Fedora 12 Constantine on MacBook Aluminum 5,1 [Guide]

UPDATED: 11/22/2009

This is my guide to getting Fedora 12 Constantine running on a MacBook Aluminium 5,1 (I believe this should work on more recent generations as well because the only difference was the addition of the SD card slot and Firewire port). As a general note, this release of Fedora was much better than the previous for the MacBook Aluminium because more things worked out of the box.

NOTE: Obviously, this guide was written before the final release came out. I will be verifying these steps on a fresh install of the final release. In the meantime, I figured it would be useful for others.
The content below has been updated and tested to be true to the best of my ability/knowledge. I shouldn’t have to, but the standard blurb applies here: I don’t assume any responsibility for damages or headaches caused by guide.

Table of Contents:

Video Working, but with comments
Wireless Needs manual install
Touchpad Working, but with comments
Sound Working, but with comments
Function Keys Working out of the box (OBO)
Keymapping Working, but with comments
Webcam Working out of the box (OBO)
Backlight Working out of the box (OBO)
Keyboard Backlight Not yet documented
Power/Battery Working, but with comments

Working out of the box (OBO) = Working out of the box (OBO)
Working, but with comments = Working, but with comments
Needs manual install = Needs manual install
Won't work = Won’t work
Not yet documented = Not yet documented (TBD)


Gain internet access using a hard-wired Ethernet connection then install and enable the RPM Fusion repos for both the free and non-free packages which will get video and wireless working:
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:
yum upgrade
Yes, this step takes a bit of time, but it’s worth getting all the updated packages (less to fix).



The Nouveau drivers actually work out of the box, so nothing really needs to be done here, but if you want a better video experience including desktop effects (compiz), you’ll need to get the proprietary Nvidia drivers from the RPM Fusion repository.


yum -y install broadcom-wl kernel-PAE-devel kmod-wl
akmods --akmod wl
modprobe lib80211
modprobe wl

Source: http://codersifu.blogspot.com/2009/10/fedora-12-beta-and-broadcom-bcm4312.html


The touchpad works out of the box, but 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”

Just a side note, the “don’t tap while typing” doesn’t actually work. I’ll see if I can find a work around for this later… TBD.



Sounds works out of the box for the external speakers, but not for the headphone jack.

Function Keys:

These are working out of the box, including the backlight and audio keys.


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.


Works out of the box. Open “Cheese Webcam Booth” from “Applications -> Sound and Video” to see.


Works out of the box when Fedora is installed via DVD.  There must be a simple package missing from the CD installer.  EDIT:  On second thought, it’s working…  don’t know what I did since last time.  I made a mistake here unless somebody else confirms it.

Keyboard Backlight:


The keyboard backlighting doesn’t work out of the box. I’ll see if there can be something done about this.



Actually, this is (of course) working out of the box, but I like to make a few observations after a few days worth of using the MacBook with Fedora. In previous releases, it seemed that it tends to run hot and the battery life isn’t as good as it would be in Mac OSX. I’ll report back in a few days after using it.

Partition Scheme for Dual-Boot Mac OSX and Fedora 12

By Request:
This is my partition scheme for dual boot environment with Mac OSX and Fedora 12. I have a totally seperate partition for sharing my files between both the OSs (which requires a change in UID in Fedora from 500 to 501):

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 37 Comments So Far

  • Mike
    November 9th, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Thanks for these posts, Thanks to your leonidas/mbp blog, I was able to install the nvidia drivers and now I see you already of the constantine guide already published.

    I was going to [re]install f11 on my mbp with a larger partition but I may just jump into the RC version of f12 thanks to this guide. 🙂

  • SendDerek
    November 9th, 2009 at 8:24 am

    I think that would be the right choice! F12 seems to work better on the MacBook than F11 (naturally, of course).

    Glad you found it helpful!

  • Marc
    November 10th, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Hey, and thanks for that guide! I was wondering if it was made for the i686, or the x86_64 version? and what version would you recommend installing on the macbook? (I have the 5.1 too) Thanks!

  • SendDerek
    November 11th, 2009 at 9:16 am

    I used i686. I just don’t trust the x86_64 yet (too many horror stories from the past). Besides, 32-bit seems plenty fast enough for me and it works! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

  • Mike
    November 11th, 2009 at 8:39 am

    I couldn’t get f12 RC4 to load in my 5,1 MBP 🙁

    It gets stuck at
    detecting hardware….
    waiting for hardware to initialize….

    I let it sit there in excess of 5 minutes an nothing. I don’t get this issue with f11 and so far I’ve not heard of anyone else incurring this on f12.

    I tried both X64 and 32bit flavors (using the DVD ISO) with my usb keyboard hooked up and without.

