Author Topic: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac  (Read 1440 times)

FINate

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Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« on: March 12, 2021, 09:08:29 AM »
We have a circa 2013 iMac that, while perfectly functional, is end-of-life and therefore no longer supported by Apple. Mostly used for web browsing and some light duty productivity/printing. My plan is to install Linux and get at least 10 more years out of it.

I'm very comfortable with Linux having used it professionally for close to 20 years, going back to when you installed from floppy disks :) And I have a small fleet of Raspian devices including two used as desktops for the kids. But it's been 5+ years since I've messed with Linux on a full size desktop in any meaningful way. And DW is not a tech person, so I need something that looks reasonably nice and is easy to use. I prefer simple and fast, and not too fringe as I also want good support... I don't mind building drivers from source, but would rather avoid it if possible. Memory footprint isn't an issue (see specs below).

So what are your recommendations for distro + window manager desktop environment, and why?

Machine specs:
  Model Name:   iMac
  Model Identifier:   iMac14,2
  Processor Name:   Intel Core i7
  Processor Speed:   3.5 GHz
  Number of Processors:   1
  Total Number of Cores:   4
  L2 Cache (per Core):   256 KB
  L3 Cache:   8 MB
  Memory:   32 GB

TIA
« Last Edit: March 12, 2021, 09:16:51 AM by FINate »

jeromedawg

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2021, 09:57:02 AM »
I'm probably not going to be of much help here as I haven't used Linux (regularly) for a while now. I think I may have played around a bit with the Tinycore distro + Openbox just to get something very minimalist and simple onto a system at some point.

Probably links you've already found haha:
https://itsfoss.com/lightweight-linux-beginners/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevangelho/2019/12/09/breathe-life-back-into-your-late-2013-or-older-apple-mac-with-linux/?sh=64b8e7dc76b2
https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/best-linux-distros-mac/


From the stuff I've briefly read just quickly searching around, it seems a lot of people prefer Ubuntu - seems like it may be one of the easier/straightforward distros to deploy overall. And I would think, in terms of drivers, there should be a good amount of support where you don't need to be building from source a ton. I think I saw a couple nods for Manjaro as well. Haven't used that before so I have very little input otherwise haha.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2021, 09:59:51 AM by jeromedawg »

Daley

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2021, 10:23:40 AM »
Manjaro's my go-to these days. All the benefits of both rolling release updates and LTS kernel support wrapped around Arch without any of the headaches, coupled with Ubuntu levels of easy setup and configuration. The Manjaro KDE build is hands-down one of the lightest and most responsive DE's I've used in a while, too. I've got it installed on both a Macbook 4,1 and Thinkpad X61s, both are C2D era machines with only 4GB of RAM, 128GB Samsung SSDs, and they're both incredibly snappy. Honestly, it feels even snappier than LXLE on the same hardware.

Bonus points, KDE's finally gotten their UI flexibility back to the nearly epic KDE3 levels of configurability after the past decade-plus of floundering with Plasma, and faking most of the top-level MacOS UI (including global menu support) for the sake of muscle memory is trivial now.

Edit: The only additional thing I'd honestly recommend would be using rEFInd as your boot manager on that iMac instead of GRUB, no matter what distro you use.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2021, 10:52:37 AM by Daley »

FINate

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2021, 01:55:30 PM »
Thanks @Daley, Manjaro it is. Glad to hear KDE got their act together again.

Daley

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2021, 02:37:01 PM »
Thanks @Daley, Manjaro it is. Glad to hear KDE got their act together again.

You bet.

I was kinda impressed by how much the KDE dev team finally got their stuff together again given how much I disliked Plasma for the longest time. There's a story there, but it's probably not worth sharing (at least publicly).

FINate

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2021, 04:05:07 PM »
Well that was pretty painless. One minor issue with sound to the audio jack that was easy to fix. Definitely snappier.

Daley

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2021, 04:17:50 PM »
Well that was pretty painless. One minor issue with sound to the audio jack that was easy to fix. Definitely snappier.

