Just recently I gave up getting MacBooks to work with Linux and went back to ThinkPads and I couldn't be more happy. Granted you can still buy ThinkPads that have similar issues as the MacBooks. The difference is that you can find a ThinkPad (or some other brand) that works practically flawlessly. With the current line of MacBooks, not a single one doesn't have huge issues (like the webcam).
When you think about it, all I'm doing is abstracting the hardware to a hypervisor, and the OS that hypervisor is hosted on is responsible for all hardware management. I continue to get 10-14 hour battery runtime, never ever had a failed suspend/resume, and every single hardware component is fully supported.
Barely any other laptop can compare to it for battery life and the hardware itself is the best laptop experience I've had (although I do miss my 'pointing stick' from Toshiba or IBM/Lenovo gear). I'm surprised more people haven't suggested this.
The same benefits accrue even more so for Windows; not because of hardware incompatibility (there are Windows drivers for all Macbook hardware) but because of system decrepitude. I have never had a physical machine that booted Windows for 7 years (or even 2 years) that didn't become hopelessly fucked up, whether due to installing some weird open source thing, malware, or Windows Update.
But I have had the same 3 Windows VMs (XP, 7, and 8.1) running since the day I installed Windows on them, albeit with significant help from my frequent use of VMWare Fusion's snapshot feature.
The only big drawback is graphics performance -- if you want to play games I don't think you would be happy with the solution, but it works great for virtually any other usage.
For the MBA specifically, the resolution is less desirable (non-retina) but the retina model just doesn't exist yet. 8GB RAM max is a bit of a limitation too but I can work around that.
AwesomeWM (tiling window manager) helps me be productive in any monitor configuration though :)
If you are not a gamer this is a perfect machine for Linux users.
I really like this distro-per-hardware approach because people don't have to duplicate efforts in hunting for and following complex and lengthy tutorials and applying fixes.
They are also really nice laptops. Similar feel to the Macbook Air. (I do not work for Asus)
I had lots of issues with the graphics when I first bought it (April 2014), though, and had to run with a kernel patch to the 'quirks' code in the display-panel detection. Fortunately a dedicated developer put all this together with a kernel build script () so it wasn't too bad (... for an experienced Linux guy) to get Arch running.
In general though I think several-year-old ThinkPads are more painless because stuff like that has made it back to mainline already.
The second point, is that all hardware (except the webcam) is known to work fine. Asus has a ton of models, and researching which work and which don't take time. Apple has a single model per year, making it trivial to see if it works (or not).
Do they work flawlessly out of the box without fiddling with configuration files?
The Arch wiki has excellent resources on a lot of laptop models. For example, here is the page on that model:
(Don't think of it as required reading, but it can help you set up windows-specific keyboard functionality to work on linux, for example)
I would highly recommend it. You can find it easily for around $800 on ebay.
I'm hoping more people/companies release Linux distros (as oppose to how-to-fix-broken-stuff guides) that's tailored for different laptop models (with all the keyboard shortcuts and other hardware quirks properly configured).
Re keyboard shortcuts and such, those are usually extras handled by bloatware on Windows as well. I'm not sure I'd prefer companies releasing their own distros for this kind of stuff... we all saw what happened with android customizations.
So while it's great that you got lucky in this regard, I wouldn't recommend people this particular model because of the high defect rate alone (even if they choose to use Windows).
> I'm not sure I'd prefer companies releasing their own distros for this kind of stuff
It's not just keyboard shortcuts though. For example, take a look at all the modifications made for C720 from plain Ubuntu:
I just don't think it's a good idea that lots of smart people get frustrated and waste time going through hardware-specific documentation and applying fixes like these.
Writing good documentation (like the Arch one you mentioned) is a better-than-nothing solution, but in my opinion releasing distros with all the right configurations for that specific hardware is the right solution.
I find if you don't update Arch obsessively and wait a week or two, then it is very stable.
I previously used a Macbook + Arch and had nothing but problems. But using a Thinkpad + Arch and being careful with updates and I've had zero of the issues I experienced non-stop last year.
The most important thing is hardware choice. Using good and common hardware means you eliminate about 90% of problems with Linux. Using stable software solves the other 9-10% of issues.
