Fedora 14 Laughlin on MacBook Aluminum [Guide]

This is a guide to getting Fedora 14 Laughlin running on a MacBook Aluminium. Specifically, it was written for the MacBook 5,1 generation, but I believe this should work on more recent generations as well. As with Fedora 13, there were many things that worked out of the box. I have created this guide to help others get Fedora 14 installed on their MacBook Aluminum.

Table of Contents:

Video Working, but with comments
Wireless Needs manual install
Bluetooth Works out of the box (OBO)
Touchpad Working, but with comments
Sound Working out of the box (OBO)
Function Keys Working, but with comments
Keymapping Working, but with comments
Webcam Working out of the box (OBO)
Microphone Not Yet Documented (untested)
Backlight Working out of the box (OBO)
Keyboard Backlight Working, but with comments
Power/Battery Working, but with comments
Mini DisplayPort Not Yet Documented (untested)
Example Partition Scheme for Dual-Boot Mac OSX and Fedora 14


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 wireless networking up and running (and also the nvidia drivers if you wish):

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:

su -c 'yum upgrade'

Yes, this step takes a bit of time, but it’s worth getting all the updated packages (less to fix). Then, restart the system:

su -c 'shutdown -r now'


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 either need to get the proprietary Nvidia drivers from the RPM Fusion repository or enable the experimental 3D support from the Nouveau drivers using su -c 'yum install mesa-dri-drivers-experimental'. Then, to enable desktop effects, simply go to “System -> Preferences -> Desktop Effects” and enable them.


Depending on what the return of uname -r is, you’ll either need kernel-PAE-devel or kernel-devel. For my installation, I had, so I needed the kernel-devel package. If I had seen, I would’ve needed the kernel-PAE-devel package. If you have used “yum upgrade” as mentioned in the PreStep section above, you’ll want to restart the system. I found issues with the akmods step below which were solved with a reboot.

su -
yum -y install akmod-wl akmods kernel-devel dkms
akmods --akmod wl
modprobe lib80211
modprobe wl


Bluetooth connections work out of the box. I was able to test a pair of bluetooth headphones and a bluetooth mouse.


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”


Sound works out of the box. This includes the headphones and internal speakers. Internal speakers turn off when headphones are plugged in and are turned back on when headphones are unplugged.

Function Keys:

These are working out of the box, including the backlight and audio keys, but not including the keyboard backlight.


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.


It has been reported that the microphone does not work out of the box. I have been unable to test this, but will soon.


Works out of the box.

Keyboard Backlight:

The keyboard backlight works, but you need to manually increase and decrease the brightness. This is scriptable and can be mapped to the keyboard brightness keys. I will comment further soon. If you need something now, refer to “LoveThePenguin81” comment on my last guide.
Max Brightness:

su -c 'echo 255 > /sys/devices/platform/applesmc.768/leds/smc::kbd_backlight/brightness'

Min Brightness:

su -c 'echo 0 > /sys/devices/platform/applesmc.768/leds/smc::kbd_backlight/brightness'


I have not have ample time to test this, but I am noticing that the battery meter problems which were present in previous versions of Fedora are gone. It seems to report an accurate battery life now. The fan is constantly on, which it isn’t when booted to MacOS X, so it leads me to believe that the heat/fan noise problems still exist. I have not installed or attempted to correct this yet, so if there are any comments, please let me know.

Mini DisplayPort:

I do not have the means to test this feature of the MacBook since I don’t own any of the miniDVI adapters. It was reported with Fedora 13 that it does not work out of the box. A workaround/solution, to my knowledge, has not been found. Edit: From the comments, it sounds like this actually does work with some effort. If you have a set of steps to get this to work, I would be highly appreciative. 🙂

Example Partition Scheme for Dual-Boot Mac OSX and Fedora 14:

By Request:
This is my partition scheme for dual boot environment with Mac OSX and Fedora 14. I have a totally separate 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 24 Comments So Far

  • Min
    November 2nd, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    The external display in macbook aluminium use mini display port instead of mini dvi(for older model). It works in KDE desktop in fedora 12, just go to display setting and it even detect your external display. I don’t know how it is in XFCE as i think there is no GUI tool for it in xfce 4.6(it will in xfce 4.8). But I can project it to external display using command line. I haven’t tried it in GNOME

    Looking forward to your experiment with fedora 14. I am currently have some thing underway, therefore i won’t update it to 14 yet. But I will at the end of the month. And hopefully i can help you find the remaining problem.

    PS: I Always look at your site everytime new Fedora release out, since i found your at F11

  • [email protected]
    November 2nd, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    I appreciate your insight! Thank you for your comments and kind words. They are what keep me going! I’ve corrected the terminology in the post.

  • [email protected]
    November 2nd, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    I have now verified the steps above. Have fun! 🙂

  • Thannoy
    November 3rd, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    For information, mini display port work for me on Fedora13 in this context:

    * Fedora 13, 64 bits + fusion
    * mini-display-port to VGA adapter
    * GNOME
    * Proprietary Nvidia drivers

    I think I used nvidia config panel to set ip up but I don’t remember correctly.

