Fedora 11 Leonidas on MacBook Aluminum 5,1 [Guide]

Updated: Jun 25, 2009

This is a continuation of my Fedora 11 Beta on MacBook Aluminum 5,1 notes. I am going to gear this one more specifically on how to get Fedora 11 behaving on a MacBook Aluminum. Here we go…

Note: You’ll notice that there are a lot of TBDs. Well, that’s because I just installed Fedora 11 on my MacBook and haven’t had the time to dive in yet. These will be filled in as I go along.

Table of Contents:
Video Working
Wireless Working
Touchpad Working
Sound Working
Function Keys Working
Keymapping Working/TBD
Backlight TBD
Power/Battery Working


Gain internet access using a hardwired ethernet connection then install and enable the RPM Fusion repos for both the free and non-free packages:
su -c 'rpm -Uvh http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-stable.noarch.rpm http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-stable.noarch.rpm'

Apply all updates to the system:
Goto System -> Administration -> Software Updates and apply the updates if they exist.


Source: leigh123linux on the Fedora Forums
Install Nvidia Drivers then reboot:
su -c 'yum install akmod-nvidia xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.i586 xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.x86_64'

Blacklist the Nouveau Driver:
su -
gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

Then add the following to the bottom of the file:
# Video drivers
blacklist nouveau

Backup the old initrd:
mv /boot/initrd-`uname -r`.img /boot/initrd-`uname -r`.img.backup

Remake initrd:
mkinitrd -v /boot/initrd-`uname -r`.img `uname -r`

Edit xorg.conf:
Start with backing it up:
cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bak

Edit the file:
gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Should look like this:

Section “Files”
ModulePath “/usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/nvidia”
ModulePath “/usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers”
ModulePath “/usr/lib/xorg/modules”

Section “ServerFlags”
Option “AIGLX” “on”

Section “Device”
Identifier “Videocard0”
Driver “nvidia”
Option “AddARGBGLXVisuals” “True”

Section “Extensions”
Option “Composite” “Enable”

Tell livna-config-display to keep it’s hands off of xorg.conf:
livna-config-display --active=false

shutdown -r now

If you have difficulties getting back to the GUI and you’re stuck at a blinking cursor, press fn+control+option+F2 to get to a terminal screen, and then edit the xorg.conf file using vi and change the ‘Driver “nvidia”‘ option to ‘Driver “nv”‘. Save, exit, and reboot.


Install the “akmod-wl” drivers then restart:
su -c 'yum install akmod-wl'


Update system to the latest kernel and packages. Simple as navigating in the main menu:
“System -> Administration -> Update System”

If you’d like to have two finger scrolling and such, navigate to the mouse settings in the main menu and select the “touchpad” tab:
“System -> Preferences -> Mouse”

Original bug information here: https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=504197


Exciting news on this subject… I was able to get the sound working both headphones and internal speakers using AlsaMixer v.1.0.20 (should already be installed). There’s a couple of catches though. When you plug your headphones in, you’ll hear sound both from the internal speaker as well as the headphones. Also, the “Mute” button doesn’t actually mute the sound, but if you turn down the sound all the way, it will shut off.

su -
touch /etc/modprobe.d/sound.conf
gedit /etc/modprobe.d/sound.conf

Add this line to the file and save:
options snd_hda_intel model=mbp3

Then, remove alsa-plugins-pulseaudio:
yum remove alsa-plugins-pulseaudio

Then, adjust the audio settings:

I’ve included the screenshot below for reference, but I believe the important parts are to turn up the volume to 100% on these lines (you can tweak this later while listening to something): Master, PCM, Front, Line, Line-Out. Then, set the “Channel” category to 6ch instead of 2ch. If you don’t see what’s in the screenshot below, try restarting.


Finally, store the settings and reboot:
alsactl store

Note: It is possible to turn down the internal volume all the way and listen to only the headphones, but it requires that you turn the “Line-Out” volume off within AlsaMixer. OR you can easily switch the speaker on an off by switching between 6ch and 2ch. The headphones will still work on 2ch but the internal speakers will not (thanks to Ben Pierce for pointing out this simple solution. I tend to over-analyse things sometimes.).

Function Keys:

These are working out of the box.


If you’d like to customize the keys a little more to your liking (for example, swapping the command and control keys), please refer to this fedora forums post.