A counter to the wait a week or two idea: I remember the update that changed the md device numbers from 0->128 etc.. I hit that accidentally before it was on the site, then the next week didn't look at the site and it got changed back. Piddly stuff like this that you only find when you reboot starts to grate on me is all.
I'm not anti arch by any means, more just not wanting to constantly update with a rolling distro. I found a blog post about nix on the c720 and so I guess I will go buy one some upcoming week. My needs are pretty minimal though, browser+emacs+commandlineish stuff. The rest I can do on my macbook pro which is feeling to me to be more a desktop of late.
I remembered reading about zram being enabled in ChromeOS, not sure why I didn't think to investigate it. Thanks for the recommendation, I'll definitely check it out!
I have the c720 with arch installed. There are some problems, mainly the GPU lock https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=83677#c102
The bug is fixed in the 3.19rc kernel.
My main problem was the very bad build quality of the laptop it self. I'm used to mechanical keyboards, I never got used to the c720 one.. The screen is also really bad. Given the price tag it's hard to complain though.
I finally put chromeOS back and gave the laptop to my SO. I got a used x220 in perfect condition for a bit more of the c720 asking price. I replaced the screen with a new IPS bought from ebay.
Best linux laptop I ever had.
I wouldn't say the keyboard/screen of C720 are my favorite but they are decent enough for me, especially for the price.
In general, I agree with you. It can be challenging, but as long as you don't have the bleeding edge macbook, the latest Ubuntu tends to work pretty well.
The 2014 macbook pro I'm using now has everything working on Ubuntu 2014 LTS except suspend and the thunder bolt ports for video.
Those are kind of a big deal, but I don't need them and I really like to run Linux on the exceptional mac hardware, so I take the hit.
When I do need to project a presentation, I just boot it into OSX. Again, that might not work for most, but I'm fine with it. I just really like to run Linux on the bare metal mac hardware.
But of course, unless someone actually tries, the itch never arises.
So your discouragement could be interpreted as an attempt to reduce the effectiveness of Linux on the Macbook platform. Why would you actually encourage that?
All these issues could also be solved if Apple opened up their hardware. We would also collectively have many more hours to develop other FLOSS software. Why are you putting the onus of blame on OP?
Are you implying that Apple went against the terms of a license under which code they used was placed? Or are you implying that even when you fully respect a license, you additionally have a moral obligation to follow certain rules unwritten in the license (which include opening up hardware, according to your post)?
I was suggesting that OP has better things to do than fix drivers that Apple couldn't give a damn about supporting.
Not everyone who's a hacker has "improving the usability of Linux on Apple hardware" among their driving priorities. Your suggestion that someone who doesn't isn't is what's specious. "No true Scotsman," and all...
I'm presently using the very machine TFA is talking about, and would love to be running Linux, but I have far more compelling things to do with my time than to fuck with drivers. I switched from Linux on a ThinkPad (x61t, for reference, supposedly very well supported) to OSX on a Mac precisely because I found myself spending more time twiddling configs and drivers to get such basic things as sound and wifi working than actually, you know, working.
I don't think there's anything wrong with having priorities other than the ones you're espousing, and I don't think it's reasonable or fair to expect otherwise.
But that's not what this is about - he was actively discouraging people from even trying.
Because he's actively discouraging people, rather pessimistically, from trying to improve the situation.
How did Linux get to where it is today? Was it by people saying "oh, it doesn't work, so why bother, its just all such a huge hassle" .. or was it more like "you know what would be cool? If Linux ran on this great hardware .. that'd be cool .. I'll spend some time on it".
Honestly, is this "Hacker News" or is it "Lamer News"? The folks downvoting and justifying subservience to the OSX hegemony over forward progress for the Linux collective must not realize just how nice it will be, one day soon, to be running the greatest OS ever made on the finest quality laptop hardware made, so far. Hmm .. that's rather an unusual hubris.
Disclaimer: been running Linux since day one. Had it running on my 4 Apple machines for 5+ years too. I don't see the problems a lot of folks do .. but then again, thats because I scratched the itch of wanting to escape from the OSX hegemony.
Generally, I'd disagree that Apple makes great hardware. I've owned an iBook and 2 MacBooks, and I think Apple generally produces shoddy quality products.
The exception being their trackpads, which are really quite exceptional.
I still think Apple deserves criticism for locking down both their hardware and their software.
Edit: To be fair, I've never owned a retina MacBook.
