This question is about what steps are needed for transforming an Apple Mac Mini into an Ubuntu server.

Here are some areas:

  • installing Ubuntu and making it to be bootable from EFI by default
  • enabing CPU and fan control (by default it does not work)
  • be sure that it will power on after power failure
  • SSD configuring (assuming that the primary disk is a SSD and that you may have a HD as the second disk, nobody needs the DVD drive).

First install rEFInd, and boot Ubuntu installer after.

Enable "Boot after power failure" by adding next line to /etc/rc.local:

 setpci -s 0:1f.0 0xa4.b=0
 setpci -s 00:03.0 0x7b.b=0x19

Install mac fan control:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mactel-support/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y macfanctld applesmc-dkms

For SSD tunning (you have to adapt to your config) here is my /etc/fstab file:

UUID=<...> /        ext4   noatime,nodiratime,errors=remount-ro 0       1
UUID=<...> /boot    vfat   defaults,noatime,discard    0   1

What is important to remember here:

  • /boot is the rEFInd partition, as you can keep all in the same place.
  • I added noatime,nodiratime to the / partition as this will lower the tear-down of the SSD.

Do noy add discard or ext4discard to the list of options because instant TRIM will slow down your SSD too much.

The optimal solution is to run TRIM in a daily crob job, by running something like:

 fstrim -v / 

Other resources:

  • Thank you for creating this answer. My question is whether or not things have changed for the current generation. I'm planning on installing Ubuntu onto a PCIe 256 gig SSD on my brand new mac mini. I specifically do not understand what: setpci -s 0:1f.0 0xa4.b=0 Does. Also, are the backticks included? Normally backticks are used to quote code, but it seems you double backticked this. Thanks in advance! – zachaysan Apr 15 '15 at 23:03
  • 1
    The only issue would be the ability to power itself on after a power failure, this is what this line is supposed to enable. It depends on the chipset so you may need a different one. No back ticks needed. – sorin Apr 17 '15 at 11:18

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