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muttztfz's picture
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Joined: 2010 Dec 2
Mac OS X Server 10.6 for Mac mini Server Mid-2011

Hello!

Long story: (may be skipped, scroll down to my request)
My Mac mini Mid-2011 (model ID Macmini5,2, Core i5-2000 series, Radeon HD6630M) just broke. Some cold solder joint most likely, because when I warm it up (e.g. by using a hairdryer) it works again. And it did that in a stable way for some time, until recently, when it even stops working while it is running in idle and becomes too cold again. (Obviously sleep mode was no longer an option even before that.)

So I am looking for a replacement. It needs to be a Mid-2011 model, because this is unofficially the fastest and best machine for Mac OS X Snow Leopard when excluding the Mac Pro. Yes, there is a way to install Snow Leopard on the Mid-2011 Mac mini.

I am thinking about getting a used Mac mini Server, a Mid-2011/Server (model ID Macmini5,3, Core i7-2000 series, integrated Intel HD3000 graphics) specifically. This version came with Lion Server pre-installed.

When I do get it, I plan to reset the original Lion Server installation using Internet Recovery, as designed by Apple, just for testing the unit and looking if everything works. I will then reuse my existing installation of Snow Leopard (SSD and HDD transplant from the broken Mac mini to the good Mac mini Server). But what I really want, once I have the Server version of the Mac mini, is to install Mac OS X 10.6.8 Server. Which would be a downgrade to the official OS that I get with the Mac.

I do have an official retail Mac OS X Snow Leopard DVD, version 10.6.3. But that won't do me any good.

So my request is:
Can someone with a 10.6 Server DVD either point me to where I can download it, OR at least give me a correct checksum for 10.6.3 Server, so I can check if a retrieved version (from the internet... somewhere...) is at least not tampered with.

[Update] I found the ADC free download 10.6.0 Server's SHA1 checksum somewhere:
f8fa177e4be9a69f87be23b83c30e0c8eedacf5b mac_os_x_v10.6_build_10a432_user_dvd.dmg
This program (giving Leopard and Snow Leopard Server to ADC members for free) has long ended and I even got the impression that Apple no longer holds the downloads, even to those who got it back then... Sad. I should have grabbed it while it was there.

That wasn't the Server version... Oops!
[/update]

Also I'd like to hear what you know about Mac OS X Server 10.6. Is a serial number required? Are the gray Mac mini Server restore DVDs from the previous model, the Mac mini Mid-2010/Server (model ID Macmini4,1, Core 2 Duo), also work on the Macmini5,3? Does someone have them so I can try? Maybe there is a way to make it work...
And any other thoughts...

Thanks.

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Duality's picture
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Joined: 2014 Mar 1

As far as I'm aware, Mac OS X Server always required a serial number and online validation with Apple's servers through Snow Leopard Server.

Lion Server was the moment they more or less sold the consumer version of Lion, changed the EULA limitations on virtualization for better and worse, and split off Server.app as a Mac App Store purchase.

One issue with your plan. If your Mac shipped with Lion, it's unlikely to run a Mac OS X released before Lion. Mountain Lion is probably the best of your "retro" options.

There's nothing stopping you from throwing Mac OS X Leopard Server on an early version of VMware or Parallels, if you want it. It won't get you everything from Rosetta for PowerPC support, but it'll handle graphic design apps well.

muttztfz's picture
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Joined: 2010 Dec 2

Thanks for your reply. I know that the Macmini5,2 can run a very specific version of Mac OS X 10.6.8 even though it originally came with Mac OS X 10.7.0 because I am already doing it. For years now. Everything works as expected. I am very happy.

There are some examples where it works easily to use a previous version of Mac OS X on a Mac that was released with a later version of the operating system. It doesn't work every time, but often enough...

My Mac mini G4 is the 1.5 GHz “silent upgrade” version that came with 10.4. Since they didn't change anything other than the CPU speed (from 1.42 to 1.5 GHz), hardware-wise, and the original Mac mini G4 came with 10.3, I was even able to boot a Panther installation DVD on this Mac and it worked without issues. I was surprised.

My Power Mac G5 Late-2005 came with 10.4.2. I did try 10.2 (G5 variant) and 10.3, but it doesn't boot. But it would have surprised my, since they changed the hardware very much. My other G5 is the original model from 2003 and it runs 10.2.7 G5 (updated to 10.2.8 G5), 10.3.9, 10.4.11 and 10.5.8. It has PCI-X slots and a PPC970. The Late-2005 on the other hand as PCI-Express slots and a PPC970MP, so there is even one generation (the PPC970fx) in between. It makes at least sense that the kernel and the OS has to have support for PCI-Express, which 10.2.8 G5 and 10.3.9 probably don't have...