  • SendDerek
    November 11th, 2009 at 9:19 am

    Well, that’s not very reassuring…

    Since it’s so close to the final release, I wonder if the maintainers would try and fix that if they knew. I guess filing a bug report would be the best thing for you to do. It might save a lot of people from headaches in F12 Final.

    Try using F12 Beta and then update the packages from there. Also, verify the F12 RC4 DVD with the md5sum.

  • Mike
    November 11th, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    I got it working, the 64bit version, though I suspect the 32bit will also work fine.
    I tried a couple of different combinations of setting nomodeset and xdriver=vesa. Individually (either or) , does not help, but adding them allows it to get through to the install process.

    I’m testing out the 64bit versions as I want to see if I see if there’s an appreciable amount of performance gained in both vmware workstation 7 and running OSX as a guest OS under workstation. I was able to get it to work under f11 32bit, though performance wasn exactly what I was hoping for. While I don’t expect near hardware speeds, I’m hoping by going the 64bit route, things will perk up a little better.

    I need OSX for a handful off apps, so running it under vmware within linux would be the best of both worlds (right now there’s no counterpart to adobe lightroom in linux)

  • Ro
    November 12th, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Great Blog! and great work.

    Thanks for making it easy for us.

    I’m running fedora 12 on macbook 5,5. Everything works except for sound.

    Initially the sound hardware was detected i.e. if I went to system _> prefs _> sound there was an entry in hardware.. But now after I have mucked around with it… there is no listing for hardware.

    any tips on what I could do to get sound to work?
    I tried adding the /etc/modprobe.d/sound.conf file which I found in your earlier post… but that did not work either…


  • min
    November 17th, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    Thanks for the leonidas guide.

    I have 5,1 as well and have installed F12 final, though haven’t played with it much.

    Video -> brightness key working without update (it need an update in F11)
    Wireless -> not out of box (haven’t add rpmFusion repo yet)
    Touchpad -> working (I didn’t check advanced stuff, just move and click)
    Sound -> work for speaker (tested by raise and lower volume and hear the sound feddback)
    Function Keys -> brightness and volume work, backlight not, didn’t check the other
    Webcam -> haven’t check
    Backlight -> work for display (haven’t checked with nvidia driver installed, it was not working if nvidia driver installed in F11 for me)
    Keyboard Backlight -> doesn’t work
    Power/Battery -> haven’t checked, but yeah it was way worst in fedora compared to mac

  • Linuxopjemac
    November 19th, 2009 at 3:36 am

    Can someone report the new power management system for laptops ? Does anyone see an improvement over say Ubuntu’s Karmic Koala?


  • Andrew
    November 20th, 2009 at 8:30 am


    Nice guide but can someone post a partition map for a dual boot mac/fedora system.


  • SendDerek
    November 22nd, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Just for you… I added a section with my personal partitioning scheme. Hope it helps.

  • zenitraM
    November 21st, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Everything works as expected 🙂

    The only thing to be fixed now: when the NVidia drivers are installed, brightness no longer works.

  • Josh
    November 25th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Any feedback on the battery life / heat with F12 as compared to OS X or previous Fedora releases?

  • SendDerek
    November 25th, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    It’s worse for sure. Both the heat and the battery life. I suppose the battery life is a product of what’s causing the heat. The laptop is still usable, it’s just a bit annoying to hear the fans kick in when watching a HD video, and consequently, it’s annoying to get shorter battery life.

  • Jeremy
    April 7th, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Should I be concerned about overheating then? I am debating whether I should upgrade from Snow Leopard to Fedora 12 and I am concerned about the heat issue.


  • SendDerek
    April 7th, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    It’s a hot-in-your-lap hot, not necessarily a damaging sort of heat (at least on the MacBook 5,1 that I have, which is not the same as MacBook Pro mind you).

  • Brandon
    November 26th, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Great blog and thanks a ton for the helpful post on Fedora 12. I am having some trouble getting wireless to work. When I get to the “akmods –akmod wl” step, it tells me that it can’t find akmod wl.

  • SendDerek
    November 26th, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    @Brandon: Interesting. I’m not sure what’s happening there. What happens with “modprobe wl”? I bet it can’t find it there either. You’ll need to make sure you’ve installed broadcom-wl, kernel-PAE-devel, and kmod-wl and their dependencies. I seem to remember having a problem getting wireless to work as well, but it was quickly resolved by installing kernel-PAE-devel. Good luck.

  • Brandon
    November 27th, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Thanks for the response. modprobe wl can’t find it either and I’ve installed all dependencies. Perhaps a re-installation of the packages would work? I guess it’s worth a try. If that doesn’t work, I’ll just re-install the whole OS and try the steps from the beginning.

