Running Arch Linux on Macbook Pro late 2013 (13 inch)

All My Macs are now on Linux

Two weeks ago I reinstalled my iMac late 2013 and put Arch Linux on it. It’s been running quite nicely and after a while I decided to reinstall my Macbook Pro. I did it, and after using it for two weeks I think it’s more than just “usable”.

Now all my Macs are running Linux, and more precisely, Arch Linux.

I now have:

They are all running quite nicely!

Installation on Macbook Pro

I would recommend you read my previous article about the iMac, as they are pretty much the same process. I did not choose to run ZFS on this Macbook because I have only 8GB of RAM here, and I just don’t feel like it’s able to handle ZFS that well.

There were two things that made me quite uncomfortable during the installation process:

After Installation

A lot of things need to be done after the installation, but most of the things work out of the box. Few things that I can confirm it works that people may worry (I am in Gnome so it may be different for you if you are not):

Few things that do need some configuration/tweaking

There are maybe other things I never paid attention like TRIM on SSD, and also the speaker/headphone creates trouble for me all the time. However, as a programmer I am happy because I can get my work done so much faster and more efficient. When the speaker doesn’t work, it’s time for my phone to play YouTube. Camera doesn’t work out of the box either, I think there are drivers available, but I haven’t tried as I don’t have the need for the camera. Again, I have a phone!

What’s Next?

I think I’ll keep tweaking them, and because Arch Linxu is rolling I have to constantly make decisions about what I should do and what I shouldn’t. For example Arch has been asking me to install Linux 4.7.1 for a while, but because ZFS on Linux requires 4.6.x, I can’t do the upgrade, so my Nvidia driver cannot get update either. They are not big problems for me, but you do need to pay attention to what you are doing all the time, otherwise you may risk not able to boot after a full system upgrade.

When I say risk it’s not really a lot, the worst case would just be a ZFS rollback.

May next challenge is to look into running them on FreeBSD. What’s the main reason? I think it’s for ZFS, and also the BSD philosophy. I don’t thinks this would be easy, but it will definitely be fun. Also there’s not much to worry about, as I can send my ZFS pool to another computer, try FreeBSD, and if it doesn’t work, ZFS receive…

Finally, I think I am going back to ThinkPad X series, or Dell XPS 13!