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Clean install on Macs

Link to this post 31 Jan 11

Hi all, I'm starting a project that involves finding used computers that are too slow or that users have otherwise gotten frustrated with. I'll clean install Vinux on them completely wiping the hard drives and our little group will then find users who can benefit from an inexpensive accessible computer. Vinux is based on Ubuntu and has been tweaked to peak the performance of Orca and a few other accessible features so I'll also be concerned about not breaking Orca or some other part of the speech or magnification works or the sound package, or if something does break, getting it fixed. Info about Vinux is at vinux.org.uk.

I've done the installs replacing Microsoft and I know it's probably a matter of time until I'm given a Mac. In general, how do I clean install on Macs? I'm going to assume that there might be some differences between brands and models and between desktops and lap tops, but in general, what am I looking at? When I get hit with the bucket of spit I want to be ready.

By the way, I'm a member of the Hank Bloomberg chapter of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind. That ought to help explain the purpose of the project better. I'm also a newbie, I jumped from Microsoft just over a year ago into Ubuntu and I haven't looked back since.

Link to this post 25 Feb 11

The biggest issue will be the BIOS. Older Macs that ran on PPC (or even older - on Motorola) chips used a BIOS that was not compatible with current x86 systems. More recent Macs (with Intel processors) use the EFI (Extended Firmware Interface) instead of the PC BIOS. So, make sure that Vinux supports the EFI. I believe that Ubuntu does, so you may be ok there. In any case, I know that Debian (what Ubuntu is based on) can be installed on a PPC Mac, such as older Macbook Pros.

Good luck, and my thanks for your efforts on behalf of visually disabled users everywhere. My eyesight is OK, but degrading over time, so it may come to the point where tools like Orca and such are going to be needed.

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