Installing Linux on an iMac

Will this allow dual booting of OS X and Deepin or will this completely overwrite OS X leaving you with Deepin as the sole OS remaining on the harddrive?

Would you still recommend Deepin 15.11, a newer release or something else?

INstalling DeepIn will make it the only OS. Everything will be erased before the OS install. I know that Deepin 15.11 works (with a few exceptions of some hardware), but you can try a newer one and see if it works. If something does work better, please comment again and let us know.

Well explained. I think even newbies should have no issues.
1921x1200 resolution... trust Apple, lol.
Never used Deepin, very pretty out the box and must be light-mid to run on those specs. I'm impressed.
Hopefully this article will encourage people to repurpose their old Macs and reduce e-waste.
INstalling DeepIn will make it the only OS. Everything will be erased before the OS install. I know that Deepin 15.11 works (with a few exceptions of some hardware), but you can try a newer one and see if it works. If something does work better, please comment again and let us know.


I appreciate your response and have a few more questions.

Would the computer still respond to start up key commands? Would it be possible for me to use the install disc(I am only using etched ISOs on USB sticks in these scenarios but for this purpose they function exactly the same as the optical media that I don't physically possess) that came with the Mac to now reinstall MacOS 10.5 back and fully over Deepin 15.11(would that be whole hard drive?) and then install MacOS 10.6(taking the 10.6.8 combo OTA) and at that point set the Mac up to dual boot this distro of Linux?

This is my first real dive into a Linux project and I thank you for your time and patience. I was at a dead end until I found you. So this is pretty new territory for me and it it's very exciting!! Which is why I had no idea even though it was self explanatory that I was writing over the "whole drive". What a rush!

I had intended to take the computer up to it's native end of life MacOS, keep the native MacOS and give it dual boot ability for Deepin 15.11, if at all possible. If that isn't feasible I am still very satisfied with the performance or should I say the ability to even preform at all that Deepin has given the computer and if this is where it sits, this is where it will sit. =)


If things go well I might test a higher version Deepin distro. I could not get the most recent distro(20.2.4) to be reconginzed after etching to USB. I tried freshly re-etching, attempted the process again and I did this 3 separate times. It was never recognizable to the Mac during start-up. I then searched for Deepin 15.11 and was able to locate it on distrowatch very quickly. The Deepin 15.11 ISO etched to a USB worked first time like a dream.


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I'm not sure if a dual boot will work or if it would be easy. My drive really wasn't large enough for my taste to have dual boot. If it is possible, Deepin must only use a portion of the drive. The rest of the drive must be left unpartitioned. When MacOS is installed, it may be ok with the partial drive, or it may want the whole thing. Of course, GRUB must be installed for dual boot, if it will work.
If Deeepin has the whole drive partitioned, then MacOS will want to reformat the whole drive and start over. If you have a system that supports Windows or Linux and can run Virtual Box well, I have an article I am working on now to install Mac OS Big Sur to Virtual Box. It runs fairly well on an i3 (i5, i7, r5, r7 would be better).
Primary message is just a big 'Thank you!' Thanks for the inspiration.

I was searching for some replacement hardware as my G5 iMac seemed to be toast. I stumbled across a 24" iMac listed for cheap on Kijiji. The individual had no idea, but it was running Leopard so we speculated it was a match. That was wrong, but it was in perfect condition with 4GB of ram. This old iMac was a full PC with a nice display that can run a firewire recording interface. So I took to cleaning it up, installed Lion and some additional software and it worked like a champ, but no modern browser. Looking on the web this post was top of the list. Anyhow, I was able to use a modified ISO, burn a DVD and install Linux, but only dedicated Linux seemed to work. There were issues getting the second OS to start. Originally I installed Deepin 20.4 from Jan 2022, but it was not leaving my old OSX software to run and I really wanted this to be dual boot. (There was also a mystery about making a bootable USB stick so I didn't have to keep burning DVDs to work from.)

My process in short looks like this. I got varying results depending on the OS, but perhaps I still need to mod the ISO. This made anything I tested boot for install, but the installed OS on the HDD had issues, and I think it's the nVidia card or something in the 64 bit efi files. Anyhow I now have Linux Mint 20.3 running like a champ in dual boot now. The machine is able to run Netflix, and the latest Citrix workspace. So it becomes a great little place to work from home too.

