Problem booting off CDs in Mac mini

in Genius Bar edited January 2014

Now, I've got a Mac mini to spare, and I wanted to install Linux on it. I want to run some Linux-only apps. But the mini seems to have a problem booting off of any CD/DVD. It will not boot off of the Tiger DVD, even if I choose the DVD as the boot medium in System Preferences.

I have to hold down C sometimes for 15 minutes to get it booting. It will just stay there with a grey screen. Let me explain what happens.

I insert the CD/DVD and choose it as the boot device. I restart and hold down C. It starts reading the CD with no problem, the screen is black for a while and then it gets grey and just spits the CD out (I'm still holding down C, mind you.) The only way to make it boot off of Tiger DVD is to forcefully re-insert it as soon as it spits it out and keep holding down C. This, however, does not work with Ubuntu CDs I just received from Canonical (the parent organization of Ubuntu.)

I've tried numerous CDs, even non-Linux CDs such as DiskWarrior and it just won't boot. It's so frustrating. My x86 Sony VAIO laptop will boot just fine with the same CDs from Canonical (obviously, different architecture).

Do you know of a solution, or is the drive messed up?

I'm running 10.4.3 on a Mac mini with 512 MB of RAM and an 80GB drive partitioned into 60 + 20 GB.

Let me know if you need any other info.

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