I still had an old Mac Mini (model 2,1) – which I bought during a period of experimentation with different operating systems – connected to the TV, running Mac OS X Lion. Not Apple’s finest installment of OS X, truth be told.
The reasons I wanted to get rid of it:
- Apple stopped providing updates for it. Not fantastic from a security point of view.
- They also managed to actually break VNC for anything except the OS X client
- TeamViewer takes up a ridiculous amount of CPU power on OS X
- You can’t turn off the Mac Mini using the power button, it goes to sleep, and it can’t be reprogrammed.
- It’s just .. sooo… slooooooooow
The only thing the device is used for is
- iTunes to manage an iPod classic, and to auto-rip newly bought CD’s
- Using Videostream to cast movies to our Chromecast
- Playing music from the audio library to the connected amplifier
Not much, really. So, in the end, being tired of the general slowness of the device, I bit the bullet, exchanged the old 80GB hard disk with a newer and bigger model, and went on the journey to install Debian on it.
So, the road to success was:
- download the multiarch network install CD image, burn it to a CD. 1
Why multi-arch, you might ask? Why not use the x86_64 (64-bit) install image, as the Intel Core2Duo is capable of handling this? Because Apple, in all their wisdom, decided to include a 32-bit EFI with a CPU capable of handling 64-bit code. So you get a bit of a schizophrenic situation. The multiarch CD image supports both 32-bit and 64-bit (U)EFI, and hence, it works for this device.
- boot from said CD (press and hold the ALT button as soon as the grey screen appears on your Mac)
- XFCE als a lightweight display manager
- Lightdm as login manager (with auto-login)
- Chrome as a browser (for Videostream),
- Clementine for audio manager.
- abcde for automatic CD ripping – with configuration tips from Andrews Corner ;)
- TeamViewer for remote access outside of the local network
- x11vnc for VNC access to the logged-in session
All in all it works rather nicely. The only problems I ran into was with respect to the iPod management, which was solved by resetting the iPod with iTunes for windows, which formatted the device as VFAThttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table#FAT32, instead of Mac OS’ HFS+.
- note that this link points to the daily built CD images, which might or might not be broken at any given day ↩