Monday, February 9, 2009

Why put linux on my mac?

First, a little background. I have grown up using macs all my life. I enjoy Apple products quite a bit, and I think they have a leading edge in hardware design and marketing appeal. I also think the software that comes on their machines is fantastic as well, especially with the progress they have made in the last decade or so. All that being said, why would I make a blog about putting linux of all things, on my mac computer?

Well, I have known about linux for some time, but have had little to no experience with it. It always seemed like something just for geeks and technophiles. There was too much weird and unfamiliar stuff, and very little to show for it. For a long time, the only thing positive about Linux (that I saw) was that it was free.

And so I had very little reason or desire to look into the little operating system with a penguin mascot. It just seemed to hard to use and install, and plus, I liked my Mac OS quite a bit. The other problem was that most linux systems were built and optimized for the x86 architecture, and for a long time Apple only used a powerpc architecture. There were distributions that worked on powerpcs, but they always seemed somehow lacking and behind the curve. And so it continued to seem less that worth the trouble to dabble in linux on my Apple machines over the years.

Well, that all changed. When Apple switched to using Intel processors, the chip architecture changed to x86, and therefore was compatible with most of the “better” linux distributions. Not only that, but by this time, linux had progressed to be a very polished and well-supported system, even in all of its open-source glory. There were many distributions available for free, many with different advantages and feels to them. It wasn’t a “one size fits all” like all the current iterations in Windows and OS X. On the contrary, there are tons of different styles and types of linux operating systems, so it is sure that most anyone could find one to adequately suit their needs.

So I decided to take the plunge. Partition the hard drive? Dual boot my mac? Why not? My little Apple iMac could do it right? Well, not only can Intel Macs do it, but they do it quite well. So to answer the question of why install linux on your machine, the simple answer is, why wouldn’t you?

Over the next several posts, I will go into detail on how this can be accomplished quite simply, even for those who are unfamiliar with Linux or other operating systems outside of OS X (or even Windows.) Hopefully these resources will allow you too to experience a fun new operating system and breathe new life into your current (or old) machine.
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