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Displays Apple Linux Hardware

Linux Is a Lemon On the Retina MacBook Pro 780

An anonymous reader writes "It turns out that Linux doesn't work too well on the Apple Retina MacBook Pro. Among the problems are needing special boot parameters to simply boot the Linux kernel, graphics drivers not working, no hybrid graphics support, WiFi requiring special firmware, Thunderbolt troubles, GNOME/Unity/KDE not being optimized for retina displays, and other snafus, including 20% greater power consumption with Linux over OS X. According to Michael Larabel, it will likely not be until early next year when most of the problems are ironed out for a clean 'out of the box' Linux experience on the Retina MacBook Pro."
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Linux Is a Lemon On the Retina MacBook Pro

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  • Linux on Mac?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by m1ndcrash ( 2158084 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:26PM (#41014257)
    Why in the world would you even try to do it? What is the goal of this endeavour?
  • NEWS Flash!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JWW ( 79176 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:27PM (#41014267)

    Linux doesn't work completely on brand new hardware!!

    This is totally shocking to me. This has only been a problem since the 90's.

  • Tell me why... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ak_hepcat ( 468765 ) <leif@[ ] ['den' in gap]> on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:29PM (#41014305) Homepage Journal

    It is so shocking to think that an operating system doesn't work well on hardware for which no drivers have yet been written?

    And yes, folks have been working on this. It's all up on the G+.

    But seriously, until somebody is paid to write the drivers prior to hardware release, why expect it to work?

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:34PM (#41014377)

    But also all devices made by Samsung, LG, and HT....

    But saying that doesn't draw any attention - mentioning Apple does. It's like when people talk about Foxconn. Nobody mentions they make stuff for HP, Dell, Lenovo, and others - they only mention the Apple connection.

  • Re:Linux on Mac?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Safety Cap ( 253500 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:35PM (#41014403) Homepage Journal

    Because Mountain Lion isn't THAT much of an upgrade over Lion, and whatever comes after (HouseCat []?) will probably be more IOS-like—i.e., sucky on a laptop.

    Until/unless Apple de-fscks itself, the upgrade path will be via Linux on Mac.

  • Re:Linux on Mac?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cod3r_ ( 2031620 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:40PM (#41014465)
    1 person trying it.. 1 person working on it.. 1 person reporting it. Many people reading about it and scratching their heads.
  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nexion ( 1064 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:41PM (#41014489)

    Don't buy a Mac.

    Don't get me wrong fan boys... Apple does make good gear, and it isn't Apple's fault it doesn't run Linux all that well on this particular device. However despite having a good operating system for a workstation I'm just not a big fan of OSX at home. I use Linux primarily at work and I am quite happy with it. Given the choice between Windows and OSX at work it will be OSX every time. However, I DO have a better choice in workstation OS that more closely mirrors our production servers on which to develop software.

    I also don't care much for Apple as a company. I find Microsoft more trustworthy, and that really does say quite a bit.

    It would be nice if Apple contributed to Linux. I know that is asking a lot of them as they throughly enjoy tieing two products together by virtue of license and copyright law. It is something they are unfortunately unlikely to change and as a result I try to avoid purchasing their hardware. Much like I will try to avoid any "secure boot" BIOS gear in the future.

  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:42PM (#41014515) Journal

    The same reason you would run Windows on a MacBook. If the thing that matters most to you is the screen there are precious few other options in the market, even if you ignore the high resolution. Just finding an IPS laptop that has basic features and doesn't require a furniture dolly to move is hard to find. Also, if you work in both OSX and Linux environments, you are going to want a MacBook. The cases are not numerous, but they're out there.

  • Re:Linux on Mac?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:43PM (#41014529)

    I do it with a macbook air.

    The hardware is nice, but OSX is terrible.

  • Re:Linux on Mac?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:44PM (#41014543)

    Name one other laptop that has a screen with that high a resolution. They don't currently exist.

