Linux on RMBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Slivortal, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. Slivortal macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    For those of you who run Linux and have bought the RMBP, how is the experience? Does the Retina display work? Any driver issues? Are you dual booting or VMing? I'm looking to become more experienced with Linux (and am not sure whether to buy an RMBP), so if you could share which distro you use and your experiences, it would be very much appreciated.
  2. Buffsteria macrumors regular


    Jun 9, 2012
    What is Linux good for? Absolutely nothing.

    Wait, are those downward arrows coming this way?

  3. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    For serious performance is one thing. You don't want to be running OS X or Windows if you need the best possible performance.
  4. Panini macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    Palo Alto, CA
    That's mainly because supercomputers require specialised software which isn't possible in Windows or OS X form since it isn't open source (i.e the supercomputer team cannot optimise it for their custom hardware).

    Linux is very good at what it does. For those who know how to use it (you can't do crap in Linux without using the Terminal most of the time) it is a worthy competitor to OS X.
  5. Comeagain? macrumors 68020


    Feb 17, 2011
    Spokane, WA
    Linux is amazing...for doing nothing other then keeping the machine running and providing a way to run other 3rd party apps. Nothing else.
  6. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    You get Kernel level access with Windows or OS X?
  7. NerdJihad macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2012
    are you serious? linux is the OS the internet runs on. take the fingerprint of any hundred servers, 95% of them will be running some version of linux. Any server that needs more than 90% uptime in a calendar year runs linux. and while its desktop penetration has been hampered by OEMs, countries across europe are embracing it for home, business, and government use due to its out-of-the-box security that withstands hacking events every year.

    This forum is on a server that runs linux. I'm typing this from a computer running linux.

    As the saying goes, I use windows to play games, I use linux to get work done.

    it's the best platform for pretty much everything, since you can customize it to fit whatever specifications you need. Want a high end audio lab to analyze room acoustics? You can do that on linux, and it's free.

    Want a music sequencer, turntable that lets you scratch MP3s, and a VJ rig and have it all run seamlessly on a laptop? Linux all the way.

    Need a secure system to maintain nuclear launch codes? Linux.

    There's seriously no limit to what you can do with it, since they give you the tools to make everything from scratch, and all the documentation you'd need to do so.

    And if you compile your system yourself, it's a custom-tuned OS that takes full advantage of all the quanta of your system, increasing hardware optimization by several orders of magnitude above the best tuned windows or OSX install.
  8. Icy1007 macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    You get useful applications with Linux?
  9. Kingofnima macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2012
    Sure do, actually I doubt there is more applications for OS X than linux. Especially if you are an IT guy.
  10. throAU, Jul 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012

    throAU macrumors 601


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Because that is so relevant for a portable personal machine.... which doesn't have hundreds of nodes linked via high speed network.


    Basically anything any good that you can run on linux you can compile on OS X if required. Certainly anything suited for a LAPTOP. If you're running server software, then why run it on a macbook (or notebook) of any kind?

    The reverse is not true.

    Also, the QUANTITY of the applications is one thing. The QUALITY of the applications is another. Finding a decent application on Linux in some categories (especially multimedia) is like wading waste deep through a sewer at times. There's so much half finished and unmaintained garbage out there, finding something actually good can be a drag.

    And I say that as a network guy who's been administering Linux and BSD machines in the workplace since 1995. Don't get me wrong, you can do a lot with it, but you need to put so much more research into it.

    And for the record, linux is NOT the os the internet runs on. That would be either IOS (as in CISCO) or Juniper OS (which is essentially a customised variant of FreeBSD). Between those two, I suspect you'd cover 90% of the core routing and switching infrastructure (without which, you have no internet to run application servers on), and a large chunk of the storage (Netapp - again, customised FreeBSD).

    The applications on top run on a mix of Linux and whatever else, but the actual network does not.


    Darwin is out there, and yes you can program in kernel space.

    Ditto for Windows if you get the development kit.