TBD (To Be Done)

Apparently, this should be working out of the box. In fact, if you type “lahal -m output” into the terminal, and then use the brightness keys, you’ll get some feedback from hal, but nothing happens. There has been a bug filed for this and we’re just kinda waiting for a fix. https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=505531

The closest fix that we’ve gotten so far is to add the “nomodeset” to the grub.conf file which will disable kernel mode settings. Apparently, there have been some people which this works for. I tried it and it didn’t work. If you’re having the same problem, please report it in the bug report above. To try to nomodeset fix, follow these instructions:

In terminal:
su -c 'gedit /boot/grub/grub.conf'

Within that file, add the option “nomodeset” on the same line as “kernel /boot”. When finished, the important lines should look like this:

title Fedora (
root (hd0,2)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz- ro root=UUID=820abdb8-dcb9-4a27-89c9-ad73f941fd73 rhgb quiet nomodeset
initrd /boot/initrd-

The other thing that may work, but sounds like it’s NOT the proper way (more of a bad band-aid solution and I’m only making it available here for reference purpose) is to install pommed. This is outlined below if you’d like to try it. I would probably advise against it (others have advised me not to). I had followed these steps and it didn’t work for me either.

Download it and then extract it:

Install the required packages:
su -c 'yum install libdbus-devel alsa-lib-devel audiofile-devel zlib-devel libconfuse libconfuse-devel pciutils-devel

“Make” pommed by typing this into the terminal while in the pommed-1.26 parent directory:
make pommed

Become su and copy the files to the needed directories (one line at a time):
cp pommed/pommed /usr/bin
mkdir /usr/share/pommed
cp pommed/data/* /usr/share/pommed
cp pommed.conf.mactel /etc/pommed.conf
chmod +x pommed.init
cp pommed.init /etc/init.d/pommed
chkconfig --add pommed
cp dbus-policy.conf /etc/dbus-1/system.d/pommed.conf

Then, reboot.


After using the system for a few days, it seems that everything power related works just fine. The battery doesn’t last as long as it would within Mac OSX, but it still goes pretty long. It will be better once the backlight control works.

I’ve also noticed that the MacBook runs a little on the warmer side than in Mac OSX, especially when it’s unplugged and on a non-flat surface. Just an observation.

Also, when the laptop goes into a “sleep” mode after closing the lid, upon wake-up the wireless or network no longer work. I would recommend setting your computer’s screen to simply turn blank when shutting the lid and to shutdown after so much time. These settings can be found in the power management applet or in “System -> Preferences -> Power Management”.

Feel free to donate if this post prevented any headaches! Another way to show your appreciation is to take a gander at these relative ads that you may be interested in:

There's 25 Comments So Far

  • Ben Pierce
    June 9th, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Installing Pommed is required for lcd and keyboard backlight. You will need to install a bunch of devel packages to get it to compile as I have not yet seen an rpm for this, but following the instructions worked for me.

  • stick
    June 11th, 2009 at 10:23 am

    About working on a guide together:

    We’ll see. I’m definitely up for collaboration and I definitely want to see the audio and trackpad problems sorted out! However, I’m fed up with Fedora at this point so I’m going to give Ubuntu a go – they have the aluminum MacBooks all fixed! https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MacBook%20Aluminum

  • Ben Pierce
    June 12th, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    ok. Trackpad is fixed. https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=504197. You have to install a new kernel, so make sure that you have the akmod for nvidia and wl installed.

  • Ben Pierce
    June 12th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Sound: Do the following to get sound working through headphones, no speakers, but it’s something:

    create a file /etc/modprobe.d/sound.conf

    put one line in this file:
    options snd_hda_intel model=mbp3

    then yum remove alsa-plugins-pulseaudio

    Reboot and we are good.

  • Ben Pierce
    June 12th, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    for pommed, you must chkconfig –add pommed after copying the init

  • SendDerek
    June 12th, 2009 at 10:27 pm


    I just want to thank you for the contributions you’ve made. Thank you. I sure appreciate it.

    As for the sound, it’s great to get something, but I’m hoping we can get it all. As mentioned previously, Ubuntu has it working. Here’s the direct link:

    We’ll see.

  • SendDerek
    June 13th, 2009 at 10:14 am


    Again, I didn’t get the brightness keys to work. I made sure to include the command you talked about in the steps, but it’s still a no go. FN+F1 doesn’t do anything and the Brightness Applet still doesn’t work. Do you remember anything else that you might have done differently?

  • Ben Pierce
    June 13th, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Well once I did the steps and installed pommed, I was able to use the F1 and F2 keys (without the fn key) to adjust brightness. This works like the function keys do in OSX. (fn turns the keys into F1,F2,etc….). Are you able to run the Pommed GTK client? That would be a tell-tale sign that things are working or not.

    Benjamin Pierce

  • SendDerek
    June 13th, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    I tried to run gpomme from the terminal after building/making/etc… nothing shows up. Hmm. Wonder what I’m doing wrong.

  • Ben Pierce
    June 13th, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    BTW, the chkconfig should go after the cp not before.

  • Ben Pierce
    June 13th, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Ok. Internal speaker update. You can easily switch the speaker on an off by switching between 6ch and 2ch. The headphones will still work on 2ch but the internal speakers will not.

