Installation on MacBook 2018

I want to install Linux on my MacBook, since I need to use tools which simply run better on Linux than on MacOS, and having a 2nd device/vm is an annoying solution for me.

A year ago, I tried to run Ubuntu on my MacBook and ended with a monstrosity of Ubuntu on an external harddrive, USB-Keyboard/Mouse and no wireless.

On the downloads page there is a remark that you need a “Modern Intel-based Apple Macs”. Does this include modern MacBooks with T2 chip and its quirks? Or do the same restrictions apply as with Ubuntu and an installation to use a MacBook(with T2) as normal Linux Laptop is not possible?

Apple are a law unto themselves… with each iteration they make life much harder for linux to work on their proprietary hardware. This includes the recent M1 variant.

Fortunately there are some pretty smart people around that can adapt stuff to make it work. It does take time though todo, and those efforts take time to trickle down to distros.

So in general it’s best to use the very latest distro images like 21.04 once they receive the latest kernel like 5.11 (around April time probably)

Itzeme, we could start with which macbook you have? Do you know which model it is? ie: I’m currently on an iMac 19,1. I have an old 2009 macbook pro 5,4. That would be a good starting point.

Sorry if that was not clear from the title. It’s a MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018), so quite new model.

Do you still have macOS on this macbook? If you do, go to the Apple in the corner and click About This Mac to open the information dialogue box, then click System Report. The identifier should be the second line.

OR: it’s a 2018 Macbook Pro. Pick it out of this lineup of macbook pros.

Don’t know if there is really more information to gain from the more details but here are the info:

Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro15,3
Processor Name: 6-Core Intel Core i7
Processor Speed: 2,6 GHz

or from everymac

So your macbook has the T2 chip, which creates a security blanket around your apple environment. You should read this apple support article about checking the security to the off mode:

there are 3 modes to the T2 chip: Full security, Medium security and No security. You see how the last one says “does not enforce ANY requirements from OS” That’s you. Check this box and restart with a linux boot USB.

BUT: Don’t start yet. In the old days, you’d install the Ubuntu desktop and be stranded with no wifi, right? You experienced this. I’d say plug your macbook into the modem with an ethernet cable and download the drivers, but you can’t!! You don’t have an ethernet port! You could buy a USB wifi dongle to allow for internet access just briefly enough to bypass your broadcomm antennae and download the hardware driver your macbook. I am using a cheap realtek? I only plug it in long enough to connect to the wifi and download correct drivers, then I remove it because it is unnecessary. That’s about as far as I can help.

I have no idea why your 2018 macbook would lose the keyboard and trackpad. Every non-touchbar macbook I have installed Ubuntu Budgie on has had amazing support. Maybe the touchbar is creating a problem for the current kernel? Fossfreedom does make a point Apple is a law onto themselves. You might have the same experience with your built in keyboard: after installation, install extra drivers to enable your onboard keyboard, etc. It sounds like your previous experience was disappointing…

I know it seems ludicrous, but you might consider selling your macbook if you no longer need it’s macOS and buying a laptop that would allow easy linux installation, like an HP or a Lenovo. I have a great 2012 Lenovo Thinkpad that has the best keyboard I’ve ever used: Apple and HP have nothing on this keyboard. Apple laptops retain a great deal of value upon reselling.

1 Like

Um… Thanks?

If you would have read my post, you should have know, that I know about the T2 chip and the quirks. If I wasn’t aware of It i could not even have Ubuntu installed on an external drive.

BTW every model of 2018 has the T2 chip. So no need to ask for the specific model.

You have no idea about why the 2018 Macbook does loose keyboard and trackpad? It was (or is) a know problem with modern macs. And yes, older macbooks don’t have that problem, thats why I asked for the 2018 model.

“If the internal wifi does not work, just plugin an external wifi”, don’t you say, like I did with keyboard/mouse and harddisk?

For the next time, PLEASE READ THE WHOLE QUESTION, before trying to help. That safes your time and mine.
Just the default answer of 5 minute Google and generic answers is not the right way to help.

fossfreedom’s answer was honest and on point.
What your help attempt was, I don’t know.

I think you have misunderstood what I was trying to say. You use an external USB wifi dongle to acquire the driver specific to your macbook’s internal wifi hardware, then reboot using the internal wifi chip. The exact same process of using an ethernet cable to acquire the drivers for your internal wifi chip. I would have suggested you use an ethernet cable but your hardware simply does not have the capability.

When you set up the macbook, the setup process allows for a long list of different keyboards. Be sure to pick your apple keyboard, not the generic US keyboard. If the trackpad is still causing trouble you could always get the touchegg driver from elementary OS. It’s new, and reports indicate it’s awesome for new hardware.

I hear this is a frustrating problem, and you are near wits end with this hardware, which is why I suggested purchasing a different model. No one holds anyone’s hand with a linux installation. It’s exciting puzzle to solve.

IF you are trying to dual boot (reading your post doesn’t say one way or another) you will need to read up on using a bootloader like rEFInd. It was very confusing, tbh. I see it working, but it is buggy AF. I would suggest NOT dual booting, and use GParted to completely wipe your macOS and the EFI partition before reinstalling Ubuntu Budgie. There will not be a bootload page, so you will sit on what looks like a broken system for about 30 seconds. I suggest using Time Machine to make a recovery disk in case it goes sideways at some point.

The macOS EFI partition will always boot first, because Apple is law unto itself. Many people report trouble with EFI after a second OS installation on the single internal hard drive. I feel like installing the OS on an external drive (like a USB or a camera card) might be a better solution. Try this solution to make the camera card less intrusive.

did you see this new Gnome desktop with super awesome looking touchpad gestures?

I understood that you meant to download the driver for the internal wifi via an ethernet dongle.

The big problem ist the T2-Chip, which blocks access to the internal drive if it is not MacOS (or Bootcamp Windows). This is the problem which I was aiming on with my initial question.

The frustrating part of your help was, that you simply did not know anything to help with the T2 Chip, but thought simply pointing to the apple page which is fairly simply found via google.

To be fair, it seems you don’t have experience with the T2.

The answer “Install the driver from the internet” is helping like dell asking “Have you plugged in your monitor”. Which is also not helpful.

As you stated, this is a Linux and nobody is holding your hand, but a forum is exactly the place where you ask people when a simple search on google/github/gitlab/askubuntu/etc. does not help. Especially with driver, since as you surly know, you can not download driver from the manufacturer.

On Github and other resources you find plenty of information on how to install and where to get driver for MacBooks 2016 and older.
Many resources for Keyboard/Mouse/Webcam etc. But for 2018 it is sparse, and has no use if you can not use the internal storage.

And it is fun to solve puzzle, but only if there is a solution. With the current state, as long as I don’t become an embedded developer and create the driver myself, there seems no solution for the T2 problem.
Thats why I asked if Budgie has a fix for it, since they claim that you only need a modern mac book.

The suggestion of an older MacBook is a fair solution.
rEFInd is a pain in the ass, but you can “abuse” the Mac Bootloader to dual boot (at least with my old solution, but I’m sure that it should work with internally installed linux)

The SD-Card “shortage” looks cool! But on the MBP 2018 they removed the SD-Card slot. But luckily there are small usb-c drives. But after installing docker, IntelliJ, etc, usually an small usb-stick is full. (reminder T2 blocks access to internal drive to use as storage)

And no, I didn’t see the gnome touch gestures, and the look super awesome!