Mac Mini home server


I currently have debian running on an Athlon 2100 system for use as a combination web/file/print server. Wife has an iBook and I have a win2k desktop system.

As I need another computer at my office, I'm thinking of getting a Mac mini for use as a server at home + an external 200gb hard drive, moving the existing server to the office.

Any issues I should be aware of? While my wife's notebook is enjoying 20-30 days of uptime, can I expect to enjoy the 200-300 days of uptime I currently get with linux?


Chmod 760
Staff member
There will be updates in both OS X client and Server versions normally quite often, say every 1-3 months. Normally OS X upgrades need a reboot. If you don't apply all the updates, you can keep the uptime easily very high. So I would say yes .. maybe install though the security and system updates a few times a year? Apart from those updates, normally there isn't a reason to need to restart the mac unless you want for whatever reason .. and both client and Server editions are supported on Mac mini, so go for it.. :)


U.S.D.A. Prime
I would say go for it. You can even run Linux on the mini if you'd like -- there are a handful of distributions that support PPC and the Mac natively. YellowDog Linux is a good one, and Fedora Core 4 now comes in a PPC distro as well. If you're familiar with Linux more than Mac OS X and intend to use it as a server, I would highly recommend going that route rather than struggling with all of Mac OS X's slightly different non-standard UNIX stuff. For the most part, it's straight UNIX, but certain utilities may not be where you expect them or libraries may be located in a different location making for some slight compatibility issues here and there if you want a lot of control beyond what the GUI offers.

Apart from that, I don't think you'll ever have to restart the computer due to a crash or lockup -- or at least anymore than you would with your Linux box. There are no mandatory updates, so unless you choose to apply an update that requires a restart (and Mac OS X's Software Update function tells you which updates require restarts before you elect to install), you'll see months and months of uptime. I run a Mac OS X 10.4 client box as a workstation as well as my home computer, and I routinely see 3 months of uptime (save for thunderstorms) only to be cut short by an OS update that I choose to install.

At any rate, I think the Mac mini would make a good little server. You'll have to be content with a single ethernet port and almost no expandability, but for $500, it's adequate and fashionable... :p


Thanks for the tip guys. The miniStack is indeed pretty cool.

I have a web/mail/dns server going on the athlon as well, but I'll be foregoing all of that except for the mail server (using courier IMAP), so it's my hope that I can set up a couple of samba shares, a printer share (using both cups and samba) and be good to go. I used to have Yellowdog on an old Wallstreet powerbook, and while I like it, you think I'll need it for the above? Is there a courier IMAP package available for OS X short of using fink?