That was quick, glad to hear everything's groovy. It'll be worth going through the usual recommended post-Manjaro install checklist like making sure TRIM is enabled (provided you're using an SSD), switch to an LTS kernel, enable AUR, find a good update mirror, etc.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2021, 04:19:21 PM by Daley »

FINate

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2021, 08:12:13 PM »
Over the past year or so we've been preparing to jump off the Apple train. Getting data we care about into a NAS was a part of this, so no big deal to wipe and reinstall this particular machine.

Good checklist. Got on LTS kernel and AUR had the printer driver I needed. Not using an SSD yet, may let the current HDD run its course.

For whatever reason I can't get the wifi to work. Not that it matters since it's using a wired connection. Just bothers me because it should work. Haven't had time to poke at it much, but looks like the interface is configured. Hoping some more diagnostics will reveal what's going on.

Daley

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2021, 09:01:17 PM »
Not using an SSD yet, may let the current HDD run its course.

I used to be the same way with trying to wear it out first, but with the price of Samsung EVO drives these days? There's no point running spinning rust anymore given the performance boost for the money, and going over to an aftermarket SSD on an iMac running Linux won't have the nightmare of getting TRIM to work properly in OSX.

For whatever reason I can't get the wifi to work. Not that it matters since it's using a wired connection. Just bothers me because it should work. Haven't had time to poke at it much, but looks like the interface is configured. Hoping some more diagnostics will reveal what's going on.

That's Apple and Broadcom for you, double whammy. I've yet to encounter an Airport card chipset that hasn't given me at least some fits under multiple distros. The chipset in the 13 year old MacBook I mentioned earlier? It's only been in the past year I've seen it reliably work with Manjaro having the honor of being the first distro to actually properly support it, but I still had to tinker a bit first. It's been a few months, but I believe I had to swap out the Broadcom WL blob for B43. Sometimes, though, it's just easier to stuff a $10 Edimax WiFi dongle into a USB port.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2021, 09:08:14 PM by Daley »

FINate

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2021, 09:10:28 PM »
For whatever reason I can't get the wifi to work. Not that it matters since it's using a wired connection. Just bothers me because it should work. Haven't had time to poke at it much, but looks like the interface is configured. Hoping some more diagnostics will reveal what's going on.

That's Apple and Broadcom for you, double whammy. I've yet to encounter an Airport card chipset that hasn't given me at least some fits under multiple distros. The chipset in the 13 year old MacBook I mentioned earlier? It's only been in the past year I've seen it reliably work with Manjaro having the honor of being the first distro to actually properly support it, but I still had to tinker a bit first. It's been a few months, but I believe I had to swap out the Broadcom WL blob for B43. Sometimes, though, it's just easier to stuff a $10 Edimax WiFi dongle into a USB port.

Yep, the problem was Broadcom. Swapped out the generic firmware for the b43 specific which resolved a dmesg error, though it still didn't work. Then replaced broadcom-wl-dkms with broadcom-wl specific to my LTS kernel and it works now.

Daley

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2021, 09:18:05 PM »
Yep, the problem was Broadcom. Swapped out the generic firmware for the b43 specific which resolved a dmesg error, though it still didn't work. Then replaced broadcom-wl-dkms with broadcom-wl specific to my LTS kernel and it works now.

Huzzah!

Paul der Krake

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2021, 09:37:02 PM »
KDE3 was my gateway drug to tinkering with computers and I probably owe it my livelihood. I still have an Amarok tshirt... somewhere.

As to OP's question: Xubuntu.

jeromedawg

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2021, 09:19:19 AM »
Well, now I know where to go for Linux support at least.... :D

jim555

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2021, 06:01:22 PM »
I like Manjaro Mate.  I have been trying out Artix Linux, Mate version which is Arch based but without systemd, very nice.

FINate

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2021, 07:32:32 PM »
I'm quite happy with Manjaro so far.  Also, rEFInd is great!

One more item to add to Daley's initial setup list: tweak display global scale, force font DPI, and other font settings to get things looking decent.

