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Will Linux run well on a MacBook?

Serdar Yegulalp | July 7, 2016
Also in today's open source roundup: Pokemon GO released for Android, and will 2-in-1 Windows PCs destroy Android tablets?

Juan08880: "I have used a distro bare metal on 2 Mac laptops (Pro and Air) for a while. There was no driver available for the builtin proprietary webcam (pretty sure it's still the case).

Also, if you have a Macbook Pro with a Nvidia video card, it could be difficult or near impossible to only use the basic integrated Intel gpu on a daily basis for a more energy efficient experience. Overall I would say that the experience was OK but not the best.

I now have switched to two Thinkpad (X serie) and run a distro on both. It is a much better and smoother experience in both cases. Pretty much everything is just working out of the box and I'm now a big fan of the trackpoint."

Buzzrobot: "Look for reports of showstopping failures or glorious successes with the specific model of Mac you're considering.

I installed and ran Ubuntu and Fedora on a 2011 Macbook (model 8,11) a couple of years ago.

I found that guidance that was not specific to the 8,11 would not work.

That model had AMD video and Intel video on board. Linux was unable to handle switching between the two. One or the other had to be disabled. Since Macs have no BIOS in which to disable a video card, I had to resort to an obscure method of using grub to emit a string of bytes to the firmware before the kernel booted.

I found no way to regulate fan speed. The fans were maxed out when the AMD was in use, as were the temps.

This setup broke on both distros when the next kernel update. Reinstall attempts failed.

My conclusion: Save Linux for an old Macbook that lacks the oomph to handle the current OS X release. OS X is as Unixy as Linux. Thousands of Linux apps have been ported over and are maintained by various projects. You can install X if you wish."

Nordby1: "I'm dual booting Mint on a 2011 and my fans and CPU usage is overheating. I was having CPU usage issues with virtual box so I decided to dual boot and still having CPU issues with 16g of ram. I might try Mint 18 and see if this is resolved, otherwise I'm going back to El Capitan."

TheAlphaDingo: "I've been using linux on a macbook pro late 2013, since late 2013 with no real issues. I've used Mint 15-17.3, fedora 23, and ubuntu 16.04. There's plenty of good choices. Mint is probably the easiest if you don't want to mess around."

Groovechicken: "I tried it years ago as I wasable to phase out my OS X dependence at work and I hated the experience so badly that I gave it to another coworker and downgraded to a spare ThinkPad we had lying on the shelf. Since then, I have always used ThinkPads and never looked back."

 

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