Do Macs make good Linux computers?

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Today in Open Source: Should Macs be used as Linux computers? Plus: Linus smacks Fedora around, and a review of Ubuntu 13.10 GNOME

Are Macs Good Linux Computers?

Macs are a popular choice among some users, but do they make good Linux computers? A writer at Unixmen shares his experience in converting an iMac into a Linux computer.

Whatever you may think about Macs and OS X, Apple hardware is very nice. Take the 5 year-old iMac (2008 model) with 24″ LED screen – a bit slow now for Mountain Lion but nevertheless the screen is vibrant, all the hardware is in one box with a 2.8ghz dual core CPU, camera, speakers, DVD, 256mb Radeon video card, 6gb of RAM, lots of ports (USB and Firewre 800) and all. I picked one up for a song with a view of turning it into my new Linux workstation.

Now, set up with new hardware in went the Ubuntu 13.04 DVD. Make sure you get the Mac specific one – I used the ubuntu-13.04-desktop-amd64+mac.iso. Install was completely standard – answer the usual prompts and the Ubuntu install raced away with the SSD coming to the fore.

A reboot had an almost instant appearance of the Ubuntu login screen. Having heard horror stories about hardware incompatibilities I was somewhat wary, but without need. Believe it or not, everything worked out of the box – network, camera and sound all came up without any work on my part. I did use ethernet initially, but a quick install of the proprietary Broadcom drivers had wifi up as well. Also, in spite of what you read, no need for reFit, Bootcamp or other magic stuff, just standard Grub as per the normal Ubuntu install. I had no intention of sharing with OS X or Windows – Linux only for me!

More at Unixmen

I think it's great that he took that older iMac and turned it into a Linux box. It's a very creative way of using older hardware, and it's somewhat ironic that one of Apple's products now hosts a Linux operating system rather than OS X.

For some reason I had completely forgotten that there's a Mac specific version of Ubuntu. If you need the Mac version, you can download it from the Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander releases page.

If you need some instructions on installing Linux on a Mac, see this article from Lifehacker. It doesn't cover OS X Mavericks, but it may still work well. At the very least it will get you started.

Of course you could always just run Linux on your Mac via VirtualBox too. And that lets you run many different distros if you happen to be a distrohopper.

Linus Torvalds Versus the Fedora Project

Linus is not happy with the folks at Fedora. Ouch!

The father of Linux had a very simple question: how come the Fedora developers were not regenerating the distribution images with newer kernels and packages?

“Because right now you say ‘we don't have Q&A to verify the images,’ and I'm telling you that's [expletive], because the old image is known to be broken, so claiming that the new images might be broken is all kinds of stupid, isn't it?” said Torvals. He didn't stop there.

“So all your arguments are just [expletive] stupid. Call it F19.x, warn people that it's ‘more up-to-date,’ and just stop making stupid excuses for having an image THAT DOES NOT WORK, because you want to not test whether the new image MIGHT NOT WORK,” also said Torvalds.

More at Softpedia

Well, one of the nice things about Linus is that he never minces words. You always know where you stand with him and then some. Heh.

Ubuntu 13.10 GNOME Review

Ubuntu comes in many flavors and there's a version of it that uses GNOME 3.8 (along with GNOME Classic) as its desktop environment.

Unity has caused an enormous amount of controversy in the Ubuntu community, with many hating it and some loving it. Fortunately, we are blessed with other desktop environments to use on top of the Ubuntu base. In addition to Lubuntu, Xubuntu and Kubuntu, we also have Ubuntu 13.10 GNOME. That’s right, you can simply opt to run GNOME on top of Ubuntu instead of Unity.

In addition to GNOME 3.8, you can also run GNOME Classic by switching the session at the login screen.

More at Desktop Linux Reviews

Alas, I was not impressed with GNOME 3.8 (to say the least). If you must use Ubuntu 13.10 GNOME then try GNOME Classic by switching the session at the login screen. It's much more usable than GNOME 3.8. Or give Xubuntu or Lubuntu a try instead.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

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