    Now, as to the OP: I'd suggest you will likely have issues with driver support for the display, possibly the bluetooth. At least until they've been out for a few months.

    If you're looking to run Linux though, you'll certainly be able to run it in a VM in Fusion, Virtualbox or equivalent. That way you also get the benefit of snapshots, etc (going to do something dodgy? snapshot the VM and you can go back - can't do that with physical hardware install)

    All my development and testing I do in VMs for that purpose (whatever host platform I happen to be running on - OS X at home, Windows at work - testing for FreeBSD and Windows in VMs), regardless of compatibility with physical hardware.

    My production environment is all VMware as well (vSphere) so moving a development machine off my desktop and into production is a case of being happy with it then simply moving the VMDK file(s) to our SAN.

    Performance in a VM on an RMBP will be way more than adequate. I'd suggest steering clear of Ubuntu for now however if you run Fusion, as the Unity environment has a few glitches with the VMware video driver. I'm not sure how well it works in Virtualbox or Parallels.

    Also: Linux and networking goes hand in hand. If you're using VMware or Virtualbox, you can also link your virtual machines (as in plural - you could simulate 4 or more Linux machines in VMs) up to simulated routers running GNS3. You can build an entire virtual network lab on your mac in virtual hardware. You can't do that running Linux natively. This is simply AWESOME for learning. And something you could not do a few years ago without scouring ebay for cheap cisco routers and switches, and salvaging a bunch of old computers to run everything on.

    So.... in short. Just run it in a VM. You get so many more options, and there is so much more you can do that way.

    Be sure to get the 16GB model though so you have plenty of RAM for it all. Otherwise running more than a few virtual machines (and a simulated network in GNS 3) will start slowing down due to lack of memory. 16gb will give you so much more headroom.
  11. leenak, Jul 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012

    leenak macrumors 68020

    Mar 10, 2011
    Uhh, what? Are you equating Linux with Unix?

    I'm assuming you are also equating web servers with 'the Internet' as well because I can guarantee you that the network devices are going to be mostly appliances, not actual servers.

    This is from 2011 but saying IIs is 15% of the web server market of 485 million surveyed websites

    And OS for others? Who knows. My company runs a mix but for the Unix servers we have, generally, they aren't Linux.

    I also think BSD is a bit better but that is personal preference.
  12. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    You do realize the difference between a good server OS and a good client OS, do you? For a server, linux is ideal. Its fast, stable and customizable. I run a number of services on virtual linux servers and its great (also much easier to set up than using OS X). But for a client OS, user experience is the most important thing. Linux, with all the available competing GUI frameworks, is very idiosyncratic. I lived with linux for over 3 years and I prefer OS X vastly, because OS X has an unified look and feel.

    BTW, you can compile most if not all linux programs on OS X as well.
  13. doh123 macrumors 65816

    Dec 28, 2009
    besides all the off topic useless banter...

    I have not (and do not plan to) installed Linux directly on my rMBP, I only run it in Parallels, but of course it runs perfectly there, just like any other Mac.
  14. darwinian macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2008
    In R4, more or less
    I've decided NOT to dual boot, at least for awhile. The reason is because even here on my Late 2008 unibody MBP, my dual boot of Ubuntu, LMDE, or Debian has been massively frustrating. Touchpad issues---which are frustrating but workable---notwithstanding, the power management and graphics support is noticeably worse on the Linux side of things. Graphics mfgs have never gotten their act together in this respect (see: Linus' most recent rant), and portable battery life suffers in Linux. To me, the entire benefit of Mac is the fact that they've married their hardware and software so carefully.

    In fact, my entire decision to purchase an rMBP instead of a Lenovo W530 or one of the HPs (can't recall which though) was based on a commitment to getting all my software working on OS X and finding ways of making it work. And even while researching the viability of Linux on the PC hardware, I noticed that others in forums were having a terrible time with getting graphics to behave properly. It's my personal preference to never ever be stuck with a Windows computer in its current iteration, so I did not want to take the gamble of purchasing PC laptop hardware on which Linux would be a constant chore.

