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Installing SME Server on the MacMini (Intel)


Dietmar Berteld


The Apple MacMini (Intel) is a very energy efficient hardware-platform and uses the new Intel EFI technology as bootprom, which is not compatible with the standard grub boot-loader. So no standard Linux distribution would start on the MacMini. You have to replace grub with the older lilo bootloader. With this Howto you can install SME Server on the MacMini (Intel) which uses EFI based bootprom without support for the grub standard bootloader.


For using SME Server on the MacMini (Intel), you should have the SME install cd and a second cd with lilo as replacement for the not supported grub bootmanager on it. You can download the second cd with lilo as iso image here .


Assuming you have a standard MacMini (Intel) with Mac OSX out of the box, start with installing bootcamp. Use any scheme to partition your MacMini. SME will override your partition scheme later. The only thing to use bootcamp is to have the right keyboard table for the later SME install process. Reboot your MacMini with your SME install cd on board and type 'sme' to start the install process.

Don't restart your server after the end of the SME standard install process !!

Press F2 to open a second console and give the following commands:

# echo > /etc/fstab
# eject

Change your SME install cd with the burned lilo bootloader cd and give the following commands:

# mkdir mnt/source
# mount /mnt/sysimage/dev/cdrom /mnt/source
# cd /mnt/sysimage
# rpm -Uvh --root=/mnt/sysimage /mnt/source/lilo/lilo*
# cd /mnt/sysimage/etc
# cp lilo.conf.anaconda lilo.conf
# vi lilo.conf

Delete the 2 lines with 'read-only' in it with 'dd-command', save your lilo.conf with ':wq' and type:

# lilo -r /mnt/sysimage 

Reboot your MacMini and finish your installation with the initial configuration. The standard lilo bootloader starts your server as usual.

Using CPUspeed

Your MacMini supports multiple cpu frequencies. Using multiple frequencies can even reduce power consumption but without reducing your cpu power. The used frequence depends on the demanded processes. Login at the Serverconsole and look to youre actual used cpu frequence

# cat /proc/cpuinfo
# cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_driver

This shows 'centrino', which means that your MacMini would use the centrino driver.

You can see th possible cpu frequencies with the command

# cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_availaible_frequencies

My MacMini shows the following frequencies:

# 1833000 1667000 1500000 1333000 1000000

Using multiple cpu frequencies, you have to config your system as follows:

# vi /etc/cpuspeed.conf

Edit the file /etc/cpuspeed.conf and uncomment the line with the driver

# DRIVER="centrino"

Save this file with the ':wq' command

Edit the file /etc/lilo.conf

# vi /etc/lilo.conf

Add the append command after the 'linear' line

# append="apm=off acpi=on"

Save this file with the ':wq' command

# lilo

Last but not least config the servive db so that the cpuspeed service starts when booting your MacMini:

# db configuration setprop cpuspeed status enabled

Save the whole configuration and restart your server

# signal-event post-upgrade
# signal-event reboot

From now on your MacMini should use successful the cpuspeed service to swich between multiple cpu frequencies. To control your steps, login to your serverconsole and type

# /cat/proc/cpuinfo

Now your server should use the min cpu frequence (Success).

Have much fun with the energy efficient MacMini as your preferred SME home server platform !

Dietmar Berteld (berdie)