Operating a Mac doesn’t mean you’re limited to its operating system. Maybe you want a faster computer. Maybe you want more operating freedom and are craving an open source alternative. Or maybe you want the ability to customize your computer. If so, installing Linux on your Mac is one way to assert control. And with technology pundits such as TechCrunch’s Scott Merrill predicting the expansion of free software, installing Linux on your Mac allows you to become part of the open source software community. It frees you from having to adhere to Mac’s Mountain Lion OS and allows you to create any desktop environment you want, all while providing superior security, according to Katherine Noyes at pcworld.com.
Lifehacker’s Alan Henry points out that Mountain Lion tries to bridge the user experience between iOS and OS X. For Apple fanboys, this may be a fine thing. For the casual Mac user who wants the reliability of a Mac without the app-style maneuverability, Linux offers a middle ground. Asserting control over your Mac is as easy as going Linux. Learn what Linux can do and how to begin using this open source Mac alternative.
You don’t have to give up your Mac when going Linux. You’ll need an installation CD — Henry recommends the latest version of Linux — and a rEEIt boot manager. Download and install the boot manager on your Mac. Then reboot to test it. When you see sign-in options for both Mac and Linux, the installation was a success. Next, create a hard drive partition using the Disk Utility. Give Linux as much space as you want — at least the minimum system requirements.
Once you’ve done this, reboot with the installation CD in and select the Linux option. Either test out Linux from the CD in your new partition, or click the install button to install Linux. Once it’s installed, visit the Ubuntu community (or whatever version of Linux you’ve chosen) to get an overview of available apps, and start downloading. You can still boot up in OS X for the full Mac experience, but booting in Linux can speed up a slow Mac and allows you greater customization over your experience, according to Henry.
Benefits of Linux
It can seem scary to switch from something you know to an operating system few people you know use, Noyes notes. However, benefits by switching to Linux include:
- Customization: Don’t like the default interface? Change it. Linux offers users the opportunity to download and try out as many different versions of Linux they’d like and to customize the desktop environment, as well. If you don’t like the way something displays or behaves, try a new flavor of Linux.
- Ease of use: There’s a learning curve with any new technology, but Linux is surprisingly easy to use, according to Noyes.
- Security: While Macs have had a reputation for increased security over Windows, they are increasingly at risk for viruses, according to Noyes. Linux offers enhanced security, which makes it a recommended system for sensitive applications such as online banking applications.
- Open source: Linux is absolutely free to use and modify, which lends the operating system to customization by users. This makes Linux beneficial for programmers.
- Linux virtual private servers: With Linux installed, Mac users may use Linux virtual private servers to run their websites, such as Linux VPS from US company MyHosting.com.
- Skill boost: Depending on your line of work, Linux knowledge may be a perk.