Debian

Debian on a Mac?

Hi all. Started a new job recently, and I’ve been using a company-provided iMac (2017 model, I can provide more specific specs if needed).

The hardware (especially the display) is amazing, but the software is… less so. I looked at the Debian wiki and found [this page](https://wiki.debian.org/InstallingDebianOn/Apple), which seemingly hasn’t been updated in quite a while.

I was just wondering – should I run into any unexpected issues just using the normal Buster installer? Thanks in advance 🙂


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  • Debian is great for Macs… As long as they don’t have the T2 security chip. That keeps you from being successful.

    You will likely need to install Debian non-free to get the proprietary drivers for the wifi & maybe the touchpad & webcam too. It’s not difficult, just adds a couple extra steps. I’ve put it on 4 older Macs now. Good luck!

  • If your company has a centralized I.T. department I would run it by them first. There may be some mandatory company software needed for the job that doesn’t run on Linux. If not, have at it and load Debian.

  • I’m not sure if Debian is still running a 4.9 kernel, but when I went through this installing BunsenLabs on my company Mac, not even the Nvme controllers were available on the live ISO, so I couldn’t install it even if I wanted to.

    What I ended up doing is using the Ubuntu live ISO that runs 4.19 and installing that, then `dd` my BunsenLabs partitions over the Ubuntu partitions and upgrade the kernel via chroot.

    I also recall the keyboard not working for this either, so I used a dongle to have my live ISO, external HD, mouse and keyboard all connected during the process. Below is the driver I used https://github.com/cb22/macbook12-spi-driver

    Also, the disk needed to be partitioned first, just resize the OSX partition and make some space for Debian ( this way you can dual boot if needed ) as `parted` even when detecting the OSX partition had no idea what to do with it.