Ubuntu on an old Mac Mini

I have a load of old mac Mini’s, about 20 in total, ranging from 1.5 tp 1.83 processors. Both Intel and the one before that, which the name of I can no longer remember! PowerPC?

Anyway, the newest is the 1.83 version, so I’m thinking I might fire Unbuntu on it and use it in the workshop.

It’s been years since I messed with uBuntu or anything Linux. I’ve done a bit of Googling about the 1.83 and Linux and the comments are not good, so I’m wondering if anyone here has experience?

Out of interest what are you planning to do with it?

I have a Cube which is frustratingly obsolete, yet is built like an avionics computer. Last time I fired it up I couldn’t even find a modern browser for the tinterweb.

I do hope that obsolete Apple hardware with perfectly working HW can someday find a niche use that rewards those who refuse to let them go.

Plan is to get a browser working on it, then use it for streaming: Netflix when on the spin, music when doing work out there, etc.

I did have a smart tv out there for this, but I gutted it (workshop) and reorganised over Christmas, and that TV got broken :(

So, I’m thinking the Mini to an old 32in monitor instead of buying a new tv.

I would check what Netflix compatible browser you can use with mini and also if it will drive the 32" monitor.

I went as far as modifying a PC AGP graphics and reflashing its firmware card for my cube to make the graphics output a reasonable, at the time, landscape display.

Or just do the sensible thing and get a £20 FireStick.

I have a fire stick. But that won’t work with the monitor. It has no audio out, so no way to connect it to the speaker setup.

As it is, some more Googling tells me I have no c2d minis. So only 32bit. So I’m more or less wasting my time!

I’ll head to my lockup and grab an imac, pretty sure I’ve an old 2013 there which will do the job, just means “hiding” itsomewhere so there isn’t two screens, and of course trying to keep it away from the dust

There is probably an audio output on the TV that you can use. My cheap Toshiba TV has a digital OP that feeds an amp. The clever thing about the Fire remote, is that the remote On/Off button can be configured to control any remote controlled amp (i.e. turn on/off and Vol up/down) and also switch the correct input on the amp for the TV. How cool is that?

OK, you really need to read posts.

I’m not using a TV now, the one i was using (with a Fire Stick, broke), I’m using a monitor, and it has no audio out.

Another option for old Intel Macs (sorry won’t work for PowerPC ones) is to turn them into “Chromebooks” using Cloudready
I have done this with several old laptops, and one ancient MacMini, and they work great! Modern browser support, great for school kids that use Google Docs.


That looks interesting.

How old was the Mini you used?

I did this a few years ago with one of the first Intel Mac mini’s, an “Early 2006 Core Solo” version (the first Mac mini with Intel chips) Worked great. Finally retired it about a year ago when I upgraded my son with a newer iMac, which may also become a “Chrome” computer soon, as it can’t upgrade past “High Sierra” anymore.

Thanks. I’ll look into it, cheers for the heads up.

Rather late to this thread - the original intel Mac mini (1.4Ghz from memory?) would happily drive full HD monitors, so no doubt at all that slightly later ones will probably drive 4k quite comfortably. I had the first generation in the living room, streaming TV to a 30" with a TV stick and connected into the hifi - I ripped all my CDs losslessly in the early noughties, so this was the perfect way to get continuous playback.

One lesson learned - the mini died from overheating at just over 3 years - by placing them on a couple of small dowels, pencils or strips of wood to allow airflow, they don’t overheat and will last indefinitely .