Anybody using a Mac Pro 6.1 for Linux? (Trash Can Mac)


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Dec 6, 2022
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I collect old (ancient, mostly) computers and someone gave me a really nice Trash Can Pro, i.e. Mac Pro 6.1 2013. It runs fine with Mojave but I have a far newer desktop for mundane stuff. It is very quiet and quite powerful and being Intel would make a fine Linux box. So I have tried it.

Debian Bookworm Live will boot and usually run a while, but then crashes. Installing Bookworm netinstall also starts but will not finish, usually crashing sometime after the HD setup and beginnng of program load. From the messages flashing by, it appears not to like the GPUs.

So, I started from the bottom, selecting the Advanced Expert install, allowing me to go through the procedures one step at a time. I gave it an absolute minimum load, with only the kernel and whatever drivers are needed to make it see the outside world. And it worked - so far.

Still playing with it. Apt-get works and also the basic stuff like build-essential and Syncthing. I suspect I won't have any major problems unless I get some driver that overrides the generic GPU driver.


Anybody else have an old Trash Can for Linux? I would like to hear of your successes or failures, and especially of fixes you have found.

I ran MX/antiX successfully on a MBP and a MBA (both Intel) circa 2010 (MBP) 2011 (MBA).
The trick is connect with the installer (on CD for the MBP) with wifi, be sure to have sound and picture working before hitting the install button.
Erase the whole thing, don't dual boot.
The MBP is older than yours, and I don't have the owner password. It is now my main daily surfing machine - it works with MX only.
The MBA is now back to High Sierra because I have enough junk. If I remember well it went to black (sorry white) screen for a long time before booting up. I almost gave up.
LMDE 6 can be run on a MP 6,1 Quad Core 64GB RAM, Aura pro 3,8TB without any problem. I read sometimes about troubling experiences with this Linux-MP6,1 combination (install & boot mostly) but a few years ago I installed resp. Ubuntu (forgot the version) LM 21-something without any problems and I have been running Mint for a few years. Three displays (HP Compaq LA2405wg) connected, Thunderbold harddrives (Thunderbay 4 mini w. 3 x 2TB HDD, 1 x 2TB SSD) and from start (end september last year) until now not one single crash with LMDE 6. Almost all Flatpacks could be installed. It's definitely not the most fancy combination but It is stable and runs every day for 8-10 hours. No way I will ever go back to OSX. It may be an 'old Trash Can' (Quote CptKrf) but it still is a very fast Trash Can. Sound can be a problem, because the audio-output in my case didn't work, but for that we have these usb-soundkeys.
It may be an 'old Trash Can' (Quote CptKrf) but it still is a very fast Trash Can.
It's regrettable that some of my friends refused to believe me when I told them I could save their MACs (for free).
I eventually got it stable with basic Debian Bookworm. It helps that I stay in console mode almost all the time and only crank up XFCE for a debug session with C or Perl or Java or whatever. But GUI works now. However...

I was given a Cheesegrater (not even a newer one, but a 2008, 3.1) because it was, of course, old and "useless." Just because, I loaded Debian onto it to see what might happen. As it turns out, it has become my goto machine for program execution because from the first, I had absolutely no problems with install or runtime. Display, ethernet, usb, and sound worked out of the box, so to speak. I added a modern set of cards (Wifi 5, USB 3.1, Parallel Printer port (don't ask) ) and all just installed and worked. Not used to that with Linux on new hardware.

It has a Geekbench score in the high 300's, in a world where machines are now scoring in the thousands, but a raw C program on a fourteen year old 2.7 Ghz Xeon will leave Java in the dust on my top-end 10 core desktop.

Yep, throwing old Macs (or PCs) away just because some *bench utility says that they are obsolete is a shame.