This article looks at the current state of Linuxâ„¢ and NetBSD support on the Mini. If you need all the hardware and options fully supported, these open source options won't do it for you … yet. But, if all you need is a stable kernel, a C compiler, and network support, the code is high-quality and the price is unbeatable. NetBSD and Yellow Dog Linux have both begun to support the Mac Mini. Peter Seebach looks at open source operating system options on this new contender in the embedded PowerPC platform space.
Yellow Dog Linux (YDL) is based closely on RedHat's Fedora Core 2 operating system; the installer will be immediately familiar to users who have loaded Fedora recently (and easy to follow even if you haven't). YDL comes on eight CDs: four install CDs, and four source CDs. That's a lot of CDs! There isn't a DVD distribution available, and anyone who is used to the modern Apple single-DVD distributions will find this a little frustrating. Still, the install is easy, simple, and quick. Assuming, that is, you've prepped the disk with some free space for the installer, or plan to overwrite the whole disk. You can install YDL to an external drive, but it requires more configuration and setup. It may be easier to install it on the internal drive, and let Mac OS deal with booting from the external drive. Either way, you're going to be doing some shuffling if you want to keep your Mac OS X install.