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Best Linux Distro for Mac

- - 33 comments
I've been using Xubuntu 8.04 “Hardy Heron” on my Macbook Pro Penryn (Early 2008 model) for several months now. Although there are few minor issues left unsolved, I'm quite happy with Xubuntu on my Mac because it simply works for me.

However, these past days, I've been considering replacing Xubuntu with a distro that hopefully has a much better hardware support out-of-the-box and could unleash the optimum performance of my Macbook Pro. --Like perhaps a distro that can magically help increase the battery life while decrease the hardware temperature when running.

At the moment, I have a short list of Linux distros that could replace Xubuntu Hardy on my Mac:

Fedora 10
I dual-booted Fedora 9 and Xubuntu before but ultimately decided to just use Xubuntu since it performed a lot better than Fedora. Right now, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Fedora 10 will do wonders for my Mac.

Mepis 8.0
I have great memories using Mepis Linux, so I want to take the plunge and test the upcoming version.

Sabayon Linux 4
Putting this Gentoo-based distro on my Mac can be suicide since I’m probably on my own when I do this. But since danger is my middle name, I will most likely try Sabayon Linux on my Macbook Pro.

Xubuntu/Ubuntu 8.10
To avoid extreme danger, I’ve been thinking of just upgrading to "Intrepid Ibex" and see what happens.

As always, any suggestions are welcomed via comment.

To some Linux-on-mac users out there, I would like to ask this question: What Linux distro works best with your Mac?

33 comments

  1. You should know that if you want the best OS from a "just works out of the box" you will be using Ubuntu in some form. Probably just best to upgrade.

    If you are interested in testing out the latest technological innovations stable or not, use Fedora.

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  2. How about Linux Mint KDE? Most or nearly all of the stuff you like about Ubuntu, probably, but more things "just working" right out of the box.

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  3. Have you considered Pardus Linux?

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  4. Why is there no word about Yellow Dog? Best distro for Macs out there.

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  5. I just don't get why anybody would want Linux on a mac when you have OS X? No linux distro is even in the same league as OS X. You have obviously got way too much time on your hands. Computers are a tool for going stuff - which OS X accomplishes with ease - computers not a thing to do in their own right... that really is dull.

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  6. I have a MacBook Pro 17", and I am using Fedora 10.

    All my hardware is recognized. Rock stable and really beautiful and flexible interface (using KDE 4.2 but gnome looks good too).

    When you install (if you do), first, install all updates before complain because battery level is not recognized properly before updates.

    See forums.fedoraforums.org for whatever problem you have.

    HTH

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  7. Адриан - your an idiot. OSX doesn't have half the coolness that linux does.

    On that note, I've personally got Mandriva 2008.1 running on my aluminum iMac. There area few issues with the sound that I had to work through but everything else works great. Even my bluetooth mouse and keyboard. I tried Ubuntu but it did not provide the best out of the box experience. If you really want a great desktop experience then OpenSuse, Fedora, Mandriva, possibly Ubuntu...

    Good luck in your quest

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  8. I run Fedora 10 in Parallels on my iMac duo core. Very fast, everything works, never locks or crashes.

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  9. i use PCLinuxOS 2007, simply because it works for me, maybe you should try it or wait for the final 2009 version. my second choice would be Linux Mint xfce. third choice would be TinyMe, it's light weight and based on PCLinuxOS.

    even though i don't have a mac, i'm a fan of it's hardware and textmate. as for OS X, and from trying it from my friend's mac, i find it hard to use, or maybe i'm just not used to it =)

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  10. Also, try Elive...it runs great on macbooks...from what I've heard, anyway :)
    Chris

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  11. Ubuntu 8.10 (amd64) is awesome on a dual core imac. recognizes hardware, Ekiga runs with the built-in webcam. Haven't missed the mac apps I paid for. Lost far less money on them than the stock market.


    Go for Intrepid!

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  12. Use virtualization and have your cake and eat it, too: With enough memory, you can run all of those distros that the same time. I've used Parallels, but their support for Ubuntu 8.10 hasn't impressed me (it takes a long time for them to add the tools). VirtualBox from Sun is GPL and works fine, though you can't control the number of processors the guest programs have access to.

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  13. 9.04 Jaunty Alpha 3 - kubuntu with kde 4.2

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  14. Kubuntu Intrepid with KDE4.2 and NVIDIA proprietary driver (to use CUDA) runs without problems on a new Macbook Pro. Haven't tried the webcam, but everything else works perfectly-

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  15. Why is there no word about Yellow Dog? Best distro for Macs out there.

    Yellow Dog is for PPC architecture. Macbook 2008 is intel based.

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  16. someone should point out that this is about one of those pc's with an apple logo,

    other than fedora and yellow-dog, none of the distro's mentioned will work with ppc architecture.

