Mac Pro Early 2008 -> Linux

Please share all of your experiences converting Mac Pro Early 2008 tower here! From preparing for the installation processes, choice of distro, alternative software, to hardware issues during and after installation. I need all the help I can get! Thank you all! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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I installed Mint on my mid-2007 iMac a few weeks ago. I’m sure the process would be very similar.
Most important thing is to back up all your data on an external drive that is formatted to something that is not the Mac proprietary. FAT32 seems to be the most universal.
The OS installation was easy. The only thing I had to install separately was the WiFi driver. The hardest part was the verification process that needs to be done on the OS download before installing it on the thumb drive.

@DadTheTinkerFairy, thank you for the tips. I am being very careful so I want to understand each step and be as prepared as I can be.

I am currently looking into the best way to back up my entire computer… how did you back up your Mac? Did you use the “image” in the Disk Utility or some other software? Did you back it up so you can recover to the Mac OS (Yosemite) as it was or just saving the data/files you need?

I am still actively using this old Mac and have lots of stuff on it… scared if things go wrong I won’t have anything left…

Also, Yosemite is too old to use Etcher… so bootable USB is a problem for me as well, more detail help is much appreciated!

Here is what I did.
Bought a hard drive enclosure that has both FireWire 800 and USB3. Our older Macs only have USB2, so being able to use the FireWire 800 is much faster for data backup.
Bought a hard drive 2x the size of the internal drive. Installed the hard drive in the enclosure.
Connect the drive to the Mac and use the disk utility to partition the drive in half with one section formatted for Mac OS and the other formatted to FAT32.
Use the built in Time Machine utility to backup the entire system on the Mac OS partition. The system can be completely restored with this backup if necessary.
After that, copy all the files you want to save onto the FAT32 partition. This partition can be read by any Windows or Linux system so the files can be transferred to anything.

I didn’t have this option with my iMac, but your Mac Pro probably has room to add another internal hard drive that you could just install Linux onto.

I don’t know about the problem with Etcher. I actually used my wife’s PC to download and create the USB installer with Etcher. I know there are other programs available to do this, maybe one of them would work or you could order a thumb drive with Linux already installed on it.


Wow, thank you so much for giving me all the details.

I happen to have a very large external USB to back thing up the way you did. Once I did that, I am going to make a bootable USB for testing/installing, found which works on Mac OS 10.10. Haven’t tried it yet. :crossed_fingers:

Will post my progress as I go…

For all who are still running Yosemite (OS 10.10) on their old mac, NG on UNetbootin and Etcher.

Luckly, I did get Linux Mint working on my Acer Chromebook 14, downloaded Etcher, made it executable, then clicked on it, follow simple instructions, and made a bootable USB.

Then I booted that USB on my Mac Pro tower!!! I didn’t think I can make a bootable USB on a Chromebook for a Mac…

BTW, when I booted from the USB to test drive Mint. Printers, graphic tablet, external sound all work!!! Problem with internal sound and keyboard though…

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