Oh, and my iMac did NOT like the proprietary Nvidia drivers. Holy heck was it ever unstable, eventually becoming almost unusable. Due to the delayed effects I didn't make the association right away, thought maybe it was any number of other changes. Reinstalled the open drivers, uninstalled the proprietary, and everything is good again.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2021, 08:28:06 PM »
I would have suggested Linux Mint Cinnamon (maybe Elementary but I find it a bit too spartan) or maybe OpenSUSE but I'm glad you're happy with Manjaro. Although what's it like to get software from outside of the package manager, given that it's not a DEB or RPM based distro?

I had a bunch of issues getting Wi-Fi to work on my old MacBook Pro 5,1 running Ubuntu MATE or Mint (solved by plugging in an Ethernet cable and downloading/installing the proprietary drivers via the menus). Although I had other issues where if there was an unclean shutdown, it wouldn't boot until I booted off another Linux USB and ran fsck on the drive (I was using an ext4 partition and GRUB if it matters). After that happening a few times, I decided 'screw this' and bought a new laptop running Windows 10.

Daley

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2021, 08:51:37 PM »
Also, rEFInd is great!

I find it to be a necessity on Macs running Linux, honestly.

...tweak display global scale, force font DPI, and other font settings to get things looking decent.

I forget about such things given I still don't have a monitor or display anywhere in my house that averages much over 100-120ppi. Sorry about that.

Oh, and my iMac did NOT like the proprietary Nvidia drivers. Holy heck was it ever unstable, eventually becoming almost unusable. Due to the delayed effects I didn't make the association right away, thought maybe it was any number of other changes. Reinstalled the open drivers, uninstalled the proprietary, and everything is good again.

Nvidia's drivers have been an ever increasing crapshow for several years now. Used to be, Nvidia was the way to go over ATI/AMD. Not anymore. When I migrated to Ubuntu 16.04 when it first came out (IIRC, might have been 18.04), it was so bad even then, and the open-source drivers so immature that I literally had to rip the Nvidia card out out of my desktop and replace it with a Radeon. Glad the nouveau drivers don't stink anymore, that could've been a show-stopper.

Needless to say, there's a lot of reasons why I finally gave up and went back to Windows 10 after being a 100% *nix house/shop for over fifteen years, and I honestly don't regret the move. Canonical killed off Unity, I didn't like any of the other DEs at the time, hardware support was oddly getting more fiddly with older hardware, core system fragmentation was getting worse, and faced with needing to adapt to a new workflow and tired of DEs and distros ignoring consistency, the wife needing full MS Office, and my fondness for Lumia handsets... Windows 10 was really the first one I liked since the NT4/Win2k era. Stuff just works, the same way stuff used to just work with Ubuntu.

I still use it on occasion, right tool for the job and all, and I've obviously moved on from Ubuntu finding Manjaro the path of least resistance these days and pleasantly pleased with KDE again, but I don't miss the CLI, or the dependency hell, or the configuration.



KDE3 was my gateway drug to tinkering with computers and I probably owe it my livelihood.

I'd already been in the industry for a few years on the Windows end, but it was KDE3 that actually impressed me enough to ditch Windows, and it shifted my entire career trajectory as well. I actually cut my *nix teeth in BSD and only shifted to Linux out of necessity for actual driver support.



I have been trying out Artix Linux, Mate version which is Arch based but without systemd, very nice.

I get it, but I don't. I'm honestly pretty init agnostic on Linux given the whole thing is just a Unix bastard. If sysadmins want that level of control, they should be disciples of de Raadt and running OpenBSD on fully supported open driver hardware already. Using Linux is already a compromise, why must its sysadmins war over something as stupid as init in comparison? Systemd is perfectly cromulent for what it's gotta do. Use what works.



Although what's it like to get software from outside of the package manager, given that it's not a DEB or RPM based distro?

Manjaro's Arch based, so you have full AUR support with pacman. Plus, they include Snap and Flatpak support baked in, you just gotta enable it first.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2021, 08:55:57 PM by Daley »

jim555

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2021, 04:02:55 AM »
I really like the Arch based ecosystem and package management.  Basically everything is available between the Arch packages and the AUR.  The actual Arch distro I do not like at all.  No installer and they force you to do the "Arch way", which is a waste of time and insultingly condescending.  They make things needlessly obtuse on purpose.  Manjaro and Artix have corrected all the negatives of Arch and it "just works". 

