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I am interested in running Linux on my Mac Pro (8-core, 24 GB RAM).

  • What are the main caveats one should expect? Can all hardware be used natively after booting, say Linux or FreebSD?
  • Does Solaris run on this type of machine?

My use case is mostly Mail, instant messaging, web browsing and network simulation (hence this machine) and I value interactivity under full system load the most. How is interactivity under full load in Linux? My experiences with Debian "lenny" showed delays when task switching of up to 1.5 seconds. May I should look at FreeBSD?

Any tips greatly appreciated.


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migrated from Oct 22 '10 at 12:32

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

closed as not a real question by Bobby, random Oct 23 '10 at 13:42

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I'm tempted to vote to close, because this is a mere subjective topic and might lead to ugly arguments. Your best bet is to just try out other operating systems and different Linux Distributions and get your own opinion. – Bobby Oct 22 '10 at 12:50
Can you explain what you see as the shortcomings of Mac OS X? – mfinni Oct 22 '10 at 12:51
Question is too wide in topic and should be edited or closed. Maybe ask for general system benchmarks of various system tasks? – Daniel Beck Oct 22 '10 at 12:59
You're already running "unix native" on your machine. What you do want to improve about it? We - or you, at any rate - need a better handle on that to answer this. – JRobert Oct 22 '10 at 13:09
About a couple of decades ? MacOSX arrive in 1999 and there is absolutely no comparaison betweem OSx and previous MacOS, a bit like Win 95 and windows 3.1. OSX is a Unix not the previous ones. – Louis Oct 22 '10 at 14:00

MacOSX is a modified version of the BSD's under the hood, a mix of FreeBSD, NetBSD, and some microkernel stuff to spice it up a bit. The userspace and UI stuff is custom to MacOS X of course, but all the rest is still there.

What are you missing? If it's some Linux apps, there are various ways to get it. Look at MacPorts or Fink I think playing with FreeBSD is a waste of your time, it pretty much is FreeBSD. Linux is fun, but not sure what you gain by going to it.

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i am a "global" unix user. Linux, Opensolaris, and the 3 open source bsd. MacOSX is the best Unix i know. Linux is fun but you'll never use 100% of your video capacity.

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What do you mean with 'video capacity', and is this something bad? – Bobby Oct 22 '10 at 12:48
Linux video driver are not make to use 100% of the monster video card that Apple use in there mac. For example the linux native nvidia driver is far to be fast and the nvidia one is now pretty old. It is normal linux is not made for people using lot of graphics resources. – Louis Oct 22 '10 at 12:56
It is normal linux is not made for people using lot of graphics resources. Excuse me? That's not normal...there are a lot of companies out there which do rendering and video editing on Linux. But if you mean that some drivers aren't that optimized in comparison to the Windows ones, that's true (the closed-source nvidia drivers f.e.), yes. – Bobby Oct 22 '10 at 23:10
Hi Bobby, doing video rendenring for a movies as absolutely no relation with a personal computer video card. You take a cluster of n machines to execute the video rendenring and those programs are using the CPU of the linux machines not GPU. I worked with a similar cluster we have the lightest video card possible. – Louis Oct 23 '10 at 8:14

I hear what you're saying. OS X is a good attempt, but there's still a lot of annoying rough edges, etc. I put a lot of time into it myself before deciding it really didn't fit my workstyle.

I've had good success with YellowDogLinux on older Macs. Not sure what the current state of hardware support is though. Typically with Linux you do give up some hardware support. Usually graphics acceleration (as others have noted). There also used to be a NetBSD that would run on Mac hardware. Not sure what all issues arise because of the switch to PC hardware but with EFI BIOS. I suspect that Solaris probably won't run. It's hard enough to get to run on standard consumer level PCs.

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