Other operating systems/containers (Linux, Docker, etc.) on Apple computers

Manjaro

Continuing the discussion from What makes you (still) excited about a new OS version?:

I like tinkering, to a certain extent. I also like that it’s free, and performance is really good, even on modest hardware (e.g. Raspberry Pis on up). I also like seeing the progress that has been made over the years in terms of features, usability, ‘out of box experience’, etc. Manjaro specifically? I’ll have to think on that. I suppose it’s kind of an aesthetic. It’s built on Arch, which is a very ‘down to the metal’ distribution (and a pain to install, in my opinion), but Manjaro simplifies and automates a lot of that. You still get the performance of a lean distribution, without the heartache of configuration.

Part of the appeal too is that it’s less distracting. I suppose that’s on me, and my choices, but I just don’t install a lot of stuff on it. No dingy things to distract, things are easier to find, etc.

I probably need to declare macOS bankruptcy at some point and start fresh, putting things where I think they should go now (in 2022!).

Same here! Linux and Docker are pretty niche for the majority here.

Docker

Docker containers are the bomb! I used and use several in my data analysis for my dissertation. As I’m sure you know, they take the pain of installation and configuration away and give you a black/glass box that just works. I only wish they didn’t run as root so admins would be more willing to install them on servers. Kubernetes might be better, but I haven’t used them. I think Singularity (now Apptainer TIL) containers also remedy this issue.

What do you use @MevetS , anyone else?

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I use the several combinations of Apple hardware - Non-apple Software extensively:

  • Macbook Pro 2015 (15")
    Runs Majaro Gnome and several docker containers and VM’s (KASM, Kali Linux, Kali playgrounds)

  • Macbook air 2011
    Runs Ubuntu 22.04 LTS. This makes this laptop lightning fast again, and support is ensured until 2027 so if the hardware stays alive we can use it for 5 more years.

  • iMac (2018, 21")
    Runs macOS Venture beta with Docker and sveral virtualbox VM’s (pihole/Ubuntu server code python environment)

I agree, though I think most of the people that come here would really benefit from looking over the walled garden fence every once in a while. Apple runs their cloud infrastructure on Linux systems probably, so why shouldn’t we?

Brining in other tools and operating systems to support our mac usage I think is a huge benefit, and only enhances my Mac experience.

I run several raspberry pi’s and some ProxMox “homelab” pc’s, and they all run self hosted software to support my Mac/iPad/iPhone workflow.

I sometimes feel the MPU podcast has gone very stale on topics, it seems mostly podcasting setup, writing setup and homescreen setup, none of which interest me at all. There is an entire exciting world of options to enhance your Mac experience with Docker, Linux solutions and Homebrew. Spending some time on this would really add to becoming a Mac power user.
But probably that’s just me…

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I have an old Intel Mac Mini ( circa 2012 ? ) that I am templing to reuse as a Mac Server or install Manjaro. I have no experience on Manjaro, can I ask whether you guys wipe out the Mac OS and install Manjaro or have it set up in a separate partition or like a virtual machine?

Depends on the situation, I did wipe out macOS on my 2011 air, but kept it on my 2015 pro since that one does still get frequent firmware updates through macOS. Also depends on how comfortable you are working with bootloaders (only an issue if/when you want to go back to macOS without nuke&pave)

In general if you’ve got good backup, why not do the complete install? If you need to you can go back to macOS via internet recovery and that will give you a nice clean install.

btw: If you want to use your mini as a server might I suggest putting Ubuntu 22.04 LTS server on it? That’s very very stable, no bloat, modern and will last you for at least 5 years from a support perspective.

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this sounds like a good idea, I think this gives me the best of both worlds, keeping the mac mini as a home server and have Linux distro to play around with.

thanks for the tip

I can’t really speak to installing on an Intel Mac.

After unsuccessfully trying to install Arch and Manjaro, I was able to install Asahi Linux on my 2020 M1 MBP. It took care of setting up partitions, letting me choose how much space to keep for macOS.
I had some allocation errors (from macOS) that required my booting into recovery mode and running disk utility to repair. After that, it was smooth sailing.

Since the install, I can hold the power button for boot options and choose macOS or Asahi Linux. Really well done. I was prepared for my macOS partition to be lost, but it wasn’t.

Linus Torvalds (the father of Linux, for the uninitiated), recently used an M2 MBP to post a kernel release. That’s a Big Deal™ (in context), as it is effectively an endorsement of Apple’s Arm products, and should mean more Apple support from the Linux community.

