Linux for an Apple Refugee in 2018?

Discussion in 'Other Operating Systems' started by holdennutta, Nov 7, 2018 at 10:29 PM.

  1. holdennutta

    holdennutta Member

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    Hey all,

    Just after a bit of input in the right direction to look for ideas on how to switch to some variant of Linux and ween myself off MacOS. Nothing wrong with MacOS - I quite enjoy how it works and the polished app variety but I'm finding that as each product I'm interested in gets price bumped every year and less and less upgradable for later life performance boosts I'm less and less interested in paying them how much it costs for a new machine.

    My current 'general computing' desktop is a 2012 Mac Mini Server i7 I upgraded to SSD when it got a tad slow. I also have a 2017 13" MacBook Pro 'Escape'

    The MacMini is a bit slow now and replacing it with a new MacMini is basically 2x the cost of an equivalent Intel NUC which is just absurd.

    I looked into running Linux on the MacBook but it seems like audio doesn't work and it wont resume from sleep on this model. Not really ideal.

    I'm not against selling the MacBook early while it's still worth something and looking into a more linux friendly computer however Dell don't seem to sell their Ubuntu machines in Aus and it's a bit opaque trying to find a definitive source for what works from other manufacturers...

    My other option is adding another drive to my gaming PC (from 2014ish) and installing a distro on that and using it to learn? Though I have tried that before and didn't make it past the nvidia nomodeset requirements to boot it. Though I didn't try very hard :/

    Any thoughts on how to run the transition? Either by ripping the bandaid off in one go or easing in slowly?

    Using Windows isn't really something I'm keen to fall back on.

    Cheers
     
  2. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    What do you think of the idea of full screen virtualisation on one of the systems as a test? Some performance penalty, but less risk and easier to revert if it doesn't suit.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    holdennutta

    holdennutta Member

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    I've run both windows and ubuntu in Virtualbox VM's on my Mac Mini and windows desktop before. It's reallllllllly slow :/ Possibly I didn't set up the VM's properly but it was slow and clunky enough I don't think I'd want to use it as my litmus test for viability.

    Also there's some photo editing apps I want to test out to see how well they run performance wise on my current hardware and running virtualised isn't 100% indicative I'd imagine?
     
  4. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Yeah, if you want to run something like Darktable, all the OpenGL/OpenCL and RAM grunt you can throw at it helps.

    What about virtualising on the gaming PC? Or is the Mac the preferred target for portability?
     
  5. OP
    OP
    holdennutta

    holdennutta Member

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    Darktable is on my list! Also aiming to test RawTherapee and Rapid Photo Downloader for importing.

    Mac is probably least preferred hardware. I would like to avoid paying for any more of it given the poor value proposition they now have...
    From my research so far it seems like running almost any distro on my Macbook is a no go and the Mac Mini is getting too slow and I don't want to pay Apple prices to replace.

    Ideally I'd like the MacMini to go away and it's job as general computing/image fiddling computer to go to standard hardware - perhaps the existing windows desktop. It could do with more RAM but CPU/GPU wise it's hanging in there still...

    Would you suggest Virtualbox for virtualisation on Windows? Rather than buying another virtual machine software I would probably get another cheap ssd and run it natively off that for best performance.
     
  6. mr camouflage

    mr camouflage Member

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  7. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Definitely. It comes with good driver support for Linux guests, including OpenGL drivers for decent GPU acceleration inside you Linux guest.
     
  8. waltermitty

    waltermitty Member

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    As someone who ran Linux on a macbook for a long time, it's definitely do-able, broadcom hardware sucks but most of the other quirks are documented (had to remove mouse kernel modules for the trackpad to work and other stupidity).

    If you're asking for a distro, voidlinux is my recommendation.
     
  9. GumbyNoTalent

    GumbyNoTalent Member

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    Void Linux is not for a newbie Linux gromet even if they are coming from OSX, stick to mainstream RPM or DEB based distro for beginners, Mint or Ubuntu to get people started then experiment.

    Not to say Void Linux is not an acceptable distro to use, as it is my choice for my laptop rebuild over Christmas, LibreBoot / Void / I3.

    OR

    Dualboot with rEFind.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018 at 9:35 AM
  10. xsive

    xsive Member

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    Have you looked at the hardware offerings from System76? I've been sorely tempted to switch the last couple of years, ever since "upgrading" to a MacBook Pro 'No Escape' and having my keyboard crash multiple times a week.
     
  11. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I have to agree.

    This is all repeating what I've said in the stickied thread about distros, but a popular distro with good community support is often worth more than a specific or niche feature of some outlier.

    Ubuntu is "fall off a log easy" compared to most distros, the community is enormous, their forums friendly and excellent, and the user base is estimated at 1 million new Ubuntu desktops coming online every year.

    For generic desktop or even workstation use, I would start there with the latest stable LTS release (18.04 at time of writing). That gives you a solid base to test from on an OS supported with security patches for 5 years, and a large userbase of people who are likely to be able to replicate any problems you have.

    You'd need to give me some pretty compelling and specific reasons to go a more difficult path than that.
     
  12. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

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    Or you can run a close offshoot of which there are several. I like some of the ways Void is going -- Runit is quite powerful and very concise compared to Systemd and Upstart, as are the rest of the Daemontools family -- but strong commonality with a well supported platform is very valuable.
     
  13. waltermitty

    waltermitty Member

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    i dislike canonical and red hat so i'm probably biased. aptitude and yum are freakin slow and that's probably my biggest issue with them.

    void has a TUI installer so you don't *have* to chroot like arch, wiki is good and the folx on IRC are a helpful bunch. There's lots of niceties (wpa_supplicant hooks in dhcpd) and stuff that make it easy for newcomers.
     
  14. flu!d

    flu!d Ubuntu Mate 16.04 LTS

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    I've run Ubuntu based distro's on my 2012 Mac Mini with 16GB of ram as VM's under Parallels no worries, performance was fine.

    Personally, I recommend an Ubuntu based distro. People have an unfounded issue with PPA's, personally I prefer them over the AUR and a rolling release model.
     
  15. OP
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    holdennutta

    holdennutta Member

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    Thanks for that, I'll take a look. Looking like MacOS isn't really a requirement though.

    I'll give it another crack then. Ta.

    Hmm.. Most of the info I could find (including a git site that tracks the state of linux on macbooks) suggested that my model macbook pro 14,1 has some issues I'm not going to be willing to put up with.

    Yep - Going to stick with Ubuntu I think.

    I have not - but I'll take a look now! Thanks.

    Is there an advantage going for the LTS version over the other one?

    I only have 8gb RAM in mine. I'm going to have a go on the PC tonight and see how it goes with Virtualbox.
     
  16. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    5 years of security patches vs 18 months for non-LTS.

    New LTS gets released every 2 years, so you can jump if you're ready, or wait until the next one if not.
     
  17. OP
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    holdennutta

    holdennutta Member

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    Fair enough.

    I managed to get Ubuntu 18.10 running in virtualbox on the gaming pc at an okay level of performance. Not really anything near performant enough to make an informed decision though. Rawtherapee and Darktable are sooo slow (not to mention horribly complicated!)

    Installing Virtualbox guest additions killed the install too. Had to uninstall from terminal to get it to run again...

    Might grab a new SSD for $50 and install natively...
     
  18. mr camouflage

    mr camouflage Member

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    You could build one of those
    hackintosh

    Or even run macOS in virtualbox on a linux host
     
  19. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Best to install these natively inside the guest (packages available in APT) rather than via the VM's installer tool.
     
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  20. waltermitty

    waltermitty Member

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