  • Damir Franusic
    November 4th, 2010 at 2:54 am

    Same here, everything works perfectly(dual X screen). Has anyone been able to get the microphone working?

  • Perty
    November 4th, 2010 at 12:05 pm


    Could someone point me in the right direction of what steps I have to do before the actual install? I’m really new on mac and I want to dual boot fedora 14.

    I have a Mac Book Pro 10.6.4

    Just run the installation dvd? (I tried install fedora 13 and tinkering with the bootcamp and refti and ended up reinstalled at the end :-/ )

  • [email protected]
    November 4th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Here’s an overview of the steps that I took. I don’t want to go into much details since there are many tutorials out there…

    1.) Install rEFIt. Verify that it works.
    2.) Burn a copy of PartedMagic LiveCD and boot to it.
    3.) Use gparted to setup your partitions (you can see the example partition layout I provided in the guide above).
    4.) Boot from Fedora CD/DVD and select “Custom Partition” when you get to the partition section of setup.
    5.) Install the bootloader (GRUB) on the same partition as your Linux partition (setup defaults to this).
    6.) Once completed with Fedora install, use the Partition Utility of rEFIt to update the MBR.
    7.) You should now be able to choose between Mac OSX and Linux using the arrow keys in the rEFIt menu when you power on the computer.

    Again, it’s just an overview and not very detailed. These are the steps that I recall when I setup my dual-boot environment for the first time. Now that I think about it, I may have used bootcamp to “split” the HDD into two partitions first, and then used gparted to start splitting up that newly created partition. This would ensure that the Mac OSX install is still intact so you don’t have to do a re-install on it. If you use just gparted to modify your partition layout, you’ll probably need to reinstall Mac OSX on the partition you choose and then setup Linux on another partition of your choosing.

  • Perty
    November 4th, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks Derek!

    I got it to work at last.

    I almost followed your step execpt I used Mac OS disk utilities to rearange the partitions, I made a 20gb partition which was empty and a 20gb FAT partition for data,

    I installed rEFit and run Fedora 14 64 bit live install cd and installed from that.

    After that I didn’t managed to start from rEFit , I didnät get past the penguin.

    So I synced the partition table (or what it was called from the boot meny) and it still didn’t work..

    So I booted from the live cd and I really don’t know exacly what I did but I got it to work. I run grub , don’t know if it’s doing anything..

    It’s really magical..

    And I’m convinced that Apple doesn’t want competiion from Linux :-/ This will probably be my first and last Mac…

    Thanks again!

  • Derek
    November 10th, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Yo guys, can you help me out ?
    I installed F14 and fusion but i can’t install the wireless driver, it gives me an error that looks like this :

    [[email protected] ~]# yum -y install akmod-wl akmods kernel-devel dkms
    Loaded plugins: langpacks, presto, refresh-packagekit
    Adding en_US to language list
    Setting up Install Process
    No package akmod-wl available.

    not exactly sure what im doing wrong…

  • [email protected]
    November 11th, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    I wonder… is the fusion repository actually enabled? You should see some evidence that it is when you run yum install.

  • James
    November 11th, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    How’s about the fan control? I know there is a fair bit of info around it for ubuntu.

    Running 4,1 MBP on F14 and everything okay. I made the mistake of trying the K spin, ugh, back to Gnome!

  • [email protected]
    November 11th, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Personally, I have not yet played around with fan control. Let us know if you find anything out!

  • Mike McC.
    November 12th, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Thanks for these instructions! I used them to get F14 rolling on my 17″ MBP 5,2. So far so good. The power management is much better than it has been in the past, though still not quite up the levels of OSX (I regularly get 6-7 hours of active use in OSX, seems like 3-4 in F14). It’s still a little sketchy thermally, but again things seem better than in the past. Everything you claimed worked out of the box was accurate on my machine – good stuff! 😀

  • Damir Franusic
    November 13th, 2010 at 4:31 am

    Is it possible to use both integrated GPU and Nvidia? If i understood correctly, Integrated VGA is diabled in BIOS emulation mode and it woks only in EFI mode. Has anyone been able to run Fedora in EFI mode or somehow enable integrated Intel VGA in BIOS mode?


    I still haven’t had any luck with the microphone..both microphone port and integrated one..

  • Steve Morrissey
    November 16th, 2010 at 7:09 am

    Just a heads up, my Mini DisplayPort worked out-of-box when connecting to an Apple Cinema Display. It automatically detected the display and spanned my desktop across both screens. No tinkering needed.

  • James
    November 16th, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    On MBP 4,1 for those interested.

    Duel boot with OSX. Needed to rdisk the MBR in OSX and also update MBR in rEFIt for my MBP to boot into fedora, otherwise selecting linux from the refit menu would result in a no OS type error.

