Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon on an Intel MacBook

Ubuntu 7.10 is good stuff. The new version is faster, more stable, polished, and even a little too sparkly. There’s a burn animation for tooltips!

Getting my Mac ready for the install was easy. Leonardo pointed out Ubuntu’s MacBook guide, which is very helpful. I used rEFIt as a boot manager. It’s graphical and already has icons for Mac OS, Windows, and Linux. To install that, I just ran the DMG.

After that, GParted was able to steal some gigs from my Mac partition to make room for Linux. That part actually took a couple hours, so don’t be surprised if the screen doesn’t change for quite a while. After chopping up the hard drive, I was still able to successfully boot back into Mac OS, and nothing was missing or corrupted.

The live CD is a fully functional version of Ubuntu that runs straight from the CD drive–no modifications are made to the hard drive until you decide to install it.

During the installation process I chose to install onto the “largest continuous free space.” This is the space left over from partitioning with GParted. After a reboot, my Mac partition is still great and I can now boot Ubuntu Linux.

The few things that didn’t work correctly had tutorials for fixing:

A good place to start looking if you have any problems is the Community Ubuntu Documentation.

MP3s and other audio/video formats may not legally be included with Ubuntu. Therefore, you must install codecs (via the documentation) and for Real media (*.rm, *.ram, etc.) I had to install RealPlayer.

I ended up picking the Crux theme:

It’s cool. For games I chose AssaultCube and Wormux. Hey, Wormux developers! I found a bug. If you eliminate all but one guy on each team, then use one of them to kamikaze the other, the game doesn’t end in a draw. It hangs.

There’s a free equivalent to many non-free programs you use. Some are available for Windows and Macintosh. Find them or roll your own, that’s the Linux way.

Update: I now have a dock, kind of like Mac’s: the Avant Window Navigator.

Its animations are slow and the icons lose their sharpness for some reason, but some cool applets for it will become available soon.

I once dimmed my screen. Although I have since brightened my screen, every time I restart Ubuntu, my brightness level is reset to the lowest one. Bug report here.

Yes, vi and emacs are good. I do prefer a GUI, though. gedit does fine. I can’t say the same for Scribes, since Scribes has one window for every open file. Kate is fine, but only has one look, and like many of these editors, can’t open up a folder recursively. Even when they do, they try to open up files in the hidden .svn folder. It’s so easy to do this the smart way. I’m sticking to gedit for the time being.

Gah, mouse all over the place! Ubuntu doesn’t fine tune the mouse like Mac OS does. Every third word doesn’t appear correctly in my blog editor. A brush of touchpad can send the cursor to Mars or scroll down. The disable-trackpad-for-two-seconds-after-each-key-press trick does not really fix this problem.

Note: The WordPress editor doesn’t perform Undo correctly in Firefox on Ubuntu. I had three more screenshots in this post that were deleted when Control+Z caused all of them to disappear, and Redo did nothing. I don’t know who to blame on this one.

Again, there’s a problem with running Digital Paintball on anything but Windows. Yes, there is a Qudos installer. It needs to update to build019 already. And dang it, I’m a noob at compiling full-fledged applications for Mac OS. Someone needs to donate a MacBook to the dev team with specific instructions. “This device is to be used only for developing Digital Paintball for Macintosh computers.”

One more thing: Screenshot doesn’t include the window border when CompizBeryl flashy animations are running.

This just in: It looks like the Samba problems have cleared up! Now they install.

5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    […] November 2007 Recently, I discovered this excellent article on putting Ubuntu 7.10 onto an Apple Macbook. I’ve tried Ubuntu in the past, and wasn’t […]

  2. 2

    Leonardo said,

    Did you used ubuntu 32bits? By the date of your post, the MacBook youe installed is 64bits right?
    Because I’m having a really bad time to make the wifi connection works. Even with this great work of ndiswrapper guys, the windows driver available is 32bits, and it will not work with 64 bits kernel :


    Ok, if anybody knows a way to get it working.. please let me know…
    I’ll keep trying ,because you know, wireless adapter is something you need to have today in a lap top…. :(

    Btw, very good post!! Ubuntu Rocks! ;)

  3. 3

    mcandre said,

    It’s probably 32bit. I’m sad to say I don’t know my own architecture. There are guides to installing various flavors of Linux on Macs, there are still questions that arise about the many options. I didn’t want to push it, so I settled with 32bit. My MacBook is from Spring 2007.

  4. 4

    Leonardo said,

    It’s working now!

    Instead of reinstalling 32bits, I’ve found that the card in our macbook (I bought mine in Oct 2007) is slightly different from the version in the tutorial that you linked!

    A good place to use together with your tutorial is this:



    While the tutorial in your post shows

    Atheros Communications, Inc. Unknown device 0024 (rev 01)

    It’s actually a known model (AR5414 or AR5418, I’m in mac os now :P). So you can use madwifi!



  5. 5

    Dave said,

    My eyes are going to explode trying to sort out the bright green border, white inner background and grey and green text!

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