Anyone installed Fedora on an iMac?!

Well, I am moving my private computing to Fedora after deciding to leave the Apple FreakoSystem as much as possible. I intended to continue with Mac OS on my business machine just because I can’t yet face the headache of making such a big change for business stuff as well as personal. but today I learned I have no choice.

I have a very powerful (by my standards) 2013 iMac. It’s the top spec i7 27" which I bumped up with a 2TB SSD and 32GB of Ram. My exact specs: iMac "Core i7" 3.5 27" (Late 2013) Specs (Late 2013, MF125LL/A, iMac14,2, A1419, 2639):

I won’t repeat the expletives which fell from my lips on discovering not only am I YEARS out of date on OS (I knew that already) but that this FANTASTIC MACHINE (performance wise) now can’t run ANY supported Apple operating system. And how they bleat about the planet etc. God I detest Apple, anyway, will try to curb my fury here. Point being…

This machine could have a decade or more to live, I am sure it would easily do so but I can’t continue running such an outdated OS for business use.

I refuse to ‘scrap’ it, so I am wondering if Fedora might run on it? I won’t mind a few bugs (beggars can’t be choosers), so long as the basics work. If bluetooth/audio etc is an issue, I can easily work around that with dongles/cables etc. I don’t use wifi at all, so that’s one potential problem avoided.

I can’t afford a ton of downtime, otherwise I would just clone the drive and try Fedora and start playing around. I will do that if necessary, but beforehand I thought I’d ask if anyone in here has experience of running Fedora on any older iMacs?

Thanks for any thoughts/comments

I’m on an iMac14,2, but before retiring I had linux on a Retina iMac “Core i5” at work. Use the LHDB to see what issues there are running linux on your model. Nvidia drivers for my GPU don’t do Wayland, so I mostly use the nouveau driver until I need the Nvidia driver, which comes from the rpmfusion repositories. One you have the Nvidia drivers properly installed it is easy to switch back and forth with a reboot. Apple hardware is quite robust, but after 10 years hardware problems are increasingly likely, so you should plan for the funeral of your iMac (my plan is switching to Apple silicon running asahi linux).

Thanks, but as ever that was mostly over my head :smiley:

I did look on LHDB - couldn’t find any imacs in list of hardware and thought “duh, of course not, it’s apple stuff, nobody does that!” - I better check again!

Don’t understand the Nvidia etc - Wayland, what’s that?

If I can just get basic functionality of Fedora on the iMac, I’ll be over the moon, truly. I love the machine, I’ve had PSUs and screens die before so I know it could happen any minute, but then that’s always true, I wouldn’t be surprised if she ran another 5 years quite happily with a proper OS that respects hardware and prevents waste!

Curious - You plan to get Apple Silicon to run Linux? Why? Performance? (Bear in mind I have no idea what 'silicon" even means, except that its to do with processors, My apple fanatic friend told me a few years back that I “must” get this new Apple Silicon stuff. I am done with giving Apple my money, so I didn’t even look further. I might if the recommendation came from a Linux guy though!

Duh, I am so dumb. I looked on LHDB and thought I’d try a probe, didn’t look at past probes other than to look for “imac”. Stressful day, sorry! I see APPLE in the list, hence, duh!
Will see what I can find, thanks

PS - I could just try it. I have a full Carbon Copy Clone (dang I wish there was a Linux version of that!) so I can play around, then clone my system back easily. May do that as never really know without trying.

PPS - One issue I really do expect (which will be a pain) is I have my iMac 27 in middle, with two other 27" Dell screens, one either side, so I have 3 screens in total. I’d love to be able to replicate that on Fedora, but assuming it’s unlikely at this point, especially as they come out of one of those Apple ports (thunderbolt maybe?)

Very strange. According to EveryMac, my iMac is a “14,2” model. This is a “late 2013”

But on LHDB, all the 14,2 imacs probes are listed as “2015”, which is wrong.

There is only one listing for the i7 with 32GB RAM - Apple Mac-27ADBB7B4CEE8E61... (iMac14,2)
Will have a look and see if I can make any sense of it, usually can’t! …

Looks pretty good to me! Which means it could be awful :slight_smile:

Looks like their database search is broken. Try Apple iMac 14,2. I get 68 probes. You want to look for probes that match your hardware without worrying about the linux distro, as hardware support for systems this old is mostly from the kernel. Very new systems that explicitly support linux often come with drivers that aren’t yet widely available.

One note, both my work iMac and the one I use now had the hybrid SSD with a (slow) laptop IDE drive. My current iMac was being used by my wife until the SSD overheated. I’m running Fedora on the SSD and have not encountered overheating. I have also run Fedora from an external USB3 SSD – it is faster than the internal IDE drive. With my work system, I installed linux on a high-end external Thunderbolt drive.

Areas of concern with older systems are networking, sound, and graphics.

iMacs from 2012-2014 or so used Nvidia graphics hardware. Linux support for Nvidia depends on proprietary drivers from Nvidia or reverse engineering to create open source drivers (currently, nouveau, but people are working on more capable drivers).

You should look at How to know if you’re ready to switch from Mac to Linux?. This is a few years old, and one major change has been in the GUI environment from Xorg to Wayland. Xorg is old and has become a maintenance nightmare, so its day are numbered. Wayland supports modern GUI apps and eliminates some insecure by design problems with Xorg.

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AFAIK, Linux does not support the early, proprietary, thunderbolt ports (Apple also stopped supporting it on recent MacOS). One reason I’m planning to replace the 2012 iMac.

Thanks so much for this. So Wayland is what I’ve heard referred to as a “windowing system”, is that right?

I remember the word “XORG” from when I tried to set up TigerVNC or something similar to help an elderly relative with a machine remotely once upon a time! Other than that, it’s all double dutch to me, but I understand now, so Fedora is now running Wayland, whatever it exactly is :slight_smile:

Hey, I found out something incredible today. Can’t believe in all my years on Mac (and hating Apple a fair bit for much of that time) I have never heard of this.

Have you heard of OCLP? (OpenCore Legacy Patch)

I watched a video by one of its devs and was amazed. It may also mean I don’t have to worry about trying to convert my entire business machine (imac) to Fedora immediately. I can run any OS on it i want, and whilst the process isn’t completely idiot-proof, it is at the higher end of (but within) my abilities.

Basically it’s a patch and it’s built into the USB installer you build for whatever OS you want (Sonoma even, not that I’d want that :smiley: ). A few steps, then biuld the installer which I’ve done a million times. Boot and install the newer OS obtaining all the security patches necessary.

In fact I am so excited by it, having several old macs around the home (tv machine, wife’s shopping machine, ALL out of date and insecure therefore), that I am going to bag an ebay bargain, a nice old out of date machine with plenty of performance hardware (people sell it off cheap like I DID with my nice Macbook recently), and use OCLP to give it a whole new lease of life. Scroo yoo Apple! :smiley:

Just thought I’d mention, I can’t imagine you aren’t aware, but just in case…

I’ve read about OCLP, but I need to stick with configurations my colleagues either are or will be using. Most of them work for large enterprises and have to work with the what the big vendors are selling.

Ah yes, not suitable for OCLP really. Home use is though, and I certainly intend to give it a whirl and revive a cupboard full of old machines! I was impressed with the project, I love hearing about stuff like that! (What originally led me to Linux, and then Fedora)