  • Re:NEWS Flash!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JWW ( 79176 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:49PM (#41014631)

    Exactly... I wonder how well OS X worked the first time Apple ran it on this hardware. I bet it didn't even boot.

    I know you're joking, but the corollary here would actually be how good OS X would work on hardware tuned specifically for Linux. The answer to that would likely be "very poorly" as well.

  • Re:Linux on Mac?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:49PM (#41014635)
    This is true. I have sent a great number of emails to Lenovo complaining that they no longer produce a laptop worth buying because the screen resolutions of the new ones are not as good as the old ones.

    Their response is to send me emails of models with even worse resolution!

  • Re:NEWS Flash!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:56PM (#41014723) Homepage Journal

    I think the real news is that Linux does as well as it does on new hardware that is designed and tested for other OSes. A good sidebar is how quickly any deficiencies get fixed up.

  • Re:Proof at last! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Krojack ( 575051 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:01PM (#41014803)


    Did you hear that?

  • Re:Linux on Mac?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:07PM (#41014887)

    Just think how much more smug you are when you're running free software on over-priced hardware

    I would be very interested to know where I can get a laptop with a 2880x1800 display panel for cheaper than Apple is charging. I am not aware of any others. It's a judgment call whether this is worth the money, as it is definitely a premium-priced product, but you are paying for actual hardware specs, not just snob appeal.

  • Still (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ThatsNotPudding ( 1045640 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:08PM (#41014913)
    What a captivatingly sharp image of a walled garden topped with razor wire! Look at it glisten in the sunlight coming through the walls of our crystal cathedral!
  • by hobarrera ( 2008506 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:11PM (#41014979) Homepage

    Could you please link to a cheap non-apple laptop with a 2880x1800 display? Thanks!

  • Re:Linux on Mac?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Lode ( 1290856 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:14PM (#41015011)

    The interesting thing is, this is the first time Apple sets a trend that I (who is not your average consumer) actually want: high resolution screens.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:23PM (#41015151) Homepage

    First you say ...

    TBH, I don't care about those who want to game on less capable hardware - profit limiting I know, but I'm writing the sim for myself first and foremost and I have great hardware that is poorly utilized by many mainstream games

    And then you say ...

    Apple don't seem to be interested in trely powerful users of laptops - I guess that's what they have the Mac Pro for - but it doesn't help folks like me

    So, it's ok if you want to ignore people with smaller systems, but it's a bad thing that Apple isn't interested in selling niche devices to people like you?

    They're not interested in chasing "trely powerful users of laptops" -- they're interested in chasing as many people as possible. You likely represent a tiny fraction of the market.

  • Re:Linux on Mac?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:24PM (#41015171)

    You must be too young to remember the days before the HDTV market killed hi-res displays. On laptops especially, the extra screen real-estate is awesome since going multi-head isn't an option. And I would personally much rather have a single 27" 4k monitor, than a 4x20" multi-head setup.

  • Re:Proof at last! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:25PM (#41015189)
    Well for my anecdotal hyperbole it sounds like every Windows installation I've ever done. Seems I need to download the network card drivers and change the display setting from VGA in a box that doesn't fit in VGA. Seriously, installing an operating system is never a piece of cake unless you have an OS image that is specific to the hardware you're installing it to. In that case it's always a piece of cake regardless of which OS it is.
  • Re:Proof at last! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:26PM (#41015195) Homepage Journal

    It's been a while since you tried Linux, hasn't it? If not, you've chosen the wrong distro, which is what I suspect happened here (haven't RTFA yet). It's been five years since I've had any such issues.

    That's the thing -- there is no Linux, there are a lot of Linuxes. For an example, in another thread a while ago someone was complaining that he couldn't play MP3s on his Linux box... of course not, he was running Red Hat.