That said, I eagerly await the day that Apple are bumped down a rung or two. I'll be quite happy to abandon the MBP Pro for something better - when it exists. Trouble is, it doesn't yet.
Some BSD stuff, some stuff associated more with Linux, some random stuff. They of course have also supported a few of the projects.
.. which is great and everything, but doesn't have quite the oomph that the MBP Retina has .. yet. I'd love to see the Pixel get a hardware spec refresh and actually compete with the MBP Pro - if there were a configuration of the Pixel available with the same/better RAM/CPU/Disk configuration as the MBP Pro, I'd jump on it in a heartbeat. I don't need Apple - I do need a machine that can take the knocks and kicks issued by my lifestyle. The physical design is the principle attraction; but the specs must be competitive, and imho, they're just not. Yet. Lets see if a Pixel2 is on the horizon that gives the MBP Retina some heartache ..
Based on that Google had to bribe customers with giving 1TB of Drive space for 2 years for that purchase, I'd say the Pixel is pretty much dead.
You can select Ubuntu for the OS here, but the estimated ship date is Jan 29, 2015...
I mean, as long as we're doing product reviews.
My mid 2010 MacBook Pro is setup to dual boot OSX and Crunchbang Linux. In the past I had Ubuntu setup as the Linux OS, but I switched to the Openbox window manager when Ubuntu opted for Unity as the desktop environment. Openbox comes preconfigured on Crunchbang. Really nicely done. http://crunchbang.org/
I use Linux about 99% of the time on this laptop and have done since 2010. The only real problem is battery life. It isn't as good as OSX. I get about 2 hours.
As well as being great hardware it is nice to boot into OSX to run programs that aren't available on Linux.
I'm really happy with this computer. I've had it for about 4 1/2 years and I think I'd be happy to use it for another 2 or 3 years.
You can also back your VM up onto an external drive or move it to another machine easily. If my laptop dies or gets stolen you can be back up and running pretty quickly by running your VM on another computer.
The main con would probably be a potential shortage of RAM if you have 4GB or less. Really depends on your workload and software of choice, obviously.
The I/O thing is not a huge deal for most development work. Disk I/O is still fast if you're on an SSD.
Every single piece of hardware--touchpad, sound, webcam, suspend, wifi, etc.--worked out of the box.
This machine is solidly built, and reasonably attractive. I'd say the thing that dropped the price was its weight. Functionally, it's easily a replacement for my MacBook Air or better. Physically, it's like three MacBook Airs stacked on top of each other.
Sorry, forgot to mention linux distro. She is running stock Ubuntu 14.04 with Unity. Unity might get some hate from some segments, but seeing a novice user take to it with zero guidance was illuminating to me.
I'm running Ubuntu, although I may switch to Arch soon, but I haven't had any problems with drivers in Ubuntu and would imagine the same would go for Arch. So far, the only relative downsides compared to the MBP have been:
1) Battery life, although mostly fixed with TLP[a]
2) Keyboard quality...sometimes feels like some keys have more resistance than others
3) Screen contrast. My wife's MBP isn't a retina, but it still has much better resolution and contrast.
I've ran several different distros on macbooks too, mostly flavours of debian/ubuntu, but also arch and gentoo. In my experience it's all about the amount of work you're willing to put in, but you can defenitely more often than not, get a good setup running on macs(least the machines I tried it on).
The silver lining of getting arch to run on a machine that's not really "plug and play" is that you get to learn a lot of it's internals during install. I would recommend it to anyone with an intrest in linux desktop systems :)
This comment was typed on my own 4-year-old x201 :)
(Running Mint 17.1, which broke the display popup for brightness, but curiously not for audio.)
Anyway, if you're going to mod laptops to say that they're good, then many laptops will re-enter the fray :)
top of the line T models and some X models.
anything else is worse than the cheapest toshiba or acer.
if you doubt, buy yourself an E series for example. Lousy flimsy plastic quality, and all the corner cutting for costs that you find in an apple (like soldered RAM, devices changing bus based on what they found cheap on the market at that month, etc)
-correctly installed and configured Thinkfan to control fan speed. The default is a bit annoying.
(Oh, suspend doesn't work, but my laptop is plugged in 99% of the time, and I haven't undertaken any effort to make it work.)