Okay, steps:
1. Download the distribution of interest (amd64)
2. Patch the ISO (May not be required as it boots without, but I later had video issues.)
3. Format USB as Fat 32. (I did this with Disk Utility as Windows 10 seems to hate doing this for anything over 32GB)
4. Use UNetbootin to copy the ISO image to the USB stick (I did this in Windows)
5. Copy bootia32.efi from this jfwells link to the /EFI/BOOT folder on the USB stick (or follow the instructions to create)
6. Boot the Mac holding down the option key. Select the USB EFI and install. (I'm leaving out making free space, etc. I specified swap disk, a /, and a /home using some free space.)

You can use this to install a Live CD to a stick. I suppose if partitioned, a second USB stick could get used for a full install, but that would be slow on USB 2.0.

I have not tested all bits of HW. I don't think there is a way to get proper nVidia support for the newer OS kernel. The nouveau drivers seem adequate, but I can still wish there was something a little better. Things are doing what I want, so I don't think I need to mess around with this anymore.
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Welcome to the forums,
to run a quick check on your hardware, open the terminal put in inxi -Fnx and enter [inxispace-Fnx] for personal use or inxi -Fnxz if you wish to put information on the site for help

OK, now I have time to think, your iMac G5 is probably around the 2006 vintage, in standard form only came with 256 or 512 Mb of ram, unless this has been upgraded to at least 2Gb [preferably 4Gb] you will have difficulty running any Linux.
The 1.6 & 1.8 GHz processors came with NVida graphics [you may need to install after you have installed the OS to hard drive] the super 2ghz processor came with ATI graphics [these should be supported out of the box]
at this age, the iMac may not be UEFI bootable,
You should not make any modifications to the Distributor's ISO files before installing as this can cause other complications, make your modifications once it is installed
This was not a post for help. Just a thank you the whole thing is working. Apart from the built in camera which I have put almost no effort into resolving. I tested modern websites, used Netflix, and installed the Citrix workspace app to get this unit working as a dumb terminal. The good new is that if I'm not using it as a basic station running OSX for recording I can flip over to Linux and watch a Netflix show on it.

The Mac in question is an iMac6,1 with 4GB ram. The only update as I see it was to convince the thing to boot with the 32-bit EFI and then run the 64-bit OS. The Mac really wanted to see bootia32.efi in the /EFI/BOOT folder otherwise the USB is not recognized.

Anyhow, since you seem curious I'll turn it on later today and get you some detailed info. I've been using Unix/Linux for almost 30 years now.
Anyhow, since you seem curious
Always curious when I see something that I have not seen before, one never knows when it may help someone else
Here we go... I'm not running out of ram with 3GB, but Lion recognizes all 4GB. (For my purposes, I don't feel it's worth the troubleshooting inspite of that little inner voice.)

user_name@Linux-Mint-iMac:~$ inxi -Fnx
System: Host: Linux-Mint-iMac Kernel: 5.4.0-96-generic x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc v: 9.3.0 Desktop: Cinnamon 5.2.7
Distro: Linux Mint 20.3 Una base: Ubuntu 20.04 focal
Machine: Type: Desktop System: Apple product: iMac6,1 v: 1.0 serial: <superuser/root required>
Mobo: Apple model: Mac-F4218FC8 v: DVT serial: <superuser/root required> UEFI: Apple
v: IM61.88Z.0093.B07.0706281250 date: 06/28/07
CPU: Topology: Dual Core model: Intel Core2 T7400 bits: 64 type: MCP arch: Core Merom rev: 6 L2 cache: 4096 KiB
flags: lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 ssse3 vmx bogomips: 8645
Speed: 998 MHz min/max: 1000/2167 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 998 2: 998
Graphics: Device-1: NVIDIA G73 [GeForce 7300 GT] driver: nouveau v: kernel bus ID: 01:00.0
Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.20.13 driver: nouveau unloaded: fbdev,modesetting,vesa resolution: 1920x1200~60Hz
OpenGL: renderer: NV4B v: 2.1 Mesa 21.0.3 direct render: Yes
Audio: Device-1: Intel NM10/ICH7 Family High Definition Audio vendor: Realtek driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel
bus ID: 00:1b.0
Sound Server: ALSA v: k5.4.0-96-generic
Network: Device-1: Marvell 88E8053 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet driver: sky2 v: 1.30 port: 1000 bus ID: 02:00.0
IF: enp2s0 state: up speed: 100 Mbps duplex: full mac: XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX
Device-2: Broadcom and subsidiaries BCM4321 802.11a/b/g/n vendor: Apple AirPort Extreme driver: wl v: kernel
port: 1000 bus ID: 03:00.0
IF: wls1 state: dormant mac: XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX
Drives: Local Storage: total: 232.89 GiB used: 10.90 GiB (4.7%)
ID-1: /dev/sda vendor: Seagate model: ST3250824AS Q size: 232.89 GiB
Partition: ID-1: / size: 23.34 GiB used: 10.37 GiB (44.4%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda6
ID-2: /home size: 19.03 GiB used: 522.4 MiB (2.7%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda5
ID-3: swap-1 size: 3.82 GiB used: 0 KiB (0.0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda4
Sensors: System Temperatures: cpu: 45.0 C mobo: N/A gpu: nouveau temp: 56 C
Fan Speeds (RPM): cpu: 997
Info: Processes: 194 Uptime: 31m Memory: 2.91 GiB used: 1.19 GiB (40.7%) Init: systemd runlevel: 5 Compilers: gcc: 9.3.0
Shell: bash v: 5.0.17 inxi: 3.0.38
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Thanks, just a security point, when using inxi to post to a forum finish the string with a z [inxi -Fnxz] this will remove some sensitive information you're currently showing [ the best bet would be to change the report]

