Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Install Manjaro on Mac Mini 2009 on Virtual Machine

This Linux distribution gave us the most problem. Our advice is to skip this distro if you do not have much time on hand. We encountered many hardware issue such as system hang during boot up and video driver issue. However, we manage to install Manjaro on virtual machine using Parallel and VirtualBox. Installation on virtual machine went smoothly without any issue. It works well on both virtual machine.

Download Latest Image

Please proceed to Manjaro download site and download the latest release. We can use the image to prepare USB drive or we can use it to install it in virtual machine.

Preparing USB Drive

We have downloaded the recommended release for Manjaro. The best method to make USB drive is to use command dd. We have tried the Ubuntu recommended Etcher but it could not boot from the Mac Mini.

First, prepared a blank USB. Use any partition software to remove any partition from the USB drive. Next, we need to find the name of the USB drive. In Mac OS X, it is named as disk2 to disk3 and so on. In Linux, it will be named as sdb or sdc etc. Please be careful in identifying the correct drive, failure to do so can have dire consequences.

Use the following command:

dd if=<manjaro-software-release-iso-image-name> of=/dev/<disk2 or sdb> bs=1024

  • if is the input path
  • of is the destination
  • bs is the block size used during dd operation. Default is 512 byte.

Once it is done, proceed to boot the USB drive.

Booting Manjaro from USB Drive

Use option key (Win: alt key) to select boot option. If we encounter issue during booting up, we may need to clear SMC and PRAM.


Installing Manjaro

Once we booted up Manjaro, we can proceed to install the OS from the installation icon on the desktop. The welcome screen is as follows:


First option is to select the language. Click Next when done.


Second option is to set the time zone and locale. Click Next when done.


Next, we need to select the keyboard layout. Click Next when done.


Select the disk to install Manjaro and also select Erase disk. You can also perform any customize partitioning as you wish. Click Next.


Next, we need to set username and password. Click Next when done.


A summary page will appear showing all the changes that need to be made. Click Install when done.


A small dialogue box will appear warning you that changes will be made. Make sure that you got the disk label right. Click Install now when ready.


Installation begins and the system starts copying and install files on your designated drive. Once the installation is complete, the following screen will appear. Click Done



Fixing Problem Post Installation (Mac Mini)

Please note that after we installed Manjaro on our Mac Mini 2009 it refuse to boot into the system. Most of the time it hangs, we thought that it was video issue, however, after forcing the system to boot into tty it is still not responsive. We believe that the OS does not work well with our Mac Mini. After many reboot attempt, we manage to boot into the system.

We quickly perform system update and at the same time we upgrade the video driver to Nvidia driver. We also upgrade the kernel to 4.15.8. The system becomes more stable and subsequent reboot did not give us any problem.

After fixing the problem, we have fewer reboot attempts. The system hangs occasionally, but we manage to boot into the system after 2-3 tries.

We will layout the steps we manage to fix the problem.

System Update

Open the terminal and use the following command to perform update:


sudo pacman -Syu


Install Video Driver

First, go to Manjaro Settings Manager. You can find the app by going to Settings section of apps.


Launch the app, it will show various option similar to control panel or settings. Scroll down and select Hardware Configuration.



For Mac Mini 2009 right click and install the driver Nvidia 340x.

Install Kernel

Under Manjaro Settings Manager, select Kernel.



We have tried kernel 4.15.18-3 as shown below.



To switch between kernel, we can select which kernel to boot at the boot up page.

We encounter no wifi issue and we suspect that it was due to the upgraded kernel.

Manjaro is an extremely lightweight OS and thus it is fast. we manage to use Manjaro for few days after we have manage to fix the main issue. We still get occasional hang but we always manage to boot into the system after 2-3 tries.


Manjaro on Virtual Box and Parallel

We have installed Manjaro on VirtualBox and Parallel. Installation went perfectly well with no issue. Please use the same steps as above to install Manjaro on your virtual machine.

Conclusion

Manjaro is an extremely light-weighted OS. While we do not have much success on our old Mac Mini, we still use it on our virtual machine.

Related Post

Please also check out the main post on re-purposing old Mac Mini.  This post also include the installation of Ubuntu on Mac Mini. We have also include hardware specification and other consideration in the main post.

Please also check out the summary result of testing various Linux distribution on Mac Mini (late 2009).
Install Linux on Mac Mini (late 2009) Result Summary


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