FINate

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2021, 08:16:55 AM »
Well, thank you everyone, and @Daley especially. Our old iMac also now "just works" and is again on a supported and maintained platform. DW used it yesterday and it worked fine for her. We can print, browse the web, LibreOffice and Google Docs are more than sufficient for our needs, and the kids can even play Minecraft. I hope to squeeze a good number of additional years out of this hardware. Happy that this perfectly functional device is not doomed to the "recycle" bin because the reality of that ain't pretty.

RE the messiness of the Linux community, fragmentation, etc.: This used to bother me, but I've made peace with it. Yes, it's inefficient to have a bunch of zealots running in different directions for seemingly trivial reasons. And yes it can be irksome that there are umpteen different distros, DEs, package management systems, yada yada yada. And yet it all kinda-sorta somehow holds together in a strangely organic way, unity and diversity combined. Is it perfect? No. But neither are the propitiatory system. Is the UI as polished as MacOS? No, but pretty darn close! It's not for everyone, especially on marginally supported Apple hardware. But for a hobbyist like myself with time on my hands it's a great way to be freed from the forced obsolescence cycle. So I'm grateful to the passionate contributors and even the zealots for making this possible.

jim555

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2021, 08:36:39 AM »
You can always run Windows 10 in Virtualbox, get the best of both worlds.

Daley

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2021, 09:55:05 AM »
Well, thank you everyone, and @Daley especially.

Glad to help. And it's definitely a good thing keeping it out of the landfill.

RE the messiness of the Linux community, fragmentation, etc.

I don't disagree, and I used to feel more like you back during the heyday when "next year on desktop!" was a rallying cry keeping everyone focused, but the levels of fragmentation these days, especially by the people on the init and display server ends of things as well as the DE developers who've given up on UI consistency with elements even between dot releases, is doing far more to undermine and erode that community goodwill than help it anymore. If people want Linux to be taken seriously on the desktop, the zealous idealism needs to learn some flexibility and compromises need to be made for the sake of commercial developers, closed source hardware, and users.

Since it was brought up even here by Jim, Systemd is an answer to the need for an absolutely ridiculous monolithic core running a desktop environment to boot even reasonably fast on machines where uptime is measured in hours and days, and not months or years. Undermining its adoption and railing against it is hurting the very cause of the adoption of Linux as a desktop for average users outside of the nerfed Chromebook, especially with legacy system usage to keep older hardware functional and secure. If Systemd's inherent design and function as init gives you such consternation that you rail against its very existence, your problem isn't with Systemd... it's with the Linux kernel itself. If this is such a showstopper for you, stop impeding Linux's necessary development trajectory and stop using such a bloated monolithic Unix halfbreed kernel for your own desktops and servers, and go run a BSD using a DE where you don't need something like Systemd to compensate for kernel and display bloat.



You can always run Windows 10 in Virtualbox, get the best of both worlds.

Or you can just install WSL and Ubuntu under Windows itself and get a native POSIX CLI without using the old Cygwin bodge or the overhead of a virtual machine. Oddly, though, I don't miss it.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2021, 10:00:21 AM by Daley »

jim555

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2021, 11:11:02 AM »
Or you can just install WSL and Ubuntu under Windows itself and get a native POSIX CLI without using the old Cygwin bodge or the overhead of a virtual machine. Oddly, though, I don't miss it.
I would rather have Linux as the OS over Win 10, since I trust Linux more from a security standpoint.  Performance I don't see the problem since I'm not a gamer and the hit is minimal.

Daley

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2021, 11:38:19 AM »
Or you can just install WSL and Ubuntu under Windows itself and get a native POSIX CLI without using the old Cygwin bodge or the overhead of a virtual machine. Oddly, though, I don't miss it.
I would rather have Linux as the OS over Win 10, since I trust Linux more from a security standpoint.  Performance I don't see the problem since I'm not a gamer and the hit is minimal.