  • Brandon
    November 27th, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Well, I finally got wireless to work. For some reason, the akmods package wasn’t installed by default, so I first removed the packages indicated in your post and then installed akmods. From there I installed the packages again and then tried the “akmods –akmod wl” command. It still could not find the wl module, but I continued on to load it via modprobe without error after loading the lib80211 module first. I then rebooted and wireless began working.

  • Josh
    November 27th, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Quick question, does your lcd backlight really work? When I f1/f2 buttons, I see the on screen logo showing me that the brightness is going up/down, however, it doesn’t. I’m in a dark room and there is absolutely no difference between the highest and lowest settings.

    Any ideas?

  • SendDerek
    November 27th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Yes. The backlight really works with the Nouveau driver. Somebody above reported that it doesn’t work with the Nvidia driver (there might be a work-around, but I’m not going to pursue that path).

  • min
    December 5th, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Regarding the backlight, I did test in Leonidas not constatine as I haven’t install nvidia-drivers correctly in constatine In leonidas, the backlight key is detected, there is feedback, but the display didn’t change the brightness directly. If i lower/increase the brightness, I need to sleep the display (close the lid) and when it’s wake up, it change the brightness. I don;t know how to fix it, but thats what i did.

  • min
    December 8th, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Additional info. For me, F12 is still the same with F11 regarding nvidia and backlight key. I need to sleep it first before it takes effect.

  • dheche
    December 13th, 2009 at 5:40 am

    Last night i install f12 on my mbp 4.1. lcd backlight is work out of the box (pressing f1/f2, i try using nouveau and nvidia driver, both work well).

    for heat problem, i think this is workaround
    echo 4000 > /sys/devices/platform/applesmc.768/fan1_min
    echo 3000 > /sys/devices/platform/applesmc.768/fan2_min

    touchpad is work well (compare to f10), but i don’t know how to disable ‘tap’.

  • stick
    December 14th, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    I’m up to F12 on my aluminum MacBook as well and I was wondering about the new Apple Magic Mouse – have you seen it, do you have one, and does anyone know if it’ll work in F12?

  • dheche
    December 15th, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Yes, “dont tap while typing” option doesn’t work. I use “syndaemon -t -d” command instead.
    And because i dont like single finger tap, i disable it using “synclient TapButton1=0” command.
    But i wonder why f12 isn’t respect /etc/hal/policy/synaptics.fdi (when using f10, i write hal policy and work perfectly)

  • kbon
    December 27th, 2009 at 5:39 am

    I just had the same problem with the wireless. Unfortunately your solution didn’t help me.
    Fortunately though, I found a solution which is pretty simple (and straightforward to be honest):
    installing the akmod-wl package was sufficient for me =)

    Hope this helps

  • Branden
    December 31st, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Hello All,
    I found your website before I attempted the install of F12 on my white Macbook – the 2006 White Macbook. I installed F12 and out of the box everything is sweet. Wireless and all. Here’s my issue now though. I run software update after install and I have no updates. Ok. Maybe there are no updates, or maybe because I’m behind a firewall? I don’t know, so I go home and try it and same thing. At some random point in the night, I was told I had 301 updates. I unchecked the Japanese language update since I don’t and may never speak Japanese and the update hung and quit. I go to Terminal and run “yum update” and I’m told the yum lock is in use by another application. I kill the PID’s, I restart the computer multiple times. I run it again and kill the new PID’s and nothing. I run “yum clean all” and it allows me to run “yum update” and I can run SW Update from Gnome. Now Gnome SW Update says no Updates available and “yum update” tells me I need to add a repository.

    My question is, what is yum clean and how did that fix that particular piece of the puzzle and how do I add repositories?

  • lutzhell
    January 21st, 2010 at 4:15 pm


    i´ve found a solution to the keyboard backlight problem at least for my MacBook Pro 3.1


    The INSTALL readme explains everything.

    After installation be sure to have the right path to your pommed as value for DAEMON in /etc/init.d/pommed.init

    Have a lot fun with it 🙂

  • Glen Turner
    January 31st, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Note carefully that if you previously installed Fedora using rEFIt, then upgrading your system to Fedora 12 will irretrievably break it, the only way out being removing rEFIt and a complete reinstall. There are multiple bugs open on this, but “Macbook Pro is a unsupported platform” summarises the tone of the responses.

    Because rEFIt does not work, and EFI support in Fedora 12 only begins with Santa Rosa Macs, there is no way to get Fedora 12 working on the earliest MacBook Pro Intel. I can tell you to my cost that upgrading on those machines simply results in a completely borked system with no way out beyond installing Ubuntu (which uses GRUB2).