The Mac mini Mid-2011 was planned as 10.6.8, but they finished Lion so it came with 10.7.0. The Early-2011 MacBook Pro has the same hardware though and came with 10.6.7, so if you use the gray installation DVDs version of Snow Leopard on the Mac mini with the same hardware, it works. Apple specifically included the Radeon HD6630M drivers on the gray DVDs, and there was no other way to get them. The processor support, Intel Core i 2nd generation, is built in into 10.6.7 and newer.

Naturally one cannot boot a 10.6.3 installation DVD on such a Mac, but when you have a compatible Mac and install it there, upgrade to 10.6.8 and then restore that installation on the Mac mini Mid-2011, it works. (Except for the Radeon HD6630M drivers, which you only get from the MacBook Pro Early-2011 installation...)

Long story short: I will be able to run Snow Leopard on this model anyway. I was just thinking, since it was the server version, I would now be in the possession of a Lion Server version anyhow, and thus could do a legal downgrade to Snow Leopard Server. But I don't have the Server DVD. If I cannot get it, I will stay with the desktop edition. It just would have been a nice addition...

And really I need Snow Leopard due to Rosetta. I don't really need the server software or Lion or Mountain Lion.

I really dislike the new style macOS that makes me think an iPad is booting... And all the hand-holding with Gatekeeper and so on... I also dislike the App Store...

I would have stayed with PowerPC, but when I found this Intel Mac mini, I found that this is how far I could go. But no further... than Snow Leopard anyway...

Thanks.

24bit's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

Are you still in need of the 10.6.3 Server DVD image?
Some here will have one archived - including myself.

I´m just acquiring a second hand Dell 7010 MT (Sandy Bridge) for € 80 and could play around with 10.6 Server, if you would consider going Hackintosh too.
I will use some low end ATI HD5XX0 PCI-e card, as I want to avoid the hassle with Intel HD2000.
IRRC 10.6.7 was the first release supporting Sandy Bridge, so a legacy kernel as on Nawcoms Mod CD would be needed to get things rolling. 10.6.8 can be "vanilla" again and may boot via Clover or Chameleon.

Usually the hacks with 10.6 would run as MacPro 3.1, but other settings are usable too by changing the config.plist.

VMware Player 10 is running Leopard Server with Mojave as host OS on my side, so 10.6 should not be a problem. All in all, I would prefer booting 10.6 Server as host OS rather.

muttztfz's picture
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Joined: 2010 Dec 2

Yes! Very much so!
I know it's not within the 10 year rule for the garden, but maybe there is a place you can upload it to so I can grab it?!?

[Update] BTW, which versions of Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard were ever made available on DVD?
I came across 10.6 as in 10.6.0, naturally. I also found gray 10.6.3 discs, unsure whether there also existed regular ones with the Snow Leopard on the front of the DVDs. I found 10.6.4 DVDs on eBay, and I found hints that there might have been a 10.6.7 version too.

Anyway, I'd prefer an image of a genuine and unmodified DVD version.

Also, do you know if it would be possible to just install the server package from the DVD on top of a regular, already installed version of Snow Leopard?

24bit's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

I guess it can´t harm discussing further proceedings via email.
You would best use my 24bit address 3X8bit@gmail.com methinks.

I did not follow the 10.6 Server versions. I think the one in storage is 10.6.3 but I would have to confirm that. It may very well exist two retail versions and some hardware bundled ones.
At least that was true for the Client flavour.

For your Mac Mini a retail DVD will be best, if not obligatory.

muttztfz's picture
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Joined: 2010 Dec 2

The Mac mini retail DVD is for the 2010 Mac mini with Core 2 Duo, so I will need to find a suitable Mac from a friend to install the OS and then backup and restore it onto mine (after upgrading it to 10.6.8).

Again: does anyone know, has anyone ever tried to simply install the Server package from the DVD onto an existing installation of Snow Leopard? That would really safe me from going though all this again. I was very happy when I was able to bring this off, to get a working Snow Leopard installation on a Mac that doesn't officially support it. And it took another compatible Mac to accomplish this, which I don't have right at the moment but I can borrow it again... I just hope that the gray discs also work on a MacBook (I think it was a 2009 model or so).

adespoton's picture
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Joined: 2015 Feb 15

I’ve tried and failed. What worked for me was partitioning the drive and restoring the DVD image to an 8GB partition. This also functions as my emergency partition, and can be used to DFA my main partition.

