Ubuntu on Macbook Pro

As I have mentioned before (Magician Chrome makes RAM disappear), I had been facing several issues with Mac OSX. I use vim extensively, and so I had installed (after great difficulty) MacVim on my Macbook Pro, but recently while trying out a new plugin I found there was something amiss between MacVim & Python on my system and as a result I was unable to use the plugin. In my attempt at trying to repair MacVim, I ended up uninstalling it.

As I tried to reinstall MacVim using HomeBrew, I quickly realized, and rediscovered it’s very tight integration with XCode, something that I had comfortably forgotten after I installed it for the first time, after which I had conveniently gone ahead and removed XCode from my system because well, I simply do not like it. Coming back to the problem of installing MacVim, since now XCode was missing, I tried several workarounds only to install XCode in the end, which I might add is a staggering 4GB download :/.

As I downloaded and installed XCode, I restarted my system only to find that my Mac OSX had gone for a toss. As I tried to login into my system, it simply redirected from the login page to a blank white page and then back to the login page after a small delay without any error message! The credentials I was using were of course right, I knew that, but I wasn’t able to figure out what was wrong. I tried to get into the recovery options that Mac OSX comes with and even after trying to recover OSX it just did not work. This was the last straw, I had simply had it with OSX, it was time to end this futile waste of time.

I went ahead and installed Ubuntu on my Macbook Pro. Ubuntu has quite good documentation – https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MacBookPro, for installation on the Mac. Although I knew there may be a lot more issues standing in my path that I am yet to face, I buckled up and went ahead with the installation following the documentation. To my surprise, installing Ubuntu was a breeze, most features of Macbook were infact working out of box!

I have been working with Ubuntu for over 5 years, but never did I feel this much respect for the Ubuntu community as I do now. Everything except for the wireless just worked out of the box. Even fixing the wireless required me to just add a repository to APT and install the proprietary drivers and the wireless was fixed! Couldn’t be any simpler. Installing OSX on a Macbook Pro seemed more difficult that installing Ubuntu.

However once I updated ubuntu, which meant installing a lot of packages, I found that ubuntu too, like OSX, had crashed. It wasn’t able to boot :/. On a closer look I came to the realization that all of my pasts troubles were infact because of a bad hard disk, which was now virtually useless. I am very surprised though, that I had to go through so much of effort with both Mac OSX and Ubuntu, only to figure out in the end that it was just a case of a bad hard disk, it is surprising how such advanced Operating Systems are not able to diagnose such a problem and report it sooner.

I went ahead and bought a new SSD, replaced it in my Macbook Pro myself (that was fun!), and faced yet another decision to make, should I install OSX like everyone suggested, or should I install Ubuntu again, something that I have always been more comfortable with and have come to appreciate quite a lot in recent years, especially since I was successfully able to install it on the Macbook without much issues.

My open source enthusiast mind shouted out loud, I had to install Ubuntu, OSX, however shiny & nice it may be, it is still not as easily customizable as Ubuntu. So I went ahead and installed Ubuntu again, like I had previously. Today it has been over 4 months since I have been using my Macbook Pro running Ubuntu and I am yet to face any issue at all. In fact I couldn’t be happier :).

6 thoughts on “Ubuntu on Macbook Pro

  1. tuope

    Hello! Nice article!

    I read somewhere in the Ubuntu documentation that you might want to keep OS X around even though you are mainly using Ubuntu. For firmware updates. What is your experience regarding this issue?

    Best wishes!

    Reply
    1. dhruvasagar Post author

      That is correct, and you might want to do that. I didn’t do that only because I don’t mind not upgrading firmware, at least not for a while.

      Reply
    1. dhruvasagar Post author

      I haven’t installed the proprietary nvidia drivers so haven’t gone down that road yet, but it shouldn’t be that difficult since the underlying hardware is NVIDIA’s afterall, so drivers should work.

      Reply

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