That was a nice post. I have a similar iMac but this is a later model, iMac 9.1 released 2009.

2GB ram and NVIDIA graphics.

I installed Linux Mint on it, and it is pretty slow. I tried to installed ArcoLinux and EndeavourOS, both of them failed at installation in calamares. And ArcoLinux wasn't booting properly when selecting NVIDIA and OpenSource boot options.

In EndeavourOS iso booting, the keyboard won't work in GRUB after the first key stroke, so it just (technically) freezes on the GRUB, so I can't select NVIDIA or other options.

It is a bit weird. Does anyone know any workaround? If anyone have some experience with this, I am ready to provide more info on demand. I believe I have given enough info.
your mac has a duo 2 core 2.33Gh or better processor depending on full spec's, but only 2 Gb ram, all the distributions you list will run on 2gb of ram [just] but if you can upgrade it to 4 gb it will be better [max ram for your board should be 2x8gb [but will need checking]
I have a late 2009 iMac 10,1 I was messing with. It's not a good comparison as the ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics is problematic with Linux. I gave up and left that that one as exclusively OSX 10.13. I'm done with it and will likely sell it, or give it to a friend to run Chrome and Zoom meetings. The old iMacs can also double as a second display in target display mode or by other means for light weight uses.

I did see some similar, perhaps early 2009 iMacs, prepped for resale running Peppermint OS. I know nothing about what this individual was up to but had it in mind to look into that next time I'm playing with old stuff.
Many people may like the look and feel of Linux over other Desktop Operating Systems (OS). For this reason someone may want to install Linux on a Mac.

There are many types of Apple Mac systems available. For this article I used an iMac 6.1 from late 2006. The specs on the iMac are as follows:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo 2.16 GHz
  • 24-Inch screen TFT Active Matrix LCD (1921x1200 native) display
  • 667 MHz system bus
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 250 GB Serial ATA (SATA) hard drive
  • DVD±R DL "SuperDrive"
  • Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT video card 128 MB VRAM
  • built-in iSight video camera
  • built-in stereo speakers
    3 USB 2.0 ports
  • Firewire "400" port
  • Firewire "800" port
  • built-in AirPort Extreme
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • mini-DVI

The highest MacOS it can support is 10.6 or Snow Leopard. After I tried using the iMac and installing apps on it I found out that few apps supported Snow Leopard. For this reason I didn’t use the iMac often. Another reason is that the video card has an overheating issue which causes screen anomalies. The system runs better in winter when it is a little cooler.

NOTE: I got this iMac for less than $50. The shipping charge was more than the cost of the all-in-one (AIO) system.

The MacOS is what discouraged me since I couldn’t install very many any apps since it was older. I decided to install Linux and make the system better.

NOTE: Keep in mind that for an upgrade to Linux you must have an Intel processor. Since each Mac can have varying components you may also run into driver issues. For my iMac I was very lucky. The upgrade was smooth except the iSight webcam (which wasn’t too bad).

