Installing Fedora on a 2007 iMac (again), what should I do?

A door-to-door couriers is always necessary for things like these. Venezuelan mail services are the most unreliable thing on this country (that’s saying a lot) for locals shipments, so anyone with a brain avoids using it, specially for international shipments like these. The iFixIt kit was the logical next step on extending the useful life of my iMac, switching from a mechanical HDD to an SSD will make a huge difference for sure, and this kit has every tool you need to get the job done… but the plan on the software side is another deal.

I started my Linux journey a year and a half ago on an old 2007 iMac (7,1 – Core 2 Duo – 4GB RAM) using Pop!_OS, I jumped to Fedora after I fell in love with the community, even installed Fedora on my laptop and my Compute Stick. Sadly, I had to revert back to a debian-based system on the iMac because of some issues witht the Broadcom wireless drivers after a kernel update… I don’t blame Fedora, I blame Apple.

Pop!_OS was a great experience, but using Fedora on my laptop made me fall in love with what Gnome has been doing lately and COSMIC (System76’s heavily modified take on Gnome) is diverging from that… and will be a totally different thing once System76 finishes developing their own desktop environment from the ground-up (in Rust).

To be honest, I’m still having that sting on my side with Fedora and the iMac and I want to try again. So I was trying to remember what went wrong last time, what could I do differently. I think my first mistake was not having a plan, secondly, using Google to search for answers instead of this space (you rock, guys). This time I’ll get it right.

  1. First things first: Does anyone here use Fedora on Apple hardware? An iMac or a MacBook with Intel processors?
  2. Second: Is it a good idea to use Silverblue instead of the regular Workstation edition? The idea of easily rolling back to a previous state if the WiFi breaks looks tempting even if I don’t fully comprehend the concept of an “immutable system” and the consequences of using that.
  3. Third: Is installing the broadcom-wl package from RPM Fusion enough to keep things rolling?

I’m all eyes and ears and I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks in advance!

It does happen occasionally that a kernel update will cause some device to stop working. When that happens, the simplest workaround for the short term is to version lock your kernel to the working version. You can get away with continuing to update the rest of the Fedora Linux system but keeping the older kernel for a short while until the upstream kernel is patched to work with the device again.

I traded up from an iMac core 2 duo to a newer model. I normally use wired networking, but when I need wifi I have a cheap wifi dongle and also a wifi to wired bridge for cases where linux fails with the internal wifi. Given that linux is free and old iMacs are cheap, I can afford to invest in a few gadgets to keep them working when linux has a problem.

I’ve recently installed Fedora (37) on three Macs.

  • MacBook Air 5,1 (Mid 2012)
  • iMac 15,1 (Late 2014)
  • MacBook Air 17,1 (Early 2015)

I guess these are all quite a bit newer compared to your machine so mileage may vary…

On the older MacBook Air the installation process just worked, wifi drivers were installed, my wifi network was found and connected. No problem at all for me.

On the newer MacBook, post installation there was no wifi. I needed to connect to the network with a display port to ethernet adaptor. There was a bit of mucking around installing the broadcom-wl package but once installed, the wifi device was found, networks found and connection was successful.

I periodically lose wifi connection on this machine. I DO NOT believe this is a Linux issue. When this machine was running Mac OS it would also periodically (less often to be fair) lose wifi connectivity. In both Linux and Mac OS, turning wifi off and back on restores connectivity,

The iMac has a wired connection but I notice now I look there is no wifi available. So it looks like it will also required the broadcom package to be installed if I want to connect over wifi.

I’m using standard workstation. All machines were successfully updated to Fedora 38 without issue.

To answer your third question. Yes, in my experience, once the broadcom-wl package is installed wifi works OK.

Quick Update: The iFixIt kit has finally arrived. It has everything you need to replace the HDD with an SSD.

I’ll keep ypu posted.

I finally did it!

The instructions from IFixIt were clear and the process was quite easy (the newer ti iMac, the more difficult it gets… you know, Apple being Apple).

I installed Fedora Workstation 38, tweaked it, installed broadcom-wl, updated it and version-locked the kernel by editing the dnf.conf file after wi-fi was working fine.

Thank you, @glb for the tip and @sar6e for showing me it can be done without a problem.

Well done! Glad to hear you were successful.