Linux has run on Arm (like the Raspberry Pi) for quite some time, but volunteers going to the trouble of reverse engineering Apple’s hardware to write drivers and supporting hardware is (again) a Big Deal™.

h/t @ChrisUpchurch for letting me know about Asahi Linux.

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I currently don’t use these tools much at all. Which is why I was hoping for threads like this, and the others spawned from it, and for the podcast to start taking about them So I can learn how and why people are using them, and if it would make sense for me to do so as well.

My question would be, “why is that?”. This is a knowledgable tech community. Is the disinterest because folks have tried these tools and found them lacking? Or is it lack of knowledge about them and how they could be used? Or are they truly of no interest to the target audience of MPU?

There is quite a backlog of MPU shows and I’ve not looked through all of them, but I don’t see such tools ever being discussed. And I think that is a disservice to the listening audience. Power Users should know of all the tools available to them. There are 52 MPU shows a year. I don’t think having one or two devoted to tools outside of the purely Apple world is asking all that much.

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For me, it’s because I spent my career on Unix and Windows and, while it’s nice to have the background, I am foolishly happy to at long last get everything I want done on a Mac. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I don’t know what David and Stephen are thinking, but I know that the format of tech/product-category-focused episodes tends to proceed from introductory to more advanced. The learning curve preceding productive use is a bit steeper when messing with Linux on macOS. That doesn’t mean they can’t do it, but it does mean more time writing and organizing the show or searching for the right guest.

Also…as a user, there’s nothing wrong with talking about Apple-oriented stuff here and talking about Linux and Windows elsewhere. I wouldn’t read too much into the low number of people talking about how much they like Linux or Docker on the forum. (Though I do agree some self-hosted web apps would be relevant to some people who haven’t tried them out yet.)

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Yeah, I get it. But it makes for a narrow definition of “Power User” methinks.

Or maybe just a narrow subset of Mac Power Users? And I agree, there is nothing wrong with that.

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I am looking forward to seeing what VMs and Docker can do on the M chips. I thought I saw the M2 had a special virtualization chiplet/part but I haven’t been able to find any record of that, so it may be my imagination.

It seems like it is still in infancy. Right now I run a ‘server’ on Windows with a combo of various Apps (Plex, Adguard Home), VMs (Jitsi, Homebridge) and Docker (Jellyfin, Media Tracker, Minecraft), but it would be great to consolidate that all into one unit, as I do feel the weight of the Windows overhead. I tried Unraid for a month and it was great, except I still wanted to run Windows for gaming and a OTA commercial cutting app.

I have an M1 mac laptop, so it doesn’t make much sense to run that as a server. But I hope that someday it could all be run on a mac mini.

EDIT: This is what I was thinking about. It’s not the m2 chip, but Ventura will bring some more virtualization features.

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Howard Oakley has recently written a series of articles on virtualization on the Mac.

I’d have no problem going this route if I needed to, but I just don’t have any use for it. I get all the “missing links” that I need from MacPorts (and I acknowledge that HomeBrew is just as good, and maybe better in some respects).

I ended up installed Manjaro on an old Windows PC box as bare metal as a trial. This box has an old Intel i7 (only 2 core I believe), 8gb RAM and 120 gb SSD.

I have firefox, 1password, Obsidian, Zettlr and Upnote installed on this machine. All running very smoothly.

Now I have to figure out what to do with this box, I guess I can plug in an external USB drive for file sharing.

What else do you guys do with Home server or Docker, etc?

I’m thrilled to see a post like this on MPU! All my old hardware eventually gets some GNU/Linux distro before it is retired. A low overhead desktop environment can bring an old laptop or computer back to life in an instant.

I have an old 2012 MacBook Air that I use for distro-hopping still today. It has Fedora Kinoite installed right now. My servers are all running Debian with Proxmox VE installed for KVM virtualization.

What makes me excited about these operating systems?

  1. Support for ZFS
  2. Tools like Snapper/Timeshift/Zypper that allow you to roll back to a snapshot.
  3. Tiling Window Managers like Bspwm and i3.
  4. Package Managers like apt, pacman, and yum.

A couple of notes:

It is possible to run the docker daemon in rootless mode (docs)! We use docker for part of our SaaS infrastructure where I work.

@JKoopmans - +1 for Proxmox!

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