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Linux Is Still A Lemon On The 2013 MacBook Air

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  • #16
    Working fine so far ...

    I can't really reproduce any of your Problems.
    Like you I've bought a 2013 Macbook Air 6.2 (but I have 13", Intel i5)
    Like you I found the Linux support to be messy at the beginning, but now it works just fine for me.

    I'm haven't noticed any Problems with GPU Hangs, but sometimes (about every third boot) the boot takes about 1,5 minutes and starting X takes another 20 seconds. But more often than not it boots just fine. (I'm using refind which starts GRUB)

    Once started it works for the most part.
    • I'm currently running 3.11.0-rc3 but the default arch kernel (3.10.3-1) works as well
    • WLan doesn't work out of the box, but installing the new broadcom driver (package in Archlinux: broadcom-wl-dkms 6.30) fixes this. (I haven't tested neither speed nor ac connectivity)
    • Suspend works
    • Touchpad works (2 finger scroll but not infinitely variable -> scrolling in small steps)
    • Keyboard layout works (with a bit of xmodmap magic)
    • Sound works (also pulseaudio) only when using headphones - can't get speakers to work - somebody can help ?
    • The only thing that really bothers me beside the not working sound is that changing screen brightness works fine at first, but once I close the laptop lid (->sleep) it only toggles between full brightness and minimum brightness. (/sys/class/backlight/intel_backlight/brightness can be set from 0 to 2777. When using anything below ~2400 display drops black and everything above is obviously (close to) full brightness)

    I'm already using my Macbook Air as an Production Machine and it runs quite well (apart from the brightness and sound issues, but hey I'm an arch user)
    (Xonotic runs quite well but causes the fans to ramp up heavily in contrast to something CPU intensive like compiling a kernel)

    For anyone with a macbook air i recommend looking here and here.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by M1kkko View Post
      Now, seriously, what could go wrong so badly?

      I understand this is not the most standard laptop and could include some weird hardware (apple's trackpad, bluetooth, thunderbolt, backlit keyboard). But GPU hangs? That's an Intel GPU which should, according to earlier information, have wonderful open source drivers, better than what OS X itself has.

      I was even considering this device, because according to specs, I see no reason why it should not work with Linux.

      So can anyone explain what's going on?
      It's not a GPU issue...

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      • #18
        Originally posted by M1kkko View Post
        Now, seriously, what could go wrong so badly?
        Amongst other things, a bios that intentionally breaks spec so it will only work properly with Os X or Apple-developed drivers or workarounds. Apple has the habit of doing this, taking an existing spec and breaking it just enough that no one else can interact with it properly.

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        • #19
          Who's the Lemon Here?

          C'mon now, lemons are hardware. It would seem that hardware that won't accommodate the world's most popular OS kernel is the sour piece of fruit, here.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by TheBlackCat View Post
            Amongst other things, a bios that intentionally breaks spec so it will only work properly with Os X or Apple-developed drivers or workarounds. Apple has the habit of doing this, taking an existing spec and breaking it just enough that no one else can interact with it properly.
            well to be honest microsoft do this too but at bios level, many bios since long ago sends faulty ACPI tables depending the identification string, in fact if you remove the massive amount of hacks in the kernel ACPI code and leave only a perfect ACPI implementation it won't even boot in most machines

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            • #21
              It'd be nice if Phoronix goes into reviewing notebooks and other hardware for Linux compatibility, stability, power efficiency and then performance more often. Maybe you can try to get some sort of partnership with OEMs and/or retailers assuming they don't "encourage" you to write biased reviews for them sending you review units.

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              • #22
                More like... The 2013 MacBook Air Is Still A Lemon On Linux.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by matt98 View Post
                  It'd be nice if Phoronix goes into reviewing notebooks and other hardware for Linux compatibility, stability, power efficiency and then performance more often. Maybe you can try to get some sort of partnership with OEMs and/or retailers assuming they don't "encourage" you to write biased reviews for them sending you review units.
                  And you will get more Linux is still a lemon on {insert random product here}. We have to live with the fact that big manufacturers don't give a fuck about desktop linux and those that do make ugly hardware (ie. System76 and the lot).

