My Experience With Ubuntu 13.10 on an Early 2013 Macbook Pro (10,2)

I’ve been having trouble finding information on compatibility between Ubuntu 13.10 and the last gen Macbook. Everything that I’ve read has either been “it works” or “it’s terrible and I hate Apple.”

So, needing (or wanting) new hardware, and having a chance to pickup a used Macbook Pro 13″ Retina for cheap, I took the plunge and…it works!

I did this last night so have only used it for a few hours. I’ll put up a more in depth review this weekend, but for now, here are my brief notes:

Pre-Install and Install
-Installed using the standard 64-bit Ubuntu 13.10 Gnome ISO on a thumb drive.
-Shrunk OSX down to 32gb (I despise OSX so have no desire to go back in there)
-Booted up the installer, check marked the “Install 3rd party” to get the Broadcom drivers (next screen prompted me to connect to a network, hurray!)
-Retina resolution wasn’t that small if you have good eyes
-I chose my own partition scheme

Post-Install
-Function keys are defaulted to (need to remember where I saw to change that)
-Sleep works!
-All function keys work (not sure what F3 does or F4 though)
-Power draw. Without tweaking anything, it’s hovering around 9 watts. I need to use further to verify if this is accurate. I have a script that got my X220 from 11watts down to 7.5 so I’m hoping that may work here.
-General experience. What can I say? It’s made by Apple and is by far the nicest laptop I’ve used to date (I’ve had my hands on most of the ultrabooks when we were doing stuff for Microsoft, and they don’t really compare as a complete package). Screen is awesome and Gnome is very responsive. No lagginess or other unwanted effects.

That’s it for right now, but I’m hoping this will be useful for those that are looking to see if it’s compatible. I’m really liking this community, so I hope this can be a way for me to give back. I’ll post up more information over the weekend and then a few weeks after that.

Original instructions that I followed were here:

Installing Ubuntu on a Macbook Pro (Retina 13″)

Update #1: Switching the behavior of the F1-F0 keys from defaulting to function keys (changing brightness etc) to normal behavior can be done by:

echo 2 > /sys/module/hid_apple/parameters/fnmode

You’ll want to add that to /etc/rc.local so that it runs every time the computer is restarted.

Update #2: Battery life seems to be pretty good so far. I’ve been on the plane using GoGoWifi for the past 3 hours and 40 minutes and used a little over half my battery. This is using the default settings, with brightness set to the lowest setting, Wifi, and using Gimp, Inkscape, Chrome and Empathy. I have not installed laptop-mode-tools or TLP, just the stock Ubuntu power savings.

1 thought on “My Experience With Ubuntu 13.10 on an Early 2013 Macbook Pro (10,2)

  1. Nice guide. I just yesterday installed 13.10 to my Retina MacBook Pro, version 10,1

    I have one problem thouhg. If I leave my mbp idle a long time, like yesterday night, and this morning i could not get the screen to turn on.

    Anything i could try to do to get this fixed?

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