That said, I do plan on buying a not-Macbook next time around.
Arch has always been more complicated, regardless of the computer.
even multihead worked without issues, which made me quite impressed.
I still use both for vms for projects, but minimized my system administration headaches.
Example: I had a recurring issue on a MacBook Pro after upgrading from 10.6.x to 10.9.x where some process called 'systemstats' would balloon to taking 4gb of RAM or so, usually for about an hour. This was triggered by all sorts of things, from the daily Spotlight indexing, to clicking on the power display on the top/right menu bar (essentially anything that invoked systemstats would cause it to go haywire). Looking around the internet, some other people had the issue, and had all sorts of possible ways to fix it, with no solid confirmation from Apple of anything, and fixes that didn't work. So it was trial and error, things like manually deleting some BerkeleyDB files to see if that'd solve the problem, someone even suggesting resetting PRAM, whatever that means. Eventually I settled on writing a script that just did a 'killall systemstats' every 5 minutes. Huge hack, but fixed the symptoms.
That way of debugging problems really sucks compared to what I was used to from previously running Debian. There, you either file a bug or find an existing bug, which serves as a central clearinghouse where people really try to determine the root cause of the problem and fix it. Apple doesn't really do anything like that, so you end up reading a bunch of disorganized threads on random mac forums, hoping someone has a diagnosis/fix.
*If you purchase a computer that supports OSX, which just so happens to only be overpriced Apple computers.
Some other stuff also randomly would not work, like wifi or printer and reboot would fix that, but I got so tired of it. Doing other stuff like screencasts, simple video editing, etc. is cumbersome or almost impossible on Linux.
About a month ago I got MBP, planned to install Linux on it, but got stuff I need working easily in OSX and discovered that I'm way more productive than before (hello Brackets and iMovie). I just decided to postpone Linux install for now (maybe permanently). I still got some confusion with MacPorts vs Homebrew for example, but I'm already up and running faster than I was ever on Linux.
After 8 years of tinkering with Linux I decided there's better use of my time.
I still use Linux for servers and never plan to change that.
But I'm really grateful for posts like these that document the issues with cutting edge hardware, so they might be resolved by the time I'm pulling the machines of the scrap pile for recycling. Some of my old workhorses had terrible problems with drivers when they were current, but now they Just Work.
You have the mass produced suits that sort of fits you. They are not designed for your needs, they are designed to (almost) fit as many people as possible.
Then again if you want something customized for your needs -- that really looks great on you -- you will have to hire a tailor. This will take some time. No matter what year it is.
>English is not my native language, corrections and fixes will be greatly appreciated.
There's nothing really bad that I could see. No potentially ambiguous instructions at least.
Two typos ("Thunderbold" and "actuel"), a missing "to" ("on a second USB") and a spurious "s" ("informations"). What's the best way to provide the feedback?
Edit: Looks like submitter is author, so this may be a solved problem.
what is the service that generates the author's picture on the top left? I've been seeing them a lot lately and I don't really understand why people use them in place of a real photo.
I really struggle to find a single reason how Linux makes sense on a laptop in 2015 as a primary OS when OS X is an option.
If you feel that strongly about running a Linux desktop, just do it in a VM.
Not everyone likes Mac, Linux or Windows - why can't they just use what they want to use?
Not sure what that means.
> Not everyone likes Mac, Linux or Windows - why can't they just use what they want to use?
They can! Choice is great! But I genuinely--honestly--do not understand that choice in 2015.
Is this sportsball? Glad we're picking teams.
> * OSX is not free
Not really concerned with a Richard Stallman view of the world, nor am I about the semantics of free vs. free.
> * OSX is not Open Source
Parts of it are. And I fully support the rights of companies to distribute which parts of their own projects that they deem necessary.
> * OSX
> * OSX
> * OSX
Actually, it's OS X.
The interrupts are also probably the cause of the abnormally high kworker CPU usage.
The only thing that doesn't work is my webcam. Does yours work?
The realm of many things BSD is great at does not include power management or hardware support so you will be guaranteed to be unhappy with it.
re "You can leave me a tip for hosting fees, thank you :)":
There are 10000 free alternatives to host your blog. Look into Jekyll+Github pages for example.
unrecognized option '--extentes'
I think you meant '--extents'
BTW I would like to see similar list howto install OSX on Thinkpad.