  • SendDerek
    February 1st, 2010 at 8:32 am

    I was able to install F12 without removing rEFIt on my 5,1 model. It’s not the “Pro” model, so maybe there are some differences, but that surprises me that you had so much trouble. Thanks for the insight.

  • Hugh
    February 4th, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I think the parent may only be referring to older models, but FWIW I originally installed Fedora 11 x86_64 with rEFIt and then used preupgrade to upgrade to F12 x86_64 on my 5,1 pro without any serious issues (I think I had to get rEFIt to re-check the partitions afterwards – can’t remember…).

  • luca
    April 1st, 2010 at 8:21 pm


    I have a Macbook Pro 5.4 (very similar hardware) here is a suggestion to make the shound working

    Add at the end of /etc/rc.local
    amixer -c 0 set ‘Surround Speaker’ 115 unmute
    amixer -c 0 set ‘Front Speaker’ 115 unmute
    amixer -c 0 set ‘Surround Speaker Playback Volum’ 115 unmute

    Also if you want the fn key to act normally (i.e., if you press F1 is F1 and to change
    the screen luminosity you press fn+F1) att to /etc/rc.local

    echo “2” > /sys/module/hid_apple/parameters/fnmode

    If someone gets the keyboard backlight to work let me know!

    hope it helps!

  • Orod Moeini
    April 6th, 2010 at 4:52 am

    Hi Luca,

    I’m a macbook pro 5,1 owner with Fedora 12.

    One way to get the keyboard back-light device working is through the command-line with this command:

    echo 100 | sudo tee -a /sys/class/leds/smc::kbd_backlight/brightness

    where the value can be anywhere between 0-255.

    This is no elegant solution but if it remains in your history its fairly easy to invoke it again.

    Back when devkit was not used to configure the system settings, you could compile and install the ubuntu hal-applesmc package from source (which where actually two c files that read and wrote to light-sensor and keyboard backlight and you would put the bundled fdi file linking to those compiled files (previoulsy edited for the path), under hal directories).

    That would give you access to the keyboard backlight through the keyboard keys (F5-F6) and an actual gnome icon would appear (as in screen brightness or volume, since its supported led device in gnome power management and other shit and stuff)

    Since its now supported directly in the kernel since 2.6.32 (current fedora 12 kernel) we should urge the devs to configure the device through devkit. I have no idea how to do this and a bit busy to look at the code or the man pages for the moment.

    applesmc: Apple MacBook Pro 5 detected:
    applesmc: – Model with accelerometer
    applesmc: – Model with light sensors and backlight
    applesmc: – Model with 20 temperature sensors
    applesmc: device has already been initialized (0xe0, 0xf8).
    applesmc: device successfully initialized.
    applesmc: 2 fans found.
    input: applesmc as /devices/platform/applesmc.768/input/input8
    Registered led device: smc::kbd_backlight
    applesmc: driver successfully loaded.

    Regarding the heat that seems to come up much to often, this is due to nvidia 9600 GT graphic card being used, more powerful and hotter than the integrated nvidia 9400 M used by default by Mac OS X. Yes guys you have TWO graphic cards on this machine.

    The only one accessible through bios-compatibility mode is the 9600, hence that is the one configured and used. If you want to get access to the other card you have to boot linux in efi mode. (translation: complile and install grub2 for x86_64 EFI (grub.efi) machines and put it under fat32 gpt bootable partition with all the necessary modules – I forgot to mention grub 2 is modular and they sometime fail to load for no reason, fun fun fun – and configure grub.cfg (new syntax, some similarities to grub.conf ) to boot your machine)

    This way refit would recognize it at boot and you can boot your linux os in efi mode with both graphic cards accessible, but only one is connected to the screen (the one configured in mac os x) which should be put in the xorg file (BusID “PCI:02:00:0” for 9600 or BusID “PCI:03:00:0” for 9400 under device in you xorg.conf file), if not x will fail. If you have nvidia proprietary drivers, it will wake up both graphic cards and you will end up using both cards, to no battery life gain xDDD. Something there in the man pages for nvidia or the xorg configuration but had no time to look further for how to turn off the extra graphic card. By the way nvidia_backlight module won’t work under efi, so there is no screen brightness control.

    I wrote a book.

    If anyone has questions, drop some lines here, might be able to help you avoid re-inventing the wheel and hours of pointless trial and error.


  • SendDerek
    April 7th, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    I appreciate such an insightful and detailed response. I hope other readers will find use in it.

    Now, there is a MacBook and a MacBook Pro. I’m using a MacBook, not the Pro, and I notice the fans kicking in pretty often. It’s not a terrible, damaging heat, just uncomfortable. I don’t have any experience with the MacBook Pro except what you’ve just described. Thanks again.

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