    OK, I'm back, just read the iApple ad (RTFA in this case means "read the fucking ad"). There's nothing there but pretty pictures of the macbook, descriptions of what a fine piece of equipment it is, and just says "Linux" without saying what distro, how he tried to install it, etc.

    In short, TFA is bullshit. Tell me what distro you're trying to run! What drivers are lacking. If you've ever installed any OS on any computer.

  • Re:Linux on Mac?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:27PM (#41015213)

    Why use vnc? Why not just tunnel X over SSH?
    Or just use ssh the normal way.

  • Re:Linux on Mac?! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:28PM (#41015233)

    Why would anyone want a 2880x1800 display for a 13" or even a 15" laptop? Does it come with a magnifying glass? I bought a brand new HP laptop 2 months ago and love it. It has a 1080P 15" display and I would have to squint to see if the display were smaller (or res higher). Furthermore, MY laptop comes with 2GB of video RAM. What good is a 2880x1800 display with only 1GB of graphics memory?

  • Re:Linux on Mac?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ratbag ( 65209 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @04:00PM (#41015759)

    You've got the world waiting to hear about how "OSX screws up just too much" and the first thing that you choose to share is that you can't have the same wallpaper spread between two monitors. I don't normally like snarkiness but it must really be tough being you, what with the massive annoyances you have to deal with. Sheesh.

    Still, it's your choice to jettison the reliability, consistency, elegance, support and put Linux on the machine because you can't spread wallpaper across monitors. Meanwhile some of the rest of us have applications or content on screen and tend not to bother with wallpaper.

    Like I say, I'm not normally a fan of snarkiness, but today's been a real doozy of a day for idiotic comments, from people accepting the "UK threatens to storm the Ecuador embassy" line from Ecuador, through to people complaining about a change of connector (in a story from the frikking Daily Mail of all places), through to a piece about how Linux doesn't run well on a machine specifically designed to run a different OS.

  • Re:Proof at last! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <> on Thursday August 16, 2012 @04:01PM (#41015775) Homepage Journal

    Linux has shipped with more hardware support out of the box than Windows for ages now. You just don't care that you have to download Windows drivers for hardware because its normal to you.

  • Re:Linux on Mac?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @04:06PM (#41015849) Homepage

    Jettison support? I run Linux on Macs because Linux has had better driver support for things like capture cards and 3rd party remotes and more complete support for things like video acceleration.

    This MBP is one of the few exception when it comes to "support"

    Apple reliability is overrated. So is Apple consistency.

    "Elegance" is just subjective nonsense.

    The problem with Apple is that things quickly go bad when you use it any manner remotely creative. It has an even worse group think than Windows. With Macs you will get shouted down for trying things that seem mundane on Linux or Windows.

    apt-get is a killer feature and blows Apple variants out of the water when it comes to "elegance".

    The main advantage of Macs is that you can "buy stuff" for it and Windows has a much bigger advantage in that regard.

  • So, my point is while Apple has a lovely display resolution that will probably soon be matched by others. Other laptop manufacturers (eg. HP) produce machines with 2 GB of Video RAM, which is unlikely to be matched by Apple (none of their latops have more than 1 GB of RAM, Apple don't seem to be interested in trely powerful users of laptops - I guess that's what they have the Mac Pro for - but it doesn't help folks like me).

    In most cases, higher quantities of VRAM tend to be a part of beefier graphic chipsets. In basically every one of *those* cases, beefier GPUs sit on the same motherboard as beefier CPUs. In every one of *those* units, you end up with extra runs of copper and beefier fan motors to keep them cool. Add all of that together, and you end up with a laptop that is powerful, but is large, heavy, and lacks battery life. There's definitely a market for this; Alienware, Origin, and Falcon Northwest all pay their bills based on catering to that market. HP has a wide enough product line that they can throw enough Jell-O at basically any wall and some of it will ultimately stick.