    So I’m on Gnome now (for the better) and this thing feels great. A lot less ‘clunky’ than Ubuntu. Software wise I cannot get compiz settings to change any settings at all but this is more of a universal thing I think.

    Video* – kmod drivers needed to be yum installed but after that all okay
    Sound – all good oob
    iSight – all good oob
    USB – all good oob
    KB – needed to set the keyboard layout to apple but others ok oob
    Sound and Brightness controls – all good oob (pending the above of course!)
    Keyboard Backlight* – Same as above.

    Fan control – This is controlled by the applesmc driver. Check to see that it is loaded

    In Terminal:

    lsmod|grep applesmc

    If it’s loaded, you’ll seem some stuff come pop up in your terminal.

    It does appear to control the fan, but it waits until it gets to some obscenely hot temp before the fans start to kick in. One work around is manually controlling you fans. To do this, run this in root.

    echo 1 > /sys/devices/platform/applesmc.768/fan1_manual
    echo 1 > /sys/devices/platform/applesmc.768/fan2_manual

    This sets applesmc to allow manual fan control.

    echo 4000 > /sys/devices/platform/applesmc.768/fan1_output
    echo 4000 > /sys/devices/platform/applesmc.768/fan2_output

    This will set your fans RPM to 4000. Anywhere between 2000 – 6000 should be echoed.

    A better option is to let the fan work automatically but change the fan minimum speed. By default it is 2000rpm. I would be changing this to around 3500 or 4000 realistically, but this could be just me since I am in Thailand where it’s a bit warmer than the rest of the world!

    To do this, back to terminal in SU run

    sudo echo 4000 > /sys/devices/platform/applesmc.768/fan1_min
    sudo echo 4000 > /sys/devices/platform/applesmc.768/fan2_min

    And set this each time you login, add the above lines to the end of /etc/rc.local file.

    gedit /etc/rc.local

    Hope this helps!

    It’s also worth checking out https://wiki.ubuntu.com/MacBookPro/SantaRosaFanControl – sadly I can’t get this script to work with Fedora but it basically controls the fans based on the temp registered on your sensors. If someone could get this working for Fedora, awesome! I would have a crack but I don’t have the time at the moment.

    Apart from that, nothing to report. Everything seems to work as it should. I am awaiting moving my whole office in Thailand to linux once they fix the samba bug which is stoping you writing to w2k3 shares, even known I am considering running a linux server environment! 😮 but migrating active directory and whatnot would be a pain for my technically challenged brain to deal with!


  • a lemming
    November 19th, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    My sound does not work out of the box (I have some other problems too, but this one is most important for overall functionality).

    Here’s what I think is wrong: every time I open alsamixer, the HDA Nvidia sound card is not selected as the default. and no matter how many times I use F6 to select it, every time I exit alsamixer and open it again it is no longer the selected sound card.

    So does anybody know how to set a new default sound card in alsamixer? Or does somebody think something else is the problem? BTW, I am using a Macbook Pro 7,1.

    Thank you

  • a lemming
    November 22nd, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Nevermind. Got my sound working.

  • Kyle
    December 3rd, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Macbook Pro 5,4.

    I had the same trouble with my sound. For those that might want to know. As root use alsamixer and turn up the volume and unmute Front Sp and Surround. Then use `alsactl store` to make the settings stick. Hope this helps people who had the same problem.

  • gilgamash
    February 2nd, 2011 at 2:49 am

    One hint here for all those failing due to errors such as
    “no module akmods-wl found”

    you need to include the nonefree rpmfusion repository
    which is http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-stable.noarch.rpm
    and if you like the free one to, just lave out all non words.
    With Rawhide and Fedora 15 the rep changes however.

    Afterwards, yum the akmod-wl things again. All the nvidia drivers can also be installes after this!


  • Michael
    February 19th, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    On my MBP 6,2 I’ve had some issues with the sound, namely internal speakers not working and built-in microphone not working (didn’t try an external mic).

    The speaker fix was as simple as going into alsamixer, unmuting and turning up all the possible options. For the microphone I had to create ‘/etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf’ with the line ‘options snd-hda-intel model=mbp55’.

    The only other issue is that I cannot change the LCD backlight brightness, but I can live with that for now.

  • Sebastian
    April 22nd, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Hey Kyle,

    thank you for your hint, it looks like everything is now running on my machine 🙂

  • Steve Nordquist
    May 6th, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    …n.b. this is due to Fedora 14 only being available in beta so far, hence the WiFi driver sketchiness (well, until you install per directions.)
    I find it odd that you said nothing about video driver status, media players to install, KDE (whose tiny icon things now mean; either things they shouldn’t, or what they mean in Win7; and I don’t care to check either of those possibilities.) Moreover there are relevant performance tweaks as far as installing Flash drives for swap (i.e. pagefile, a.k.a. virtual memory) and if it’s big enough /var. VM cases might also be considered, then case mods for glowing-keyboard xLeds…. All that just to get away from netstat?

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