    The thing is, I'm a Debian guy through and through. Especially with respect to the minimal UI of xfce, OS X is often frustrating (no way to turn off Mission Control animation directly transitioning BETWEEN desktops kills its functionality for me). On my work desktop computer(s), I am happy to run Linux. Maintaining cross-platform compatibility isn't even that much of a chore with the software I run. But Linux on laptops is a far cry from ideal in my opinion and actually in a rather sorry state.

    Finally, I've been using OS X since Kodiak, and it's an incredible operating system. I've had my issues with it (it was pretty frustrating very early on with certain older but supported hardware, X11 that shipped with Leopard was broken, where the f- is save as in Lion, etc.) but still think it represents THE best compromise out there. Choosing OS X over Linux was a huge commitment for me to continue with the Mac side after 13 years of using Macs.
  15. Slivortal thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    Thank you everyone for all your input! For those of you wondering, yes, I am planning on running my Linux distros in VMs. Bad VM performance on my current computer is why I'm getting another.

    To all those who say Linux sucks: Linux does suck if you're the average user playing around with predesigned apps. However, for computer security researchers, getting kernel access is key, and Linux is the easiest way to do this (while also providing sandboxing from your main OS, which is useful).
  16. surjavarman macrumors 6502a

    Nov 24, 2007
    Seriously the way OS X quickly becomes bloated with useless stuff, I am looking to switch to linux too. Just a barebones OS that gets the job done.

    OS X has been going downhill with bloated stuff since Leopard.
  17. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    What job is that? Since its my belief that an operating system's job is to run programs, OSX is much better suited for this then Linux. No knock on Linux, I used Fedora for a while and it's a nice OS, however it failed in providing me the apps I needed, such as Lightroom (non destructive photo editing), Photoshop (yeah there's gimp but really the interface is archaic) Syncing my phone with music and content.

    While I agree OSX has become more bloated, its still superior in the user interface, available programs and managing the those programs. There's little need to tinker in a to get something to work, or to uninstall an app.
  18. Slivortal thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    While the "just works" mentality should be applauded, the way Apple does this is by making it easy to use for the average individual. This doesn't apply to computer scientists that need to trace processes, disassemble code into assembly blocks, study buffer overflows, and just generally interact with the kernel.

    Also, OSX IS getting bloated (which is disappointing, as that's why I switched to Mac in the fist place). The upgrade from Snow Leopard to Lion was, in my opinion, a HUGE mistake - one that will hopefully be somewhat fixed by Mountain Lion.
  19. surjavarman macrumors 6502a

    Nov 24, 2007
    Well I am not going to switch now. But the more bloated OS X becomes the more I am inclined to. Fortunately I don't use that many apps.
  20. leenak macrumors 68020

    Mar 10, 2011
    Not sure if it meets your needs but I used to use Ida Pro on Windows, looks like it is available for OSX as well.

    Great for reverse engineering analysis.
  21. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    I shot an arrow from your side, just because I found your post funny :D you're still massively negative though, not enough humour in this neck of the woods!
  22. jamezr macrumors G4


    Aug 7, 2011
    A ton of posts on this subject..... But lets re focus...the forum we are on is for desktop/laptop operating systems and hardware. Not server platforms. Linux wins hands down for scalability and security. But Windows server is getting better. Don't forget OSX is built on a Unix base....... But as far as a desktop/laptop operating system OSX wins hands down in my humble opinion........
  23. Buffsteria macrumors regular


    Jun 9, 2012


    I used to be positive....then I took 20 arrows to the knee. :apple:
  24. Comeagain? macrumors 68020


    Feb 17, 2011
    Spokane, WA
    Maybe you misunderstood my post. I wasn't bashing linux at all. It is phenomenal at what it does... keep running, regardless, and run quickly.

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