I own a Mac mini 2011 server which I use as workstation. Currently Mac OS X Lion and Windows 7 Professional are installed in parallel (via Boot Camp). Both are 64-bit operating systems.

I'd like to install a Linux system on the machine. Which distro would you recommend the most? I thought of Ubuntu but I'm not sure about the 64-bit support in it (which I believe is needed to make use of the full 8 gb RAM).

By "best" I mean "best hardware support". Specifically:

  • drivers for 64-bit operation
  • support two displays
  • support Bluetooth in general
  • Bluetooth support for Magic Trackpad, specifically
  • good WiFi support

Of the above, most important would be full support for:

  • Two displays are connected, one via HDMI, one via Thunderbolt
  • A Magic Trackpad via Bluetooth
  • I don't know that this can be answered. What is your definition of best? Best for what or whom? Too ambiguous. – Harv Mar 11 '12 at 23:08
  • clarified this. – scravy Mar 11 '12 at 23:09

From a few minutes of searching, it looks like Ubuntu 11.04 would be a good fit and match most of your requests, and what you were looking to use as well.

64bit would be needed to reach more than 4GB of RAM. And there is a 64 bit version, although (to me) confusingly named AMD64. This would be the version you need.

There are also Magic Trackpad drivers available, and a good writeup available on the Ubuntu Wiki.

I also found a good site documenting installing 11.04 on a MacBook Pro. This should be rather similar to your instal.

Finally, in most cases, choosing the right Linux distro is also a feel and how you like the install. But in accordance with your list of support, it looks like Ubuntu will cover this.


linux mint, whatever the current edition is. It's configured to detect the apple magic trackpad (if you have paired it with the mac mini using os10.x before booting from linux. This is crucial. Booted into Ubuntu using refit and could not type or mouse. I no longer have any wired pointing devices or keyboards at my design studio. Plenty of them at the lab, but no help miles away. Linux Mint worked magically right from the usb stick I made with the unetbootin app. Without Bluetooth pairing.

Step 1: Instead of patching Refit for lion use the refined "rEFInd" at http://sourceforge.net/projects/refind/?source=directory. After installing, your mac will look for other operating systems at boot and provide you with a list of bootable volumes attached to the mac.

Before you restart, you'll need something to boot from. Pull Linux Mint right from the web to a bootable usb key with http://sourceforge.net/projects/unetbootin/

once it has finished downloading and configuring the live disk, restart and when refind comes up, select the usb drive.


I realize the original question may have been posed by someone with more than enough skill to do this all manually, I just wanted to make sure I left my answer with enough info to be helpful to people who haven't done anything like this before.

Hope it helps

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