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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!


Posted by washere
Jan 25, 2020 at 06:01 PM


Nice tips. I’ve been waiting to find time for over a year to put a couple of distros on a couple of my old laptops, a Mac and a Thinkpad. Thinkpads vary as over the decades they’re the fave of coders for many reasons. From a few bucks on eBay for an old one which will be fine for Linux to whatever price range for a bargain online to fairly latest models of about two years in the usual corporations fleet clearance specialists online, bargain for Win10 use.



Latest models:



Posted by jaslar
Jan 25, 2020 at 07:31 PM


I was a little bummed when I found out that Chromebooks have an expiration date (no more security updates). My older C100PA, bought in 2017, will expire this year! So I was looking around for a replacement. I’ve lived in elementary for the past couple weeks, got AppCenter going (had to do a command line apt-get update and upgrade, then logout and in again), installed VLC and the dvdlibs to wake up movies and music, and I’m finding it really nice. The battery, a new one, only goes about 3-4 hours, and that’s with an installation of tlp. I also moved from the Epiphany browser to Firefox, with no appreciable loss in speed.

The key feature of elementary is the Pantheon desktop. The aesthetics of the bundled apps are nice, but they lack what I judge necessary functions. (The lovely Quilter markdown editor is an example. It’s clean and fast. But even though you can display headers in an outline panel, you can’t use it to navigate. You can’t fold text on the right pane.) Nonetheless, I find myself looking for excuses to fiddle with this suddenly very interesting laptop. It offends me to have perfectly acceptable hardware crippled by software. Under elementary, I feel like this is a new machine. Very responsive, and quite pretty!

Eventually, I suppose I’ll go looking for a way to install Linux on the Chromebook…


Posted by washere
Jan 25, 2020 at 09:03 PM


Chromebooks can have Linux mode to switch to via crouton etc (I have, also on Windows 10), or dual boot (rare) or complete replacement of chromeOS with a distro which is increasing as many models’ updates are sunsetted by Google. Still, they sell as much as Macs & for much less with good specs. Many guides online for software & hardware tweak.

Several Linux distros are getting very tempting so many are switching from win & macos to them in millions. Big positive changes & developments coming too over the next few years. Anyone can test any distro online in the link below.

Daily news & improvements with pictures & videos by many on Reddit subs for each distro. I use several apps on Android and Windows to browse my Reddit subs, a proportion of which are about Linux /Distros. Reddit official Android app or just the browser on Windows is not good enough for me. Many of my fave subs are not mentioned in the bottom link.

Best overall Outliner for me, Notecase Pro, has versions on Windows Macos & 11 Linux distros:

Models’ update sunset dates:

Test any distro, online:

Reddit subs:




Posted by MadaboutDana
Jan 27, 2020 at 10:07 AM


For those with older notebooks, I can thoroughly recommend Xubuntu. It’s been around for a long time, and keeps getting better. The footprint is minimal, so it runs like the blazes even on much older notebooks (like my 11-inch Asus Eeeeeee - anyone remember those?!)

I’ve no idea about Chromebooks, alas. But the sunsetting seems to me singularly dishonest, given Chrome’s minimal footprint.


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