Installation on Mac mini

I was a CentOS user from the days of 5.1, using old Dell server hardware. I am trying to repurpose some old Mac mini hardware orphaned by Apple, a 2011 model with 2.5 GHz i5, 4 gigs memory, and 500 gig disk for starters. I took a three pack of identical 16 gig flash disks and used Balena Etcher for macOS to write the Rocky 8.4 ISO onto one of them. It wrote and validated trouble free. I plug it into the mini and held the option key and when the list of boot devices came up, the flash disk showed up as EFI_boot. When I select it, the system freezes. The flash disk booted a Dell laptop into the installer without issue. For another test, I took a second 16 gig flash disk identical to the first and wrote the Security Onion 2.3.52 ISO onto it, same method as before. It shows up as WINDOWS in the mini’s list of bootable devices, and selecting it boots into the Security Onion installer. Any guesses why it works but the Rocky image freezes the system? I have a really nice 2011 quad core i7 mini server that Apple won’t support any more, and sure would love to get Rocky to run on it. Any suggestions are welcome.

Update: I now have RL running on a mini server 2010 model and the 2011 desktop model that I mentioned, right on the metal, no underlying OS or virtualization needed. Just like I wanted. Next will be the 2011 server box.

Can you share technical details how you got it working.

I will be in the same situation before long and would be interested to know how you did it.

I also have an external Thunderbolt disk enclosure attached, I’m guessing that would not be able to be carried across to a setup where Rocky Linux has a to the metal install on the Mac Mini.

I received nothing but crickets in this topic up until now so I assumed there was no interest. Anyhow, I canned the idea of using a flash disk containing an ISO image and just wrote the minimal install ISO onto a regular ol’ DVD and connected a USB optical drive with it inside. Holding down the option key at boot showed the DVD as WINDOWS and selecting it booted right into the install menu. Test install media didn’t work but selecting install ran the installer, and zapping all the macOS partitions and letting it do the install worked like on any other Intel box. Once it installed, I got Gnome installed to have a regular desktop like I recall having using CentOS on Dell hardware.

BTW I see messages such as Thunderbolt and Apple keyboard detected flash by during startup so there is possibly more support for on-the-metal Mac hardware installs than you would expect.

Sounds promising, I might even be able to the external Thunderbolt HDD enclosure working, that would be neat. Of course actual driver support to mount the drives, as RAID even, is an unknown at this point :wink:

New update: Since I have the full Gnome environment running on my mini’s, doing View Updates in the Details section inside Settings told me about OS updates, so I hit download then install. After the boxes were done grinding for like 55 minutes, checking Details told me that they were running 8.5. Boy that’s about as simple as doing updates with macOS. Two boxes down, one to go.

I just got done installing RL 8.5 on a new 2012 mini that I got hold of, a 2.6 GHz i7 model with 16 gigs of memory and 1 TB hard disk. I noticed that Thunderbolt shows up in the Devices under Gnome as shown:

By the way that box runs RL quite quickly. I’m starting to get quite the RL server farm using orphaned Apple hardware.

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This thread was helpful to get a Mac mini (2012) running Rocky. When creating your installation media on a USB stick using a Macintosh running MacOS, do not forget to convert the downloaded ISO image to IMG using hdiutil.

hdiutil convert -format UDRW -o <path-to-Rocky-8.5-x86_64-dvd1> <path-to-Rocky-8.5-x86_64-dvd1.iso>

Then write the resulting .dmg file with dd to your USB stick. Note that the first file path is the OUTPUT file, the second is the path to the downloaded installation image. This extra step saved me from needing to find a DVD drive and media.

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