    Apple, on the other hand, seems to have no desire to cater to people who are alright with a laptop that has only an hour of battery life and weighs 7 pounds. My best guess is that they feel that even having a monster-sized performance laptop would be impossible to make appear sexy, but I'm certain the Apple folk are aware of the Alienware/Origin market and have chosen not to attempt to cater to them. I've yet to meet a Macbook user who expressed unhappiness with their older graphics chipset, or one who was sufficiently unhappy as to express willingness to sacrifice half of their 2.5-hour battery life for the added performance. Ratcheting back the resolution and easing the antialiasing to 2X will get acceptable performance from most games Mac users are likely to play. After Effects comps of any consequence are generally rendered overnight, when the difference between 4 hour render times and 6 hour render times are effectively meaningless. Now granted, I have an Origin monster of a laptop that gets less than an hour of battery life and I'm okay with that, but getting acceptable performance by bumping down graphics detail is a lot easier to do than squeaking out extra battery life when you have a CPU/GPU that eats through it very quickly.

  • Re:Linux on Mac?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @05:00PM (#41016673) Journal

    MacPorts brought the GNU environment and utilities


    I tried fink and I tried Macports. I've also tried real ports on both Free and Open BSD. Somehow, the OSX ones always seemed really brittle and upgrades would fail frequently. The trouble is that you would find some package that you needed, try to install it, end up in some kind of hell, rm -r the tree and then wait overnight for everything to build again.

    Basically, compared to any of tha major Linux distributions, and the ports tree on the BSDs, getting random OSS software installed on a mac is like pulling teeth.

    XCode is easy enough to get ahold of, and gcc is also there with minimal fuss.

    Some hideous, ancient and mangled version of GCC. I run a couple of OSS libraries, and the Mac support has been a bit painful at times. Not anything like as painful as Windows, to be sure, but by the standards of unixy systems, awkward.

    Also, GCC has been improving a lot lately, so being a couple ov versions behing is a hinderance.

    I spent little to no time now on system administration for my own system (compared with 20% of my work time in Linux, with unpredictable breakages

    That sounds like hyperbole to me. That's one entire day per week. Unless you're doing some weird shit, once set up, a decent Linux distro will basically run for ever or until the hard disk dies, which ever comes first. Even Arch with its crazy roling upgrades amazingly just works pretty much all the time.

    Linux is used heavily for things like servers, HPC, embedded stuff and so on where uptime is important and it can stay on for years. If you're having stuff randomly break to the point where it's taking up 20% of your time administering the thing, then you must be doing something very, very wrong.

  • Re:Proof at last! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vintermann ( 400722 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @05:07PM (#41016755) Homepage

    Installing Ubuntu has been a piece of cake on every system I've done it on over the years.

    When I was asked by some friends to assist with a Windows installation, I was very surprised at how much manual work it was (getting the wireless drivers to work, for instance - that used to be a problem on Linux around 2003).

    It's no surprise Ubuntu is easier to install than Windows, because Microsoft would much rather you have the OEM do it for you.

  • Re:Linux on Mac?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @06:08PM (#41017443) Homepage

    The whole GUI trend, the built-in-pointing-device trend, the keyboard-set-back-next-to-the-screen trend.... Apple has introduced a lot of design features (especially on laptops) which have since become standard and are now taken for granted. You may not like them all, but the notion that you don't like any of them is a bit preposterous.

  • Re:Proof at last! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ilikenwf ( 1139495 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @06:38PM (#41017719)

    Where is the "find drivers" button? Or right its called "Google your damned ass off" and you had BETTER know the exact make/rev/model of driver you need and pray to a statue of RMS someone has one. Even if they DO have one you better have enough skillz to be able to tweak that sucker, because it'll no doubt be written for make f, rev g, firmware h and you'll have make F, rev I, firmware j and the picky bastard just won't work.

    It's not 1997 anymore...the kernel has 99% of the drivers you'll need, unless you need a proprietary one or something that's up for inclusion in the kernel that hasn't made it into the stable version yet.

