Without boring you too much with the details, I recently purchased a new 13.3″ MacBook Aluminum (Intel C2Duo 2.4Ghz) with the uni-body design. It’s one heckofa laptop and I would recommend it to anybody. However, I’m having a very difficult time getting used to the Mac OSX environment and the programs that it uses and I dearly miss Fedora 10.
So, I’ve gone through the process of tripple booting my MacBook with several different partitions for Mac OSX, Windows, and Linux each having access to what I call a shared partition formatted in the HFS filesystem so that all OS’s have access to the files on that “home” drive. I plan on making Fedora my main OS on this machine. After installing and fixing some of the issues that I will outline below, there are still some issues that are unacceptable at this time, namely 1.) the backlight control, 2.) the sound, 3.) the touchpad, 4.) the keyboard keymap, and 5.) three (3) error beeps when rebooting. A program called pommed, which controls backlight and hotkeys, just may take care of some of these issues, but the version packaged with Fedora is outdated and needs to be replaced with pommed version 1.23 (at least, newest version is 1.25) which also requires the Linux 2.6.28 kernel to run. This means that either you’ll have to compile the kernel yourself, or wait for the update to come through Fedora on it’s own (be it through the package manager or waiting until Fedora 11).
In order to help other Fedora MacBook users, here are the steps I have taken to get 1.) the video card, 2.) wireless, 3.) headphone jack sound, 4.) minor touchpad functionality, 5.) a little better keyboard mapping to work, and 6.) the iSight webcam.
Video, Wireless, and FirstBoot
Upon startup of a freshly installed Fedora 10, users will notice that they had to go through a non-graphical installation and then once Fedora was installed, they were met with despair when they only had access to a command line interface (CLI). This is because the video card drivers have yet to be installed. The good news is that the Ethernet Port still works, so find a hardwired connection and type the following into the command line after you’ve logged in using “root” as the username:
rpm -ivh http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-stable.noarch.rpm http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-stable.noarch.rpm
&& yum install -y kmod-nvidia kmod-wl
You will now have video and wireless support, but stay connected via hardwire while you’re there and type the following into the terminal:
If this doesn’t give you a nice GUI (sorry, I can’t remember), then type “startx” which will get you into the GUI and then from there, open the terminal and type in “firstboot”. This will walk you through and help you setup your username and password as well as a few other things.
Next, if you’ve installed Fedora in text mode, you will always be defaulted to text mode upon boot. To fix this type the following into the terminal:
Then make the following change to the last line in that file:
I don’t think there has been anybody to figure this one out quite yet for Fedora. It seems that a few people over in the Ubuntu world have been able to get it to work. I’ll refer you to a couple good resources to follow:
Apparently, some distros have recommended using a sound mixer application (any) to switch from 2ch to 6ch, save the settings, reboot and enjoy. At this point, it’s either the speaker sound or the headphone jack… not both.
Headphone Jack Sound
Please view this thread over at the Fedora Forums:
How to: Fix PulseAudio and primary audio issues with Fedora 10 (F10)
It seems that the guide posted over here works well for the touchpad. I’ve yet to personally test it.
Within the “System->Hardware->Keyboard” menu, there is a place to select what kind of keyboard you are using. Simply select, “MacBook” and that will help out a little bit. I’ll try and get a little more specific on this soon.
You will need a copy of the firmware from Apple. You can either download this here or simply type the following into the terminal:
su -c 'wget http://www.i-nz.net/files/projects/linux-kernel/isight/against-revision-140/firmware/AppleUSBVideoSupport'
Then you’ll need the isight-firmware-tools package, so type this into the terminal:
su -c 'yum install isight-firmware-tools'
Then, from the same directory that you downloaed the AppleUSBVideoSupport file into, type the following into the terminal:
su -c ift-extract --apple-driver AppleUSBVideoSupport
Honestly, this could probably all be done swiftly with one command, but I haven’t tested it yet:
su -c 'wget http://www.i-nz.net/files/projects/linux-kernel/isight/against-revision-140/firmware/AppleUSBVideoSupport && yum install isight-firmware-tools && su -c ift-extract --apple-driver AppleUSBVideoSupport'
You’ll need to reboot to take advantage of it.
- Full Screen Flash video is practically unusable. Apparently, there is a conflict with the nspluginwrapper (Nvidia driver version 180.22 and Flash v10.0.12.36).
- Some Linux distrobutions have been able to get the sound to work from the speakers, but not the audio port. It’s one or the other until ALSA comes up with a patch.
- This will be updated as I run across little things here and there….
If I were to make a conclusion (and so I have), I would have to say that, at this time, Linux is not ready for the MacBook Aluminum. If you’re a beginner installing Linux for the first time, then I would seriously recommend waiting for another 6 months or so when the software has been able to adapt. Knowing the aggressiveness of Linux, it won’t be too long before this generation of MacBooks will be fully supported.