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

There is a lot of DVD versions of Mac OS X 10.6 on the website of the leeches. And there is a "Mac mini Mac OS X Server Install Disc v10.6 2010 (DVD DL)" too. They are not affected with the 10 years rules, obviously. And I can't give you a link. But it's available for the time being. You just need an account to grab their softwares. Be also aware that their download speed is really ridiculous. So, that's it, meanwhile...

muttztfz's picture
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Joined: 2010 Dec 2

If I register I get to download files up to 1GB. This download is almost 7GB though... And I am not really in the position of becoming a donator, who can download any file size...
But thanks.

muttztfz's picture
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Joined: 2010 Dec 2

I've got it. Thanks.

mrpippy's picture
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Joined: 2015 Jun 7

This is really cool, I have a mid-2011 MacBook Air and had no idea it could run 10.6. Gonna have to install it on a separate partition

muttztfz's picture
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Joined: 2010 Dec 2

Yes, looking at the hardware of the MacBookAir4,1 and MacBookAir4,2, it should work. Installation is not easy, as anything before 10.6.7 will not boot. So either you have a 10.6.7/10.6.8 installation DVD or you need a compatible Mac first, make all the updates, and transfer it to the 2011 MacBook Air then.

For the sake of your SSD you should use TRIM Enabler. It is no longer free, but it used to be. You can still get the free version 2.2 from the Internet Archive though.

Everything else you need to know is in this article: Installing 10.6.8 on a 2011 Mac Mini.

24bit's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

Thanks for the links, nice work. Wink
I´m positive that a patched kernel for SandyBridge would do the trick too, but given you got a donator Mac for target mode, Der Flounder´s solution looks better.

Also, cloning a working 10.6.8 with Carbon Copy Cloner, and taking it to the SandyBridge machine should work too - at least it should be possible to boot into safe mode, if a GPU driver should be missing.
I´ll try when my SandyBridge box arrives.

Edit:
Cloning the SL Server drive and booting the SandyBridge machine works like a charm on my side.
This is from my Optiplex 7010 (i3-2320), graphics is a HD 5450.

Screen-shot-2018-12-28-at-18-33-34

muttztfz's picture
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Joined: 2010 Dec 2

Just an update: I got a Mac mini Mid-2011, quad core 2.0 GHz. I was lucky, I got it quite cheap for around 250€, for a model with two 750 GB SATA drives and nearly all accessories, including the DVI and HDMI adapter cables.

Anyway, I didn't have the time to play with it as much as I had wanted to. I did the internet recovery which downloaded and installed Lion Server 10.7.5. I played with it not more than 10 minutes and, as expected, found that I really don't need the server stuff at work, so I went on with installing the SSD and HDD from the failed Mac mini. The 1:1 swap "just worked™" and I am again very happy with Snow Leopard. (Windows 10 activation was another story...)

I had a look at the Snow Leopard Server DVD and found not more than three server specific installation packages on it and installed those on one of the 750 GB drives that came with the Mac -- onto an existing "patched" (with the additional kexts for the Mac mini) version of the desktop Snow Leopard 10.6.8 (restored from a backup image, the same base as the one I had already in use on the SSD.) At the next boot it asked for the serial number. Everything seemed to work, it identified itself as Snow Leopard Server and all the tools were installed. Even so, I'm certain that this isn't 100% correctly installed since I now had a Snow Leopard 10.6.8 base system and now there is 10.6.0 server software on top of it. I also had to configure some of them manually, and they seemed to be not in the state a regularly installed Snow Leopard Server would present itself, probably because the system had already been set up without the servers software before.

The next logical step would have been to install the 10.6.8 Server update, but I don't have the time right now and I am already using the Mac mini for work again. Without the server software...

I just wanted to report back and thank everyone for their support.

One more thing I want to share though. My observation is that the models with integrated Intel graphics (Intel IGP) are way cooler than the ones with a dedicated graphics chip, like the same Mac mini Mid-2011 with an AMD Radeon 6630M.

Another observation is that I don't really feel the difference between 2 CPU cores at 2.7/2.5 GHz or 4 CPU cores at 2.0 GHz. But I don't play games on this Mac mini and I assume that there will absolutely be a difference because of the integrated graphics card, and I also didn't time the new CPU performance, but I assume that some programs that cannot multi-thread well will be slower on the 2.0 GHz model regardless of the two additional cores.