Says the dude who desperately wants a lightweight GTK based DE on Linux who's also complaining about Systemd. I'm not a gamer either, I'm just realistic. If you're gonna spend the money on a Windows license, and given Win10 is nearly as lean as most Linux desktop distributions, and has the potential to be set up just as secure as modern Linux is as a desktop, and given how embedded and committed to Linux support Microsoft is these days...

If you're genuinely that paranoid, you're really still using the wrong software platform. In all seriousness, use a real Unix. Do yourself a favor and switch to using CDE on NetBSD, and stop trying to make Linux not do things you don't like. It will genuinely make your life easier.

jim555

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2021, 12:28:57 PM »
Or you can just install WSL and Ubuntu under Windows itself and get a native POSIX CLI without using the old Cygwin bodge or the overhead of a virtual machine. Oddly, though, I don't miss it.
I would rather have Linux as the OS over Win 10, since I trust Linux more from a security standpoint.  Performance I don't see the problem since I'm not a gamer and the hit is minimal.

Says the dude who desperately wants a lightweight GTK based DE on Linux who's also complaining about Systemd. I'm not a gamer either, I'm just realistic. If you're gonna spend the money on a Windows license, and given Win10 is nearly as lean as most Linux desktop distributions, and has the potential to be set up just as secure as modern Linux is as a desktop, and given how embedded and committed to Linux support Microsoft is these days...

If you're genuinely that paranoid, you're really still using the wrong software platform. In all seriousness, use a real Unix. Do yourself a favor and switch to using CDE on NetBSD, and stop trying to make Linux not do things you don't like. It will genuinely make your life easier.
I actually don't care about systemd, I was just trying out a different distro (which doesn't use systemd) which seems to work well.  I don't need lightweight, but light is nice.  My beef is on a closed source OS like Windows you simply do not know what is going on security wise, it is a black box.  Open source has eyes on the code.  "Real" Unix, LOL.  Any OS is a constantly morphing code base, the Linux kernel is actively developed.  I don't see how NetBSD will make my life easier, I don't know what you are on about.  If I need to run say TurboTax I fire up Win10 in Virtualbox, do the business and shut down the virtual machine.  Much safer since it is a dedicated VM to a special purpose.  Windows is a known weak link so I isolate exposure to it.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2021, 12:35:42 PM »
Meh, the attack surface of 99% of consumers starts and ends in the browser these days. If security is important to you that's what you focus on, not so much the underlying OS.

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2021, 12:39:42 PM »
You can keep using the iMac with a new version of MacOS. Apple doesn't officially support it but Big Sur should work on your machine anyway. Try the patch from here: https://github.com/BenSova/Patched-Sur

Daley

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2021, 01:37:36 PM »
Meh, the attack surface of 99% of consumers starts and ends in the browser these days. If security is important to you that's what you focus on, not so much the underlying OS.

This. And the remaining major security issues are increasingly hardware related impacting everyone, and having code open audited still hasn't guaranteed that major issues still haven't or won't continue to go unnoticed for years. (Care to comment on how open source and security audits magically prevented DNSpooq from happening? Oh, right, you can't, because it didn't help... and years-long vulnerabilities hidden in plain sight still had to be patched after months of discovery and research.) Fact of the matter is, the direction of Linux development? If you don't like Windows' current security track record, you 'aint gonna like Linux's current and future track record, either.

"Real" Unix, LOL.

It appears that someone's forgotten what their backronyms mean.

The only way to mitigate the level of risk that you're imagining with Windows these days isn't with Linux, because Linux is just about as massively amorphous and complicated as Windows is now; it's going with a true, hardened, minimalist BSD kernel that forces you to use only open hardware and a DE barely removed from X... so yes, using REAL MODERN UNIX, because that's about the only place left providing the sort of security you're actually wanting. Unfortunately, that sort of approach hasn't done much to reduce OSX's vulnerability surface, so YMMV. If you don't like that compromise, maybe you need to stop pretending it's 2005, being needlessly paranoid about M$ (because, dude, Ballmer is gone now, and Nadella is a whole 'nother critter), and make peace with Windows 10... which is also actively developed. It's seriously not as bad as you think.