Linux Installation

I usually use Ubuntu, but I have been hearing a lot about Deepin so I decided to try it on my iMac. I downloaded Deepin 15.11 at

NOTE: Some places on the Internet claim that you cannot install a 64-bit OS other than MacOS on a Mac. This is not true of all systems. On my iMac I can install a 64-bit version of Deepin.

Once you have the ISO downloaded you can use Etcher to extract the image to a USB Stick. The USB Stick should then be ready to boot on any system you wish to install Deepin Linux.

NOTE: Before starting the install I have found an issue with Deepin, which is not an issue with iMac. Do not have a secondary monitor or even a plug in the secondary video port. Deepin will not display the Desktop Environment properly if a secondary video port is detected as active.

Insert the USB Stick in the USB Port of the iMac and power on holding down the Option key and select EFI (second one) once it appears. Press the up arrow on the screen as shown in Figure 1. If you do not have an Apple keyboard then press the Left ALT key instead.

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The iMac should then boot from the USB Stick. GRUB should appear and give you the option to ‘Install Deepin’. If you do not select an option then GRUB will timeout and select the installation option by default.

After everything is loaded you should see a screen similar to Figure 2. The screen is the beginning of the Deepin installation. Select the default language for the Installation as well as the OS. One you have made your selection make sure to check the box at the bottom to accept the End User License Agreement (EULA). After you have completed these tasks click on ‘Next’.

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The next screen, shown in Figure 03, allows you to create a User Account for Deepin. Type in your preferred username. Do not capitalize the first letter (which it will warn you if you do). The System Name will be filled in with your username and ‘-PC’ added to it. You can change this as needed. You will then be required to type in your password and confirm it before clicking ‘Next’.

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Figure 04 shows the next screen which prompt you to select your time zone from a world map. Make the appropriate selection and click ‘Next’.

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The next screen, Figure 05, is where you select the drive to install Deepin. Initially you see the partitions created by MacOS X. You do not want to use the existing partitions. At the top of the screen select ‘Full Disk’ and you will see a screen similar to Figure 06.

View attachment 4675

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Select the disk on which to install Deepin. You have a checkbox at the bottom to encrypt the drive. You can select this if you require it. Once done, select ‘Start Installation’.

The installation took about 14 minutes on my my iMac. Many screens will be shown about Deepin’s abilities. Once done you will be prompted to remove the USB Stick and reboot the system.

Once rebooted you should see a screen similar to Figure 07. The screen shows that Deepin is installed and starting.

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A logon screen should appear and prompt you to enter your password. Type in your password and press the Enter key or the arrow button next to the password prompt as shown in Figure 08.

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After you log in you should see a white box appear on the screen. Music will play and you may see a video playing. My system did not show the video but I could hear the music. Click ‘Next’ to go on with the system configuration.

The next screen allows you to pick a Desktop Mode. You have the choice of ‘Efficient’ or ‘Fashion’ modes as seen in Figure 09.

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Make your choice, which can be changed later, and click ‘Next’.

Your next option is enable or disable window effects as in Figure 10. Click ‘Next’ when you have made your choice.

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The last configuration option, Figure 11, lets you choose your default icons. Once you make your choice click on ‘Done’.

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After the settings have been saved the desktop should appear as shown in Figure 12. You will need to connect to the Internet either through an Ethernet connection or Wi-Fi.

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iSight Webcam

The iSight Webcam requires some tools installed. You will need a file from the MacOSX installation media (which I will attach below but it will need to be unzipped). Once you have the media you can find the file at: “/Mac OS X Install DVD/System/Library/Extensions/IOUSBFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleUSBVideoSupport.kext/Contents/MacOS/AppleUSBVideoSupport”. Place this file in a location that you can type in the full path location. In a Terminal you need to type the following command:

sudo apt install isight-firmware-tools

After the download and installation a window will appear which will ask you if you have the ‘AppleUSBVideoSupport’ file. Answer ‘Yes’ and you will be prompted for the file location. Delete the current path and type in the location of the file and press Enter. The drivers should be extracted from the Apple file you copied. At this point you need to reboot to get the webcam to work.