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by 89c51 View Post
                    And you will get more Linux is still a lemon on {insert random product here}. We have to live with the fact that big manufacturers don't give a fuck about desktop linux and those that do make ugly hardware (ie. System76 and the lot).
                    Ya, I expect that but finding out which systems aren't lemons on Linux is great. Right now, I can only go by my own anecdotal experience. However, it'd be nice to know which notebooks are not lemons or find out what is broken on a notebook and decide whether or not it' s okay for my needs. An article on the notebook and then supplemental information from commenters would be great.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by beidl View Post
                      If anybody, it's Apples fault. Read this blog post of GregKH about how they f*cked up the implementation of their own Thunderbolt spec...
                      http://www.kroah.com/log/blog/2013/06/20/hardware/
                      GregKH calls the co-designer of Thunderbolt fucking up their own implementation with this quote:

                      It turns out that that Apple, in their infinite wisdom, doesnít follow the specification, but rather, they require a kernel driver to do all of the work that the BIOS is supposed to be doing. This works out well for them as they can share the same code from their BIOS with their kernel, but for any other operating system, that doesnít know how to talk directly to the hardware at that level, you are out of luck. So, no Thunderbolt support on Apple hardware for Linux (at least through May 2013, maybe newer models will change this, but Iím not counting on it.)
                      The Mach XNU Kernel is designed specifically to work and leverage the hardware in this manner. This is not a `fuck up,' as he rightly points out the direct advantage this gives Apple talking directly to that hardware at that level.

                      I guarantee you Intel isn't whining that Apple implemented it this way.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Marc Driftmeyer View Post
                        This is not a `fuck up,' as he rightly points out the direct advantage this gives Apple talking directly to that hardware at that level.
                        They broke the spec they helped created. It was obviously intentional, but it still broke the spec.

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                        • #27
                          The thing here is that technically Apple doesn't use a BioS. So obviously there would be no support for BioS on their machines.

                          Originally posted by Marc Driftmeyer View Post
                          GregKH calls the co-designer of Thunderbolt fucking up their own implementation with this quote:



                          The Mach XNU Kernel is designed specifically to work and leverage the hardware in this manner. This is not a `fuck up,' as he rightly points out the direct advantage this gives Apple talking directly to that hardware at that level.

                          I guarantee you Intel isn't whining that Apple implemented it this way.
                          I hate to say this but many kernel developers are stuck in the past and have a hard time adapting to post i86 and BioS supported hardware. I'm not sure this is the case here, but really Apples hardware has been EFI for some time now. In a nutshell it is pretty pathetic to whine about a company that doesn't follow PC conventions when it doesn't consider its machines to be PC compatibles.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by TheBlackCat View Post
                            They broke the spec they helped created. It was obviously intentional, but it still broke the spec.
                            Apple doesn't make PC compatibles so it isn't really possible for them to break the spec. BioS is an ancient technology from the PC compatible land, Apple doesn't make PC compatibles. In fact most PC operating systems require that you install boot camp on the Mac hardware to do an install.

                            It actually perplexes me that so many see Apple hardware as PC compatible when it obviously isn't. Nor was any of Apples hardware ever intended to be PC compatible in its base form. Reading a spec for PC hardware and then trying to blame Apple for not implementing it is frankly stupid.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by wizard69 View Post
                              Apple doesn't make PC compatibles so it isn't really possible for them to break the spec. BioS is an ancient technology from the PC compatible land, Apple doesn't make PC compatibles. In fact most PC operating systems require that you install boot camp on the Mac hardware to do an install.

                              It actually perplexes me that so many see Apple hardware as PC compatible when it obviously isn't. Nor was any of Apples hardware ever intended to be PC compatible in its base form. Reading a spec for PC hardware and then trying to blame Apple for not implementing it is frankly stupid.
                              This is vendor lock-in issue nothing to see here.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by phoronix View Post
                                Phoronix: Linux Is Still A Lemon On The 2013 MacBook Air

                                While the 2013 Haswell-based Apple MacBook Air has been on the market for the better part of two months, the Linux kernel still isn't playing nicely with this very light laptop that under OS X boasts a long battery life...

                                http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTQyNDk
                                Have you git bisected between the working and nonworking kernel versions to determine the commit which caused the issue?
                                You're going to have to give them a bit of a biscuit on this one before they'll handle your hardware vendor's assclown move.

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