These days, thanks to Apple’s move to Intel about a decade back, bringing new life to an old Mac by installing your favorite Linux distro is just as easy as it is with a standard PC, as you will see in this video.
The Video Screening Room
All Macintosh computers from about 2006 onwards were made using Intel CPUs and installing Linux on these computers is a breeze. You don’t need to download any Mac specific distro — just choose your favorite distro and install away. About 95 percent of the time you’ll be able to use the 64-bit version of the distro. On CoreDuo Macs, from 2006, you’ll need to use a 32-bit version.
Here is a screencast video I made on a revived Macbook that came into my hands recently. I downloaded Linux Mint 18 Xfce 64-bit ISO, burned it to DVD, inserted it into the Macbook (after the Macbook was turned on) and then booted the Macbook from DVD by holding the the letter “C” (which tells the Mac to boot from the optical drive).
Similarly, last week I was also able to help a friend revive his aging 15-inch Macbook Pro using Linux. In that case I booted a special Mac-bootable Linux USB drive. I created this USB drive following these relatively easy instructions.
To boot from USB drive on a Mac, hold down the Option key during the boot process and mouse click on the USB drive icon that shows up on the screen. It’s usually orange in color. My friend’s Macbook ran Linux Mint 17.3 Xfce flawlessly after a 20-minute install. Even the iSight webcam functioned perfectly using Cheese. My friend was thrilled to squeeze a few more years use from his aging laptop. He is very technically proficient and took to Linux like a duck to water.
We took care of this Linux install during my regular public library work shift. Shouldn’t all public libraries be helping the public in this way — if not with library staff, then via installfest events partnering with Linux user groups? Send me your thoughts and stories about Linux and public libraries. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
For the past 10 years, Phil has been working at a public library in the Washington D.C.-area, helping youth and adults use the 28 public Linux stations the library offers seven days a week. He also writes for MAKE magazine, Opensource.com and TechSoup Libraries. Suggest videos by contacting Phil on Twitter or at email@example.com.