  • Re:Proof at last! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tqk ( 413719 ) <> on Thursday August 16, 2012 @08:10PM (#41018647)

    Now lets compare this to Linux: Where is the "find drivers" button? Or right its called "Google your damned ass off" ...

    No, at least in LinuxMint it's the "Find Proprietary Drivers" icon.

    If you haven't even tried to run a LiveCD in a decade, why would you consider yourself qualified to criticize it?

  • Re:Proof at last! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm ... minus herbivore> on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:37PM (#41019629) Journal

    Ubuntu 11 new enough for you? I ended up with two half ass working devices (as in "it works right now, cough and it won't") and one that supposedly was 'working" in the it would long as security wasn't anything you actually cared about on your wireless network.

    Frankly I'm so God damned sick of FOSS zealots going "La la la no problems exist, its all candy and RMS in a dress passing flowers la la la" if I ever run into one on the street I'm just gonna bitchslap them, i swear to fricking God.

    It is YOU and your type that continue to take the shit shoveled by the devs that make sure Linux doesn't go anywhere. if Linus "ego come and it won't go away" was working on a proprietary OS his ass would have been pink slipped so fast it'd make his head spin, but because the OS he works on is "free" that means he can crap in a box and nobody will say boo. if I hand you a sandwich that is 95% shit and 5% ham, would you call it a ham sandwich?

    Hell even one of the Red Hat devs says Linux is in its death cries [] because of one bad move after another that has made the entire system a fucking mess, but will anybody listen? Nope, they'll just go "La la la" and then mod down anybody who points out emperor RMS is walking bare assed. If you'd like a list of fucked up shit here is a small one [], only about two hundred major problems that just FYI many of which have been there for YEARS.

    In the end I'll happily take the pepsi challenge with ANY user of Linux and LMAO when it falls down and goes Boom! Take any "normal" distro, don't give me that LTS bullshit because as we've seen with Ubuntu LTS means "see this list of things we fixed? Well fuck off, you can't have it unless you upgrade biotch" that was released at the same time as Win 7, install it clean, NO forum hunts or googling fixes allowed, and IF, which is a big fucking if, if you have the drivers working OOTB upgrade it to current and see what you are left with at the end. I can tell you because I've done it with over a dozen Linux distros and what you get is a pile of broken garbage, drivers fucked, programs gone to shit, its a mess. And don't try to pull that "Windows has to be installed clean too!" horseshit because you get TEN YEARS of updates minimum with windows, with Linux if you get a year and a half before doing the upgrade shuffle its a fucking miracle.

    So far the ONLY one that has come close to passing the Hairyfeet challenge is RHEL which surprise! Costs $400 a year. Windows? $40 if you want Win 8, $80 if you want Win 7...kinda a BIG fricking difference there huh?

    if you wanna push "free as in freedom!" or the whole "Linux works on dumpster dived hardware!" that's cool, but don't fucking lie. it makes the whole Linux community look like a bunch of FOSSies, with little RMS altars and pictures of Linus with hearts around it. Hell even Dell, one of the biggest OEMs on the fricking planet has to run their own repos [] because the drivers shit themselves....great QC you got there. Meanwhile the XP machine I'm typing on with an OS install from 2004 is running just fine with original drivers and the whole system is updated to current. And don't give me the "U must have teh viruz!" horseshit because any one of a dozen free AVs and 10 minutes of instruction from me and there ain't no fucking viruses getting on my builds. fricking contest, WinVista on its worse day is 1000 times better.

  • Re:Proof at last! (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @03:20AM (#41020919)

    The last 2 computers I've install Ubuntu on, the wireless drivers did not work out of the box and I had to plug in an ethernet cable and download them. Both times I made a conscious effort to try and get them to work without resorting to the cable just to be sure. Point being: anecdotes are meaningless. You got lucky.

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