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  17. I'm running Debian Lenny (not formally released yet, but still stable) on a PowerMac G5. It runs quite well. I haven't tried it on an Intel Mac, but I ran Kubuntu on a Mac Mini for a while, and it dealt with the hardware fairly well. I'm sure the situation is even better today.

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  18. Manuel GalisteoFebruary 10, 2009

    Arch works great on Macbooks.

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  19. Is there somewhere on overview on which distros work on PPC and which in IntelMac?

    I haven't dared to install Yellow Dog or Ubuntu PPC on my Powerbook, but I have a partition on an external Firewire drive set up for it. Is there any chance that this will work? Can you boot Linux from an external FireWire drive on a G4 Powerbook?

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  20. Mepis seems to be the best bet right now for Mac support. They even include an installation 'Assistant' for OS X within the ISO. I'm tempted to try it on my late 2008 MBP.

    http://www.mepis.org/docs/en/index.php/Mactel

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  21. I run Ubuntu now on a MacBook 2,1 and Debian Lenny on my PowerBook G3 Pismo from 2000. I think Ubuntu is very nice and updates faster. Debian is more for the older hardware. I also tried Mandrake in the past, it looks cool too.

    If you are interested, I run a website dedicated to this:

    http://applelinux.org / http://mac.linux.be

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  22. Cheers Адриан, That's the stupid things I've read today :)

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  23. AnonymousMay 18, 2010

    I don't think what Адриан said is stupid. really, why buy a mac at all if you want to run linux?

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  24. i think the reason that most people decide to install linux on a mac (or at least why i have) is that apple and other software makers often discontinue updates, making it harder for a person to enjoy their computers, as well as a love for mac hardware design. for instance, i have had my powerbook for about seven years, and do not have the money to upgrade the hardware, nor do i even wish to-i like the look of the aluminum body, and it the compact nature of my 12"-it occupies a great niche between oversized laptops and tiny netbooks.

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  25. AnonymousJune 24, 2010

    oh yeah and if you ever see the movie 'hackers' they are all on rollerblades and use UNIX-like hacked Apple Laptops... so effing cool! LMFAO

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  26. Why would you buy a mac if you want to run linux.... Good question?

    But that question doesn't refute using Linux still. Someone would want to use Linux because they don't want to buy the next OS to keep up anymore. Someone would use linux because they fucking want their computer back. Someone would use linux because the security is a hell of a lot better. Someone would use linux because it has more room for a user to LEARN what makes their OS operate, while Apple slowly takes learning technology away from the user. Apple is going to lose ground when they have made using a computer too easy and no one is around to develop their technology anymore. Linux offers the user a chance to get under the hood.

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  27. I WANNA KNOW IF THERE IS SOMETHING THAT WORKS WITH AN IMAC G4 BESIDES UBUNTU 8.04

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  28. use pinguy os. all your problems will be solved; best out of the box experience by far. you will never look back on the the mac os.

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  29. You might want to install Linux in a Mac because you know how to use it much better and you were given a Mac.

    You might want to install Linux in a Mac because you already have the computer and you have discovered/understood that Mac's coolness is harmful for society, for you countries software industry, etc. Because Apple is not a socially responsible.
    company.

    etc, etc.

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  30. Why does every single thread about dual boots on Mac have to be poisioned by unrelated remarks and discussion on why to do this?. The question that started the thread is not about why, its about how.

    It's so annoying. Please Get your own "I love OSX thread" and take you pointless ranting elsewhere.". You are just spoilng a perfectly good thread.

    BTW, there a a number of reason to dual boot on a MAC. One of them is to access software that isn't available on a MAC. There is more to computers than just entertainment, music and watching youtube. Try is installing Teamcenter, Visio, Websphere, NX or Catia...... Some people use their laptop for business.....

    Get a life!

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  31. I completely agree with laoinjo,

    Also, everyone here ranting about why "Linux works for them" and feeling the need to include their own personal distro of choice, ever just think using mac or windows and even dual booting mac and linux "Just works" for other people?

    No one really needs your personal opinions, especially if it seems forced. Let the person asking the question decide what "works" for them.

    @Jun Auza:

    I just dual booted Ubuntu 11.10 alongside Mac Snow Leopard. I really haven't noticed any performance issues or anything like that. To me it's always seemed that Ubuntu was more regular everyday use friendly where a distro like Fedora or Red Hat's always been more business friendly.

    The one thing you should remember though is that it seems the farther along distros get the less customizable they are to really "make it your own"...at least with Ubuntu anyway.

    To be honest, there are ton of Linux distros that are pretty much all the same, just have a different look or feel to them so I guess it just depends on what you would like to use it for?

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  32. What about Pear Linux? It's based on Ubuntu, and designed to look like OSX as much as possible:

    http://pearlinux.fr/

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