And before you go crying about telemetry data and whathaveyou, you don't need a Microsoft account, and that's kind of difficult to opt out of if you want to actively go onto any commercial part of the internet where far more privacy invasive things are harvested than what they can pull.



You can keep using the iMac with a new version of MacOS. Apple doesn't officially support it but Big Sur should work on your machine anyway.

These sorts of things always seem like a good idea on the surface, but a pretty bad idea in reality. Patched-Sur requires you to disable FileVault and violate their EULA. FileVault doesn't really do anything for remote network security, but you're basically sacrificing your physical theft crackhead system security with your user files just to get around Apple's planned obsolescence march, and forcing the additional inconvenience of something like VeraCrypt just to secure your sensitive data. Some people might be okay with that, but never assume.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2021, 01:53:00 PM by Daley »

Daley

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2021, 02:47:41 PM »
Waiddaminnit...

If I need to run say TurboTax I fire up Win10 in Virtualbox, do the business and shut down the virtual machine.  Much safer since it is a dedicated VM to a special purpose.  Windows is a known weak link so I isolate exposure to it.

...this was a slow burn to register.

You mean to tell me that your idea of security best practices with the example you gave is to run a VM of an operating system you claim can't be trusted, just to install what is basically a PWA wrapper around a website that works under both Firefox and Chromium under any OS, just to enter and transmit sensitive financial data to a third party?


jim555

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2021, 02:57:48 PM »
Waiddaminnit...

If I need to run say TurboTax I fire up Win10 in Virtualbox, do the business and shut down the virtual machine.  Much safer since it is a dedicated VM to a special purpose.  Windows is a known weak link so I isolate exposure to it.

...this was a slow burn to register.

You mean to tell me that your idea of security best practices with the example you gave is to run a VM of an operating system you claim can't be trusted, just to install what is basically a PWA wrapper around a website that works under both Firefox and Chromium under any OS, just to enter and transmit sensitive financial data to a third party?
You just like to argue.  I was just giving an example, you know I do paper tax returns only.   

We can all trust Win 10 now, and I am sure you can trust them when you tell them turn off the telemetry.  You have no way of knowing what that OS is doing, period. 

Daley

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2021, 03:16:52 PM »
You just like to argue.  I was just giving an example, you know I do paper tax returns only.

We can all trust Win 10 now, and I am sure you can trust them when you tell them turn off the telemetry.  You have no way of knowing what that OS is doing, period.

Why would I know how you do tax returns, Jim? Also, I'm not the one who flipped out over a legitimate suggestion going full aggro in response. You might be projecting a touch.

My point is that unless you unplug your computer from the internet entirely, nobody has any way of knowing what their OS is potentially doing and your browser is actually leaking 100% of the time, period, no matter how locked down and privacy friendly you think you are.

And even though I have no doubt you'll ignore this yourself, I'll post this for other people who are curious. This is the telemetry data Microsoft collects depending on settings, and it's not difficult to verify... but what does reality have to do with anything, right? Let's freak out way more about Microsoft's usage telemetry than the NSA's domestic surveillance methods and the hard-coded flaws of our physical hardware.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2021, 03:33:08 PM by Daley »

jim555

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2021, 03:38:18 PM »
Obviously your side gig is paid Microsoft advocate.

Daley

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2021, 03:45:26 PM »
Oh, if only!

FINate

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2021, 08:53:05 PM »
You can keep using the iMac with a new version of MacOS. Apple doesn't officially support it but Big Sur should work on your machine anyway. Try the patch from here: https://github.com/BenSova/Patched-Sur

No thanks, I don't want a Frankensystem. The main reason I'm replacing MacOS is because it will drift further and further into oblivion as EOL fades in the review mirror. A patched unsupported BigSur is actually much worse, hacked OS running on unsupported hardware. Besides, I'm not in love with any of the major OSes, they're about the same to me. Windows 10 is a fine OS, as is MacOS (though some of the recent security stuff is annoying). But for this machine Linux affords a properly installed and supported/updated OS.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2021, 06:24:45 AM »
The telemetry that's built into Windows 10 is nothing compared to what Facebook and Google (and various other ad companies) harvest from their users. Microsoft aren't using that data for their main revenue source either.

