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Elementary OS on a 2011 Macbook Pro

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Posted by jaslar
Jan 14, 2020 at 10:30 PM

 

My wife’s 2011 Macbook Pro, with 8 gb of RAM, had become unusable for her. Slow beyond toleration. She got a new one. In the attempt to wipe the old one, it got bricked. I’d been wondering how hard it was to install Linux on a Mac, and it turned out to be just amazingly easy—not much different than installing on a PC. The only difference is the need for a new wireless driver, so you either need to install while attached to a wired connection, or use a wireless dongle (which I had lying around) to add it post installation.

The browser, Epiphany, is reputed to use about a tenth of the RAM of Firefox or Chrome. It certainly feels light and responsive. Elementary comes with its own suite of apps—software installation, email, calendar, movie player. None of them worked for me, which was disappointing. But using the Debian based command line, I added a few things (Synaptic package manager, a mind map program, and Emacs. Then I used Google Suite through the browser, and Dynalist (which could also be quickly set up as a standalone “web app”). I find that this old machine now feels really snappy. With Dynalist and Emacs, I can outline away. I like the minimalist feel of it.

At any rate, nice to know we can revive old hardware to do new tasks. It’s just a pleasure to use!