1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking Benchmarking Platform
Phoromatic Test Orchestration

2012 MacBook Air Isn't Trouble-Free On Linux

Hardware

Published on 11 August 2012 12:58 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware
20 Comments

While lately I've been busy with trying out the Retina MacBook Pro under Linux, which has been a big problem and I'm not recommending the rMBP for Linux users at this time (more details soon), it looks like the new MacBook Air might also have some Linux woes. Outside of Apple, the Sony Vaio Z Ivy Bridge laptop also has some Linux problems of its own.

The new MacBook Air has a 1440 x 900 native panel resolution, up to 256GB of flash storage, an Intel Core i5 "Ivy Bridge" processor with integrated graphics (or up to a Core i7 CPU model on the highest-end model), at least 4GB of DDR3L 1600MHz memory, and a weight of just over one kilogram while being extremely thin. It didn't look like the MacBook Air would have any Linux compatibility problems as it goes without the switchable/hybrid graphics, no retina display, and is based upon the Linux-proven Intel Ivy Bridge hardware. However, it doesn't seem to be absolutely trouble-free.

According to the Intel-gfx mailing list this morning, Fedora 17 will install on the 2012 MacBook Air when adding intremap=off to the kernel's boot arguments. However, when upgrading from F17's Linux 3.3 kernel to the 3.5/3.6 (or even the drm-intel-next kernel branch), the screen doesn't light up. If trying to boot the MacBook Air without the Intel kernel mode-setting support, the Linux kernel panics.

So if you have Linux running on the new MacBook Air right now, it might be best to avoid changing out the Linux kernel until all of the bugs/regressions get ironed out. At least though the new Apple MacBook Air is making it further along with Linux than the Retina MacBook Pro.

For those not into Apple hardware but rather the Sony Vaio Z series with their new Ivy Bridge laptops, there your mileage may vary too. Here's a blog post by Julien Danjou with information on a Sony Vaio Z laptop with Ivy Bridge CPU where USB booting is borked, the storage requires using fake RAID, graphics are unstable on pre-3.5 kernels, a sound bug, broken fingerprint reader, USB 3.0 does not work, and some WiFi quality issues.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Articles & Reviews
  1. GeForce GTX 750 Series: Nouveau vs. NVIDIA Linux Driver Performance
  2. GLAMOR + RadeonSI 2D Acceleration Is Quite Good For Open-Source AMD 2D Performance
  3. AMD Radeon R9 290 OpenGL On Ubuntu 15.04: Catalyst vs. RadeonSI Gallium3D
  4. Ubuntu 15.04 Offers Faster OpenGL For AMD Radeon GPUs On Open-Source
  5. Ubuntu 15.04 Brings Some Graphics Performance Improvements For Intel Haswell
  6. Sub-$20 802.11n USB WiFi Adapter That's Linux Friendly
Latest Linux News
  1. Many Ubuntu Phone Updates Are Coming Up Soon
  2. Nouveau Lands GL_AMD_Performance_Monitor Support
  3. Deb-Based Ubuntu Will Continue To Be Offered For The Foreseeable Future
  4. Linux Game Publishing Remains Down For The Count
  5. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.7 Beta Released
  6. Keeping The Humidity Out Of The Basement Linux Server Room
  7. It's A Long Road Ahead To Get Ubuntu Snappy On The Desktop
  8. NetworkManager 1.0.2 Arrives As First Post-1.0 Release
  9. Libinput 0.15 Adds New Debug Events Utility
  10. Qt 5.5 Beta Is Coming Soon, Snapshot Released
Most Viewed News This Week
  1. Trying Out Microsoft Visual Studio Code On Linux
  2. Microsoft Releases New Code IDE For Linux!
  3. Improvements On The Way For GNOME's Nautilus File Manager
  4. A Lot Of Improvements Are Coming For Mir 0.13, Including Work Towards Libinput
  5. Kodi 15.0 Beta 1 Released
  6. Wayland 1.8 Alpha Release Delayed
  7. Mono 4.0 Makes Use Of Microsoft's Open-Source Code, C# 6.0
  8. Lucid Sleep Support Is Being Worked On For The Upstream Linux Kernel