Ubuntu on Mac mini as server

Eric Dunbar eric.dunbar at gmail.com
Thu Jan 12 14:42:56 UTC 2006

On 1/12/06, Eric Dunbar <eric.dunbar at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 1/10/06, Bob Nielsen <nielsen at oz.net> wrote:
> > I set up a Mac Mini to dual boot OS X and Ubuntu 5.10.  I haven't
> > tried any sound applications but was disappointed to find out that
> > the built-in AirPort wireless port uses a Broadcom chip for which
> > there is no Linux driver  (there is an effort to create one--see
> > <http://linux-bcom4301.sourceforge.net/go/links>).  Unfortunately
> > ndiswrapper only works on Intel-based boxes.  I'll probably try a USB
> > wireless adapter but have not yet done so.  It should make a good
> > server,  With the FreeBSD underpinnings of OS X, this could be done
> > without installing Linux.  A lot of the same applications which exist
> > in Ubuntu can be installed on a Mini using Fink or Darwinports (I'm
> > using mine as a desktop networked with some Ubuntu boxes rather than
> > as a server, but have installed Pan, Pysol, OpenOffice.org, mc, etc.)
> Airport Extreme (802.11g)... I thought they had got it working on PPC
> Linux. Terrasoft (YellowDogLinux) is frenetically working on getting a
> beta of the driver out (I guess there are enough desperate people out
> there happy to try anything, even if it's alpha or beta).
> And, using it as a server is a wise move -- the cost savings in
> electricity are phenomenal (as was recently discussed on
> YellowDogLinux's mailing list ;-).
> Apparently (according to someone's measurements with a watt meter) the
> Mac mini apparently draws a paltry 18 W idling (as little as some
> clock radios), and 32 W with optical drive running. Over two or three
> years, the Mac mini running 24/7 you can save $100s (or Euro100s ;-)
> on your electricity bills (am curious to know what a rack-mount XServe
> consumes... of course, and XServe is many times more expensive than a
> Mac mini ;-)

Ugh. Editing reaches a new low.

Apparently (according to someone's measurements with a watt meter),
the Mac mini draws a paltry 18 W idling (not sleeping) and 32 W with
the optical drive running.

If you run the Mac mini as a server (headless) 24/7 for two or three
years, the Mac mini can save you big bucks on your electricity bill
compared to an 'el cheapo' no-name desktop (assuming 100 W load).

A 100 W server load will consume 8766 kWh/year and at $0.10/kWh
(average for NA) it'll cost you $87.66/a to run. Assuming an average
of 25 W for the Mac mini, it would cost you $21.92/a (not only that,
but each kWh generated through fossil fuels produces 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of
CO2, and fossil fuels produce 2/3 of US electricity... guess why they
won't sign Kyoto ;-)

Over one year, 100 W (in the US at 66% CO2 generating 33% other
(hydroelectric, wind, nuclear (with its own problems)) will generate
5800 kg (12760 lbs) CO2 vs 1450 kg CO2 for the Mac mini (even that is
a staggeringly large number given the relatively low energy usage).
The relevant fossil fuel vs nuclear vs renewable ratios in Europe will
be different but energy prices will be even higher.

(I would still like to know how much a rack-mount XServe uses... it's
running pretty heavy-duty G5s so I don't think XServes going to be
environmentally friendly (plus, the XServe is many times more
expensive than a Mac mini)).


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