" (made in 1999 :P ) EFI standard, which of course isn't natively supported in Windows or Linux, yet. Yet. Until then, you need to either install a custom bootloader (like elilo, an EFI-enabled version of lilo) or use the Boot Camp BIOS-emulation option. I'm trying the latter, but if this works well I may get a second box and try wiping it clean and doing a full linux/elilo install on there. If this doesn't work well, I may just get a Shuttle PC, which is around 4x as large as a Mac Mini, but I can customize it more easily and it won't require jumping through any hoops to install the OS.

Of course, the whole process would be easier if I hadn't had a pounding headache all day. I actually took a nap this afternoon (yes, a grown man taking a nap) in an attempt to make it go away, but it didn't. I think I'm sick, but hopefully it's just a cold and nothing worse. I'm thinking of actually going to bed early, and hope that tomorrow I'm feeling better.

For those of you who are interested, I'll try to remember to document what I've been doing in a little more detail later.

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