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I have a 12" Linux laptop with HDMI, DisplayPort and VGA ouputs. I can successfully export a display of a resolution up to 2048x1536 to any vanilla display or TV.

I also have a 27" Mid-2010 top of the line iMac with a Lynnfield quad-core i7, on which Linux is also installed.

I have seen that two Macs can, since OSX Lion, export display to each other.

Can I reproduce the same feat ? That is, I want to export display to my 27" Mac, is that possible ?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Using Target Display Mode the sending computer can be using any OS :

To use an iMac (27-inch, Mid 2010) or iMac (27-inch, Late 2009) in Connect any computer or other device with a Mini DisplayPort to your 27-inch iMac using a Mini DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort cable or using a converter

However the iMac being used as a display should be running OSX. It does not function even if the iMac is running Windows under Bootcamp with Apple provided drivers, so Linux should be right out :

  1. Can I use Target Display Mode or Target Disk Mode with Boot Camp and Windows 7 using a Thunderbolt-capable iMac?

No. Target Display Mode and Target Disk mode are not supported using Boot Camp and Windows 7 on a Thunderbolt-capable iMac.

The alternative would be to use remote viewer software such as VNC. Or even to login to your laptop directly over the network using XDMCP.

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Doesn't target display mode require the iMac to be running OSX? – Marcus Chan Jan 27 '13 at 16:52
Oops, sorry you're right. Must've read over the part where he's running Linux on the iMac. I'll edit the answer accordingly. – Tyr Jan 27 '13 at 18:39
very complete, thanks a lot ! – huitseeker Jan 27 '13 at 20:10

After a lot of fiddling around, I was successful at getting TDM (2011 27" iMac) to work with my 2013 MacBook air running Fedora 20.

Install the ARandR GUI (yum install arandr) and connect the two machines with the thunderbolt to MiniDisplayPort cable. The cable has to be connected prior to booting Linux (at least for my Fedora install) or it won't be recognized as output.

Press Command-F2 on the iMac and open the ARandR utility simultaneously. I think Apple's TDM software is set up to avoid recognizing non-OS X devices as input, but clicking Outputs-DP1-Active in ARandR before the iMac display returns it will trick it into recognizing the display permanently. Selecting "Apply" will then enable the external display.

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