Question Need help installing Linux on core2 duo macmini

C. Barrett

Junior Member
Feb 10, 2022
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0
6
I have been trying to install either linux mint or ubuntu linux on an old macmini (circa 2010...core 2 duo, 8G of memory, the last model with built in DVD drive), to replace the outdated version of MacOs that version of HW supports.

For both Iinux distros and can boot from a USB, but once I install, the linux OSs will not boot (he linux mint version gives me a linux mint icon on screen for a few seconds before going black...the Ubuntu just goes to black with no sign of life). I am using the latest LTS versions of both distros.

I found this resource: https://www.macworld.co.uk/how-to/how-install-linux-on-mac-3637265/ and have followed the instructions (adding the nomodeset line was required to get the USB based OSs to boot), but I have been unable to boot successfully once the OSs are installed.

I have done searches looking for hints as to what is going on, but to no avail.
 

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,992
412
126
My two guesses are the bootloader or GPU drivers. Given that the instructions you listed do not have anything listed about updating/modding the bootloader, I am not sure if you did what you need to do in order to make it work. The built in bootloader on Macs needs to be modified somewhat and/or replaced.

Given the age, "rEFInd" or the "refindplus" fork (or the older "rEFIt" which is what rEFInd and refindplus forked from) is probably what you need to use, but you might be able to use the newer "Clover EFI". I have never used "Clover EFI", so I can not say how well it works, but I have and do use "rEFInd". You should read up on these tools, or watch a youtube video on how to install them. Once you have updated the bootloader, you can use that to properly add/install linux to the system (just make sure that when you install your linux distro that you do NOT have it install it's own boot loader which is most likely not fully compatible with the customizations Apple has placed in their bootloader for their customized hardware).

If you don't think it is the bootloader, check on the graphics drivers. A black screen could simply be the result of the driver not being properly configured, or failed. You need to break to a command line mode either during the boot sequence (assuming it is showing/displaying anything at all) by going to single user mode, or attempting to go to a TTY shell after it has booted. Depending on the linux distribution, you might be able to use "CRTL+ALT+F2" (or F1, F3, F4, F5, F6, F7, F8) to get to a command prompt outside of the X Windows desktop environment. These TTY shells only use the most basic of graphics functionality and use low level standards that have existed for decades which the graphics cards support without needing to load their drivers. If you can get a TTY shell prompt, then you know the system is loaded and working, and you just need to fix your X Window system by updating/installing/configuring your graphics device properly for your hardware. Luckily you can most likely download a driver that works for your hardware:

 
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