My experience with Windows 10 has been largely positive. There's still some inconsistencies (such as why there are two control panels or two add/remove programs sections), and there's still some Googling arcane error codes to try and sort a problem (sigh), but it's improved from the days of XP and Vista.

I've been dabbling in Linux for a while, with my first experience on it being Red Hat 5.1 back in 1999 trying to work out how to install it on some ancient PC (had to work out how the Linux partitioning worked, and editing /etc/X11/XF86config to get the display to work, and my experiences with dependency hell turned me off RPM based distros for good, good times). These days, give me something that just works without all the faffing about. OSX/macOS provides that, but Windows is OK too.

For what it's worth I'm amazed that a 2013 Mac isn't getting even security patches. Don't Apple provide security patches for their most recent two versions of macOS?
« Last Edit: March 15, 2021, 06:27:02 AM by alsoknownasDean »

FINate

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2021, 08:32:01 AM »
Yes, it is amazing. The machine was on High Sierra (10.13) which reached EOL 12/2020 and newer versions of MacOS were not supported. I get that there's money to be made, and it both costs money to support older systems while also driving sales by dropping older systems. But just ~8 years is ridiculous, especially since Apple owns the fully integrated stack and doesn't have to deal with a bunch of different support combinations.

If/when I need another computer running a mainstream OS it will likely be Windows based (never thought I'd write that after switching to Macs in 2005!). But even then, I'll likely go for hardware with known good Linux support and dual boot.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #35 on: March 15, 2021, 11:44:00 AM »
  Processor Name:   Intel Core i7
  Processor Speed:   3.5 GHz
  Number of Processors:   1
  Total Number of Cores:   4
  Memory:   32 GB


Damn, I wish my 2009 MacBook had those specs, and I'm surprised our support ended at the same time considering your machine is about 3x my machine and years newer. [Files away a lesson about buying the high end product, or paying for upgrades].

I'm looking forward to trying Manjaro, but for my purposes I'm not worried about EOL for a while longer. It's not Windows XP we're talking about. Being on an Apple has kept me away from Linux for about the past 6 years, so this is all good info.

Re: the flame wars about Linux - some things never change. One would think the option to take any one of dozens of different paths would negate the arguments about why something somebody else did was stoopit, but instead the power vacuum has always created a struggle for status and influence. Luckily for freeloaders like me, this process yields a wide range of high performing, high security operating systems that can turn trash hardware into absolutely enjoyable equipment - for frickin' free. No gripes from me.

FINate

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #36 on: March 15, 2021, 11:52:06 AM »
Damn, I wish my 2009 MacBook had those specs, and I'm surprised our support ended at the same time considering your machine is about 3x my machine and years newer. [Files away a lesson about buying the high end product, or paying for upgrades].

Yeah, Linux is screaming fast on this thing.

Re: the flame wars about Linux - some things never change. One would think the option to take any one of dozens of different paths would negate the arguments about why something somebody else did was stoopit, but instead the power vacuum has always created a struggle for status and influence. Luckily for freeloaders like me, this process yields a wide range of high performing, high security operating systems that can turn trash hardware into absolutely enjoyable equipment - for frickin' free. No gripes from me.

Same here. I intentionally avoid looking too closely at how the sausage is made.

jim555

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #37 on: March 15, 2021, 11:55:31 AM »
It is so easy to set up a dual boot these days.  120gb SSD is like $20, really no reason to limit yourself.

