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Jun

Fedora 15 Lovelock on MacBook Aluminum [Guide]

This is a guide to get Fedora 15 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 14, there were many things that worked out of the box. The differences between Fedora 14 and Fedora 15 are: 1) bluetooth required a set of commands to be ran before it worked and 2) the keyboard backlight works out of the box. I have created this guide to help others get Fedora 15 installed on their MacBook Aluminum quickly. I hope to gain a lot of feedback so it can benefit other users who wish to use Fedora on a MacBook. I would also like to add that I used the live CD to install, not the DVD.

Notable frustrations:

Table of Contents:

PreStep
Video Working, but with comments
Wireless Needs manual install
Bluetooth Working, but with comments
Touchpad Working, but with comments
Sound Working out of the box
Function Keys Working, but with comments
Keymapping Working, but with comments
Webcam Working out of the box
Microphone Not Yet Documented (untested)
Backlight Working out of the box
Keyboard Backlight Working out of the box
Power/Battery Working, but with comments
Mini DisplayPort Not Yet Documented (untested)
Example Partition Scheme for Dual-Boot Mac OSX and Fedora 15

Legend:

Working out of the box = Working out of the box
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)

PreStep:

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 'yum localinstall --nogpgcheck 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'

Video:

The Nouveau drivers actually work out of the box (with composite/3D support), so nothing really needs to be done here. You could install the nvidia drivers if you wanted to. I chose not to install them since Nouveau works just fine with Gnome 3, so I don’t have step-by-step instructions for installing them. Instead, use the following resource: http://rpmfusion.org/Howto/nVidia.

Wireless:

Depending on what the return of uname -r is, you’ll either need kernel-PAE-devel or kernel-devel. For my installation, I had 2.6.38.5-24.fc15.i686, so I needed the kernel-devel package. If I had seen 2.6.38.5-24.fc15.i686-PAE, 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
exit

Bluetooth:

In Fedora 15, Bluetooth connections did not work out of the box as it did in Fedora 14. Instead, it will appears as if bluetooth is working, but when you open the bluetooth properties, it says “bluetooh disabled” or something along those lines. To fixt his, open a terminal and run the following commands:

su -
systemctl enable bluetooth.service
systemctl start bluetooth.service

After using these commands, I was able to successfully test a pair of bluetooth headphones and a bluetooth mouse.

Touchpad:

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”

I will note that using the touchpad under Fedora 15 is practically useless. It’s incredibly frustrating to use and I wish I could just disable it entirely. There are two things that need to be solved in order to change my opinion on this: 1) The “double-tap to click” feature needs to stay “clicked” until I tap again (so I can double-tap to select, then I can move around with multiple finger strokes, and then tap again to release the click) and 2) palm detection so I don’t tap while typing. The 2nd point is supposedly included in the trackpad settings in the mouse preferences, but it doesn’t have any effect (it’s the same behavior on or off).

Sound:

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, keyboard backlight, and audio keys (the keyboard backlight keys were not working in Fedora 14).

Keymapping:

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.

Webcam:

Works out of the box. Open “Cheese Webcam Booth” from “Applications -> Sound and Video” to see. Note: I cannot seem to get Cheese to record my video! Strange…

Microphone:

In Fedora 14, it was reported that the microphone does not work out of the box. I have been unable to test this but will soon.

Backlight:

Works out of the box.

Keyboard Backlight:

Works out of the box.

Power/Battery:

I have not had ample time to test this, but it appears that the battery indicator is accurate. The fans seem to be more audible than Mac OSX. I have not put it through a scientific test, but I’m thinking that battery life in Fedora is shorter than in Mac OSX still. I’m going to keep monitoring the fan noise and heat as I use Fedora 15 more in the coming weeks. If there are any comments on this, please let me know.

Mini DisplayPort:

This is not working out of the box. I have plugged in a Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter into an external monitor. The display preferences do not detect the second monitor. It was reported with Fedora 13 that it does not work out of the box, but a workaround has been found. I have still not heard about this workaround, so please enlighten us if you have found the solution. I haven’t had the time to seek out a solution myself.

Example Partition Scheme for Dual-Boot Mac OSX and Fedora 15:

By Request:
This is my partition scheme for dual boot environment with Mac OSX and Fedora 15. 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):
MacBook-dualboot-fedora-macosx

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 12 Comments So Far

  • fq
    June 6th, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    hello,i hve a wifi problm while fllw yr step…
    the error

    Checking kmods exist for 2.6.38.6-26.rc1.fc15.i686 [ OK ]
    Files needed for building modules against kernel
    2.6.38.6-26.rc1.fc15.i686 could not be found as the following
    directories are missing:
    /usr/src/kernels/2.6.38.6-26.rc1.fc15.i686/
    /lib/modules/2.6.38.6-26.rc1.fc15.i686/build/ [FAILED]

    plz help me ๐Ÿ™ ..

