I told my friends I wanted to run Ubuntu, a flavor of the Linux operating system, on my Macbook Air. But I was hesitant. When they asked why, I said I was worried about hardware-software compatibility and, on a more philosophical level, Steve Job’s death was too recent for me to tinker with a product he made to be a cohesive unit.
My friends dismissed my latter concern and said the installation should be a cakewalk.
They are wrong. Installing Ubuntu 11.10 on a 13″ Macbook Air 4,2 is tedious and confusing. I had to partition my hard disk, install a host of other programs and packages, and run some crazy shell scripts. Luckily enough people have already done this and described their ordeals in blog posts and forum threads that I was able to pull through.
Here are the links I used:
- Main Ubuntu guide on installation on Macbook Air 4,2
- download Ubuntu
- Apple Intel Installation
- How to fix “GPT partition of type ‘Unknown’ found, will not touch this disk”
I wanted a Linux OS because I wanted to use certain penetration testing tools only available for Linux. But as I used Ubbuntu I noticed I didn’t like the user experience on my Macbook. It wasn’t just the fact that the control, option, and command keys were mapped in ways I wasn’t used to or that the scrolling sucks. It just didn’t feel as nice. I’ve used Ubuntu on a PC and didn’t feel as frustrated because I almost expect a subpar UX. But using Ubuntu on a Macbook felt wrong.
If I went with a car analogy, Ubuntu is the dashboard of a powerful Sherman tank while the Macbook is a sleek European sports car. I hoped their combination would be the Batmobile. Instead, I got a powerful and beautiful car where some things just don’t work.