I've had a Macbook pro for 1 year running OSX, but I really miss Linux. I read plenty of docs but I never got a useful answer to the following questions:

  1. How's the autonomy with Ubuntu/Arch/Fedora/Suse or other distributions?
  2. How does the touchpad work? I really love the 2 & 3 fingers touchpad gestures in OSX.
  3. Is it possible to utilize the same acpi control in Linux, as in MacOSX? I never reboot my mac just close the lid and it gets sleepy.

Do you guys use a Linux distribution on your Macbook pro? I have the 7.1 model. Do you have major issues with these features?

  • Can you tell us what you miss about using Linux vs using OSX? OSX and Linux share many similarities.
    – stnly
    Jan 22, 2012 at 11:19
  • Not really an answer, but use virtualmachine for Linux and keep MacOS as the base. Jan 22, 2012 at 11:25
  • 2
    OSX isn't opensource thats the reason n#1, and some things are really annoying with leopard... Some paste goes in the wrong place, you can't move the selector btw ok and cancel with keyboard in popups etc etc I already use Virtualbox but i would too switch as soon as a distro is mature enough to work with
    – xXx
    Jan 22, 2012 at 11:50
  • Before you find a good solution for Linux on your MBP, you can activate the full keyboard support in the control panel. With that option enabled tab between dialog button will work as you expect. Good luck for your quest ;)
    – user14598
    Jan 22, 2012 at 12:13

3 Answers 3


I recently installed ArchLinux on my mbp. I made everything work by installing some packages.

For the trackpad, it recognize 1 2 and 3 fingers gestures, So you can scroll with 2 finger or right click and you can simulate mouse middle-click with 3 fingers.

Battery life seems shorter on ArchLinux.

For acpi , you can installed pommed and your laptop will sleep each time you close the lid, it will also make the special keys work (volume, brightness, eject ...)


I have at various times installed various Ubuntu-based distributions on my dual boot (rEFIt'd) MacBook. Linux Mint 11 worked the best out of the box, for me, and until about a week ago was my primary OS: trackpad, ACPI, 'hibernate' super-function keys, all worked without additional effort.

Last week I installed LMDE (Mint Debian) xfce on a third boot partition, and with some effort have almost everything working (isight's still down) -- hoping to make it my primary OS (a nice scaled-back rolling distro of Debian testing along the lines of #!).

That said, I've been doing the same research. So far I've only read good things about ArchLinux on MacBook, and that's my side-project this A.M. (bye-bye Mint 11). Anyone willing to install ArchLinux already expects to assemble their own perfect distro, so out of the box functionality isn't expected. Arch DOES have by FAR the best community support, and comprehensive guides to MacBook/Pro installs.

Another answer on here mentions that battery life seems shorter on Linux than Mac OS X. That's true -- plus they run hot. Again, ArchLinux community seems to have all the answers, even if you're installing a different distro, check out their online "MacBook Pro Arch Wiki" page for advanced MacBook tips.


I used Fedora on my Macbook with excellent results. The defaults for the track pad were the best of any Linux distro.

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