  • [email protected]
    June 8th, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Hmmm… I’m thinking it can’t find the kernel sources from which to compile the module. Perhaps installing the kernel source would help. I think it’s just a matter of throwing ‘-devel’ on the end of the kernel package. So, ‘yum install `uname -r`-devel’ might help? This is untested. I did not need to do this on a fresh install of Fedora 15 using the liveCD. Also, be sure you’re following the steps verbatim (might want to try that before installing -devel package).

  • Jeffery G.
    June 12th, 2011 at 2:43 am

    Hello, Derek,

    Against my mother’s advice, I’m thinking about running Linux yet again because of my short attention span with operating systems. I’ve gone through Snow Leopard, Ubuntu 10.04.2, 10.10, 11.04 (which I bricked the first time), OpenSUSE (HATED it), and Linux Mint 10, just to end up with Snow Leopard yet again. I love Linux for its customization, but before I decide to take the plunge yet again, I have some questions that I hope you can answer.

    1. Have you noticed if your Macbook runs hotter than it would have under Mac OSX? And if it does, do you think this could harm any of the internal parts?

    2. Are you using a Macbook 7.1? I would like to know this because I’m using one that was purchased almost a year ago.

    3. Have you encountered any unusual problems while running Fedora 15?

    4. This is less important, but have you noticed an increase (or decrease) in sound quality when listening to music? I own a pair of Audio Technica studiophones, and I really care about the sound quality of music.

    The reason I’m asking this is I would like to actually have an OS and stick to it. It gets tiresome switching all the time, finding one that works for you.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Kevin H.
    August 19th, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Hey Derek! I’ve been using your macbook 5,1 guides for almost two years now, you single handedly out compete all other guides for our rare versions of macbooks! keep up the awesome work!

    – kevin

  • [email protected]
    August 20th, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Thanks a lot! I really appreciate that feedback. ๐Ÿ™‚ I try to please.

  • marcelo
    August 28th, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    thank you! this tutorial helped me so much, specially in wireless adapter.

  • [email protected]
    August 29th, 2011 at 8:02 am

    You’re welcome! I’m glad it helped out.

  • dekela
    September 14th, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Hi.

    Thank you for the tutorial!!

    Does your brightness function keys work?
    Mine dosent , I am using KDE (Fedora 15 Macbook pro 5,2)

    Any idea on a solution?

    Dekel

  • [email protected]
    September 14th, 2011 at 8:02 am

    You’re welcome! Unfortunately, I’ve no experience with KDE so I won’t be of much help here.

  • James Brennan
    September 19th, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    I follow your steps the other day to setup wireless on my Macbook Pro and it worked perfectly. I tried to follow the same steps again today after reformatting and I get an error when running ‘modprobe wl’ that says FATAL: Module wl not found.

    My kernel is 2.6.40.4-5.fc15.x86_64

    Could my problem be that its 2.6.40 and yours is earlier (2.6.38), or that I’m running 64 bit? But it worked the other day, I think when I ran yum update it updated the kernel.

  • mike
    October 1st, 2011 at 1:25 am

    I’m not sure this will work for you but as far as wireless goes, I was having problems that required removed the akmod-wl and re-installing (it had and old version that wasn’t updated): yum erase akmod-wl; yum install akmod-wl.

    I still had to run ‘akmods –akmod wl’ after that to create it (and I think restart NetworkManager to realize it was there)

    And just to rant a little, I’m very disappointed in the F14->F15 update. It’s been out a while already and wireless being difficult and suspend not working seem like pretty major flaws. Hopefully the suspend will be working soon…

  • Yago
    October 11th, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    The mini DisplayPort works like a charm. Here are the instructions:
    su -c ‘yum install kmod-nvidia’
    restart
    connect mini DisplayPort adaptor to VGA display
    su -c ‘nvidia-settings’
    Go to: X Server Display Configuration.
    Click on: Detect Displays and the new screen will appear in the Layout.
    Drag and drop the screen if you want it to your right.
    Change configuration of the new screen to TwinView.
    If you want to be the primary display mark ‘Make this the primary display for the X Screen’
    Hit Apply.
    If you want to keep the configuration click on ‘Save to X Configuration File’.
    That was easy right?

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