FINate

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #38 on: March 24, 2021, 08:46:38 PM »
Welp, decided to go ahead and replace the HDD. I looked at the SMART stats and wasn't thrilled. Total hours not bad relative to typical MTBF, but a lot of power cycles and quite a few errors, including some new bad sectors. Nothing critical, could probably stretch it 1-2 more years. But this is a new install and the config details are fresh in my mind, so why not? I'll need to carefully disassemble the unit, including the glued-on screen. OWC has a kit that includes everything required, going to give it a whirl.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2021, 08:52:35 PM by FINate »

Daley

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #39 on: March 25, 2021, 08:32:23 AM »
Welp, decided to go ahead and replace the HDD. I looked at the SMART stats and wasn't thrilled. Total hours not bad relative to typical MTBF, but a lot of power cycles and quite a few errors, including some new bad sectors. Nothing critical, could probably stretch it 1-2 more years. But this is a new install and the config details are fresh in my mind, so why not? I'll need to carefully disassemble the unit, including the glued-on screen. OWC has a kit that includes everything required, going to give it a whirl.

I thought you only needed the OWC SATA conversion kit to make SSDs play nice with OSX without ridiculous hacks to make TRIM work? Given you're running Linux, I'm not sure it really matters. You should probably be able to just pop down to Best Buy, grab a Samsung EVO SSD and a 3.5" to 2.5" sled adapter, gently do the disassembly, and off to the races.

I made a stupid comment about previous upgrade exploits, but I realized my memory was failing me, and more time has passed since the SSD migration with their laptops than I'd remembered. Lousy scrambled synapses.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2021, 08:52:36 AM by Daley »

ChpBstrd

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #40 on: March 25, 2021, 08:51:35 AM »
Welp, decided to go ahead and replace the HDD. I looked at the SMART stats and wasn't thrilled. Total hours not bad relative to typical MTBF, but a lot of power cycles and quite a few errors, including some new bad sectors. Nothing critical, could probably stretch it 1-2 more years. But this is a new install and the config details are fresh in my mind, so why not? I'll need to carefully disassemble the unit, including the glued-on screen. OWC has a kit that includes everything required, going to give it a whirl.

This prompted me to look at the procedure for swapping hard drives in iMacs and holy crap that is involved! It's like a giant cell phone.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3w6E2_XqaBw

According to the video, the screen is held on by magnets, not glue.

FINate

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #41 on: March 25, 2021, 09:00:34 AM »
Welp, decided to go ahead and replace the HDD. I looked at the SMART stats and wasn't thrilled. Total hours not bad relative to typical MTBF, but a lot of power cycles and quite a few errors, including some new bad sectors. Nothing critical, could probably stretch it 1-2 more years. But this is a new install and the config details are fresh in my mind, so why not? I'll need to carefully disassemble the unit, including the glued-on screen. OWC has a kit that includes everything required, going to give it a whirl.

This prompted me to look at the procedure for swapping hard drives in iMacs and holy crap that is involved! It's like a giant cell phone.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3w6E2_XqaBw

According to the video, the screen is held on by magnets, not glue.

Yes. I'll admit, it was one of my reasons for wanting to put it off. I think my model year is stuck together with some type of adhesive. Not glue, more like an adhesive film.

Daley

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #42 on: March 25, 2021, 09:02:37 AM »
This prompted me to look at the procedure for swapping hard drives in iMacs and holy crap that is involved! It's like a giant cell phone.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3w6E2_XqaBw

According to the video, the screen is held on by magnets, not glue.

Yeah, wow... hokey smokes my knowledge has gotten dated, and Apple apparently did a real proprietary finger wag on the thermal sensor with the iMac!? Yeesh. Yeah, never mind my original response. Between my memory and the speed of the passage of time... yeah, no. Never mind. Sorry for questioning the adapter. Yeesh.

FINate

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Re: Linux Distro Recommandations for iMac
« Reply #43 on: March 31, 2021, 10:09:56 PM »
Swapped out the HDD for the SSD today. The kit from OWC had everything I needed, from special tools to cut/separate the tape affixing the monitor to the shell to the temp sensor and new adhesive tape in the correct shapes to put everything back together. Took about an hour. Reinstalled Manjaro and configured everything (incl. TRIM), then rsynced the home directories from a backup and we're back in business, faster than new :)