Adventures with a Mac-Mini

Mathewson richmond at
Wed Sep 14 09:52:08 UTC 2005

I have now "played about" with installs of Ubuntu 5.10
preview, Kubuntu 5.10 preview and
Edubuntu 5.10 preview on my Mac-mini and reached the
following initial conclusions:

1. On a dual-boot system (Mac OS 10.4 and Edubuntu 5.10),
which involves installing 
Mac OS X onto the 'front' of the hard-disk; the partitioner
is downright confusing,
especially with its requirement for an Apple Boot Loader
partition: the average teacher 
will be completely "thrown" by this.

2. The sound on the Mac-mini now works (Ubuntu 5.10 single
boot) and is just as good as under 
Mac OS X.

3. Proud of my Mac-mini sporting Ubuntu 5.10 I waltzed up
the road with it (Apple 
advertise it as "portable") and got egg all over my face
when I plugged it into a 
bog-standard 14 inch monitor (having installed it while
connected to my IBM 17 inch 
VDU at home.) No GUI loading - "jolly" purple screen; not
so good.

(The Mac-mini is 'portable' insofar as one can carry it
around and connect it to 
"any old monitor" when Mac OS X is installed.)

4. No GUI loads with Dual-boot Edubuntu after finishing
install: after a hard reboot
one is presented with a "jolly" purple screen. Became
"totally fried" and decided to 
try a Kubuntu Dual-boot install:

5. Oh, Super: no "jolly" purple screen - because after the
initial mac/linux choice screen
Kubuntu turns off the monitor. I must be bonkers: decided
to go for a 
Kubuntu 5.10 single-boot install:

6. At this point it became rather obvious that a Mac OS X /
Ub/Kub/Edu dual-boot is
not feasible (at least just now) - and I can see more
people than just myself finding 
that a "bit disappointing".

7. I should make it clear at this point that I have
successfully installed dual-boot systems 
with Ub/Kub 5.04 and MS Windows on a variety of mongrel
PCs. I had a PC running a dual-boot 
with Linspire 5 on the second half of a partitioned disk
and Kubuntu 5.04 on the first half:
lovely (well, I don't really like Linspire to be honest). I
had to change back to MS Windows 
because a bank and few other secure sites have "fixed"
their sites so that they only work with
Internet Explorer: why do I have a funny feeling they might
be breaking International Law
(not that that would come as a big surprise)? Of course, I
have to keep fiddling with 
my Windows install as some bloke down the road keeps trying
to piggy-back my internet 

8. A full Kubuntu 5.10 also turned the monitor off.

9. So, I shall go back to a full Mac OS X install because:

i. While Ubuntu 5.10 works as a single-boot install it
on a monitor so is not portable.

ii. a dual-boot doesn' work.

LATER, when I find the time, I shall try a dual-boot system
on my BIG Mac G4 that 
sports 4 hard-disks - things might go rather better when
Ubuntu has a real hard-disk 
(rather than part of a single hard-disk) to itself: this
certainly worked with
Yellow Dog PPC 4. This is not much help for the Mac-mini,

I have an MA in Applied Linguistics from SUI, Carbondale
(i.e. I'm a teacher) and an 
MSc in Computers and IT from the University of Abertay,
Dundee (don't ask - 
Visual Basic and Microsoft Databases), and I started
programming computers 
(Fortran 4) 30 years ago: so, in theory, at least, I should
have no trouble with these 
installs whatsoever . . . 

In the case of Edubuntu, at least, nobody should 
have to play happy command-line games: something I thought
I had seen the back of when 
I packed my BBC Master away in the attic and "migrated"
(ha, ha) to a Macintosh LCII.

I do, occasionally do the odd "make" and "make depend" when
I get desperate 
(think about WINE!).

Frankly, it's my BA in Philosophy that keeps me going!

Sincerely, Richmond Mathewson

See Mathewson's software at:
The Think Different Store
For All Your Mac Gear

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