  • Ben Pierce
    June 13th, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    do the following:

    ps ax | grep pommed

    if it does not return the following:

    then it isn’t working properly. You can try starting it manually:


    /etc/init.d/pommed start

    then try the ps command to see if it started. If not, issue /usr/bin/pommed and see what is going wrong.

    This is all I can think of.

  • hachaboob
    June 14th, 2009 at 5:36 am

    I tried the F11 Live CD (x86_amd64). While using it the Trackpad does not work at all. Also after installing F11 grub was not installed properly and I can not start X. I get a V_BIOS error. I tried updating the kernel to 2.6.30 but I think it is to do with the version of X. What I don’t understand is why I had so many problems (I am running Ubuntu at the moment) but maybe the x86_amd64 build is much different? I hope to try F11 again soon.

  • Jereme Kramer
    June 16th, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    I appreciate you compiling this guide. Even though I’m using a MacBook pro 5,3, I’ve still found it helpful. Unfortunately, I can’t get the sound to work completely. Using bluetooth, I can get it to work sometimes in certain applications (like pidgin). I’m guessing that I need to choose a model other than mbp3. Do you know where I can find a list/description of the model names that I can try?

  • SendDerek
    June 16th, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    I’m glad that I can help at least a little bit. That’s why I published this guide. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer to your question. It took me a couple of tries to get the sound working. Try a reboot or two and see what happens.

  • stick
    July 14th, 2009 at 6:40 pm


    Thanks for keeping at this! I’m back to Fedora 11 now after a month of Ubuntu 9.04 since I saw here yesterday that the trackpad works in Fedora now. AWESOME.

    Also, I think you will have better results with the graphics if you leave livna-config-display enabled and don’t mess with the xorg.conf file. Following your guide results in a 1280×768 screen with no direct (hardware) rendering, whereas livna-config-display gives a proper 1280×800 screen with direct rendering enabled (and consequently a _much_ higher framerate).

    Last thing, Ubuntu does have sound working, but it’s done by manually patching and recompiling alsa every time you update your kernel – I think that what we have in Fedora is better in the end.

    Thanks again!


  • stick
    July 15th, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    P.S. – Are you able to use the volume buttons to control sound? I’ve not gotten that working, and I’m wondering if it is because I am not using GNOME. Any thoughts?

  • Min
    July 17th, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    @stick, i use both the GNOME and KDE, the sound mapping button DID work in GNOME, but broken in KDE. that one of the reason i’m switching back to gnome for the time being

  • Greg
    August 6th, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Thanks to this guide I finally got F11 up and running on my late 2008 MBP. I’m glad they finally released some decent touchpad drivers. The pommed fix worked for me also, but I had to install tons of packages. Wish I had written them down to share. Thanks for posting this guide.

  • Das
    September 10th, 2009 at 4:48 am

    How do you get Fedora to restart?

    When I click restart it says in the terminal it’s restarting then it just hangs…


  • SendDerek
    September 11th, 2009 at 1:06 am

    This is something that hasn’t been resolved yet. I’m not sure how to get restart to work correctly. Must shutdown. Sorry, no answer for you yet. May want to mess with the /etc/init.d/reboot script?

  • ivnbrv
    January 14th, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Hello everyone!…
    i’ve successfully instaled fedora 11 x86_64 on my MacbookPro, 5,4, im kinda newbie on linux platform and i got stucked on the wireless setup

    i runned ” su -c ‘yum install akmod-wl’ ” on the terminal and instalation came up clean, now i wanted to set it up but i can only setup eth0 and eth1 on the devices menu…

    since im not quite familiar with linux, to be honest i’ve been using it for a couple of days… i would need a stepbystep walktrough on this… i really appreciate your help on this one…

    i dunno if airport has been properly installed when i runned the synthax on terminal again it displayed that akmod has been properly installed…



  • SendDerek
    January 14th, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    What you could do is see if there are any wireless devices that show up in /proc/net/wireless by using “cat /proc/net/wireless”. If there is a device there, it would be named something like “wlan0”. If you don’t see a device, then the wireless adapter wasn’t installed correctly. If you do see the device, you might want to try “ifconfig wlan0 up” and see what happens in dmesg by tying “dmesg” in the terminal. I would imagine that if everything worked okay, you would see the networks in network manager. Another command that you can run is “iwlist scan” to scan for any networks within range.

    These are all suggestions. It’ll be up to you to figure out the rest…

  • Ivnbrv
    January 15th, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Hey Thanks derek well it all worked out when i downloaded the new kernel update everything worked ok…
    i just rebooted and bang everythings ok now… except for the sound card but… ill do my best setting it up by my self

    Thanks a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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