I tested the iSight video camera using ‘Cheese’. To install ‘Cheese’ you need to open a Terminal and perform the commands:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install cheese -y


I also burned a DVD using Brasero. The program needs to be installed using the following command:

sudo apt install brasero


You need to install some programs for the Bluetooth to work properly. Use the following command to install them:

sudo apt install bluetooth bluez bluez-tools rfkill blueman

Once it is all installed you can list the available Bluetooth devices on your system with the command:

sudo rfkill list

The listing should show that your Bluetooth device is blocked or unblocked. If it is blocked then you need to run:

sudo rfkill unblock bluetooth

Now you can start the Bluetooth service by restarting the system. Once you log back into Deepin you should see an icon in the tray for Bluetooth. It is working, but you may have issues connecting to devices. With my system the Bluetooth adapter only supports Bluetooth 2.0. Older versions of Bluetooth do have issues with newer versions of Bluetooth on devices.


Everything seemed to work with little effort. Deepin is a very nice distro and if you choose ‘Fashion Mode’ during setup it kind of resembles MacOS. My one main issue, other than my overheating video card, is that there is only 1 GB of RAM. Things run smoothly unless I try to multitask by running multiple programs at once. I may try to upgrade my RAM to 2 GB since the system is capable of it. The Bluetooth version issue doesn’t bother me since I rarely use Bluetooth anyway. If I needed Bluetooth to work better I could buy a Bluetooth 5.0 dongle and place it in a USB port.

I hope this article helps you with getting Linux to work on your Mac. Please leave comments below if you have any issues with your Mac. Since there are quite a few models there may be issues with some of them. I hope that this article can help you get the majority of devices working properly.
I want to pretty much do this exact thing, and I have the same iMac, but when I tried to do a test boot of my USB which has Windows XP on it, the drive did not show up in the Boot Menu. Only Mac and Windows 7 showed up, (its running windows 7 rn via bootcamp). Do I need to make the Linux USB with a mac and not a windows computer? Does it matter? Also, my LCD is broken, so I cannot use anything but an external monitor to do this, and according to your note, that's a problem. Am I really gonna have to replace the LCD to accomplish this? If so, I'll probably abort the project, since the LCDs are really expensive these days.
Hello Mikendo!

I'm doing this right now. I used Etcher to flash my drive with the ISO image, and it's working for me. I'm using Linux Mint XFCE 21.2 ("Victoria"), but you should be able to use any bootable ISO image to do this.
I suspect you're going to have to replace the LCD to be able to do this, unless you can patch in a cable onto the motherboard to output to an external display. I'm a software guy, but I don't think that would qualify as a beginner project.
You might be able to find one locally, but you're probably better off finding an old laptop at a local freecycler or via Craig's list.
Hello Mikendo!

I'm doing this right now. I used Etcher to flash my drive with the ISO image, and it's working for me. I'm using Linux Mint XFCE 21.2 ("Victoria"), but you should be able to use any bootable ISO image to do this.
I suspect you're going to have to replace the LCD to be able to do this, unless you can patch in a cable onto the motherboard to output to an external display. I'm a software guy, but I don't think that would qualify as a beginner project.
You might be able to find one locally, but you're probably better off finding an old laptop at a local freecycler or via Craig's list.
When I made the boot usb on windows 10 with etcher it asked me if I wanted to format the usb after I loaded the iso on it. Is that normal ? Should I click format or should I take the usb out right after Etcher completes ?

I connected the Mac to a external display, and removed the internal display completely. So I am able to see the boot menu, but it’s not recognizing my usb.

I might try a DVD next instead.


Thank you for this information, i know this is an older post but i am stuck, and new to all of this. I have a mid 2015 macbook air I5 with 8gb of ram. I installed the latest ubuntu 22.04 and all is seeming to work fine , i even got the wifi and bluetooth working.. i downloaded the zip file and extracted it to the downloads folder. All instructions are perfect and when i am promted to type the path to the extracted file , i cannot seem to point the terminal to the file. I typed: (home/myusername/downloads) and it tells me the file doesnt exisit . Any help would be much appreciated , i would love for the web cam to work . thanks in advance.
i cannot seem to point the terminal to the file. I typed: (home/myusername/downloads) and it tells me the file doesnt exisit .
Don't use parentheses ( ) as part of the path. And capitalize Downloads. Linux is case-sensitive, so you must always be careful about that.

 cd /home/username/Downloads

The "cd" will "change directory" and take you inside the Downloads folder, and you can then use ls (LS, but both lower case letters... means "list" the contents). Or you can list from wherever you are, like this:

ls /home/username/Downloads

It will be rare (if ever) that you find a Linux command that is not lower case. I can't think of any offhand, but maybe there is.

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