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Apple Thunderbolt Display Presents Problems For Linux
The problem is not that they do bad things, but that people treat them like a perfect god.
And the answer to that is not to blindly label them as a perfect devil either, but to look at what they do well and what they do NOT do well, and make some truthful observations.
Neither Linux nor OSX is perfect, but each one has great strengths and great weaknesses which make them perfect for certain roles.
When I was a desktop to do actual work, I use OSX.
When I want to deploy servers, I use Linux.
When I want to play games, I use Windows.
Apple laptop hardware has been the first since some earlier Sony or IBM (NOT Lenovo) laptops which have been highly reliable for me and I didn't want to pitch in the trash after a year. 2010 17" MBP has been a reliable travel companion. Last time I felt that way about a laptop was the IBM A31p. Great screen, ran for years... tho the MBP is WAY lighter and has a much better battery than that beast did. I could use my current MBP for 3+ years without issue.
I moved to OSX for a desktop for the same reasons I abandoned Windows for real work 10 years before that. It was a better solution that allowed me to do all I wanted with less hassle. OSX is not perfect. Apple is not perfect. But for many, many cases... they offer a much better HW/SW combo with less effort than anything Linux can provide right now.
Just looking briefly, it seems like the thunderbolt display is basically a combination of displayport and PCIe. If that is the case, this isn't like implementing HDMI or DVI where there is one or a few standard data transfer formats to prepare, you are coding support for low-level device access (i.e. full, direct access to system memory) and the performance of the device will only be as good as the drivers for the device. Considering Apple's history of making their devices have as poor interoperability as possible with non-Apple software, this may be more a case of Linux developers not having access to enough of the device specs to make a good implementation. If that is the case it may be a while before Linux devs are able to reverse-engineer the device, especially considering the cost and targeting at Mac customers will likely restrict the appeal of the device.
Phoronix: Apple Thunderbolt Display Presents Problems For Linux
For the past few weeks I have been trying out the Apple's Thunderbolt Cinema Display under Linux. While this 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display is beautiful and delivers stunning quality, it does illustrate another area where the current Linux hardware support currently comes up short. There's both good and bad news about using a Thunderbolt-based display under your favorite Linux distribution.
Hey Michael, do you still have the display? Any success so far?
I'm not a big fan of apple products but I have to admit that seeing the Thunderbolt display next to dell's and other 27" displays it's by far the best! I would say it's the closest thing I've seen to a retina display in a monitor... looking so good that got even me tempted so... that's the reason I'm asking.
If I boot with the Thunderbolt display attached, all the docking/port extender features work (USB + Ethernet), but hotplugging doesn't work, and the display itself doesn't work correctly even when booting while attached. This is with Ubuntu 13.04. I haven't found any extra drivers or options to use.