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.org

Linux Is Still A Lemon On The 2013 MacBook Air

Hardware

Published on 31 July 2013 12:05 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware
38 Comments

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.

I was quick to buy the 2013 MacBook Air when it first was made available due to the very small form factor, appealing design, and very long battery life. Plus I had already been running an Intel Core i7 "Haswell" engineering sample at that point for several weeks and was extremely satisfied with its performance -- both for the CPU and GPU -- and it was running well under Linux.

Last month I wrote that running Ubuntu Linux is messy on the 2013 MacBook Air. Unfortunately, the situation isn't any better but arguably worse. Early issues I experienced with the Haswell MacBook Air when running Linux were GPU hangs for the HD Graphics 5000, EFI boot option problems, and the 802.11n WiFi not working out-of-the-box. In that article I mentioned that the Linux 3.10 kernel was not booting on the hardware while the Linux 3.9 kernel would boot. But with the Linux 3.9 kernel, the Intel DRM driver support for the Haswell graphics isn't the best.

Since last month's article, the Linux 3.10 kernel was released as stable and the Linux 3.11 kernel is now midway through its development cycle. Sadly, the Linux 3.10 kernel still won't boot and not even the Linux 3.11 kernel.

After publishing that article, further testing revealed that the kernel booting issue was caused by a hang. Namely, very early in the boot process, the kernel is stuck when hitting smpboot: Booting Node 0, Processors #1. This problem is present on Linux 3.10 stable and the Linux 3.11 Git kernels at least up through today (30 July).

Linux Is Still A Lemon On The 2013 MacBook Air


Even with trying a multitude of different Linux kernel options (disabling ACPI on the system will also cause a kernel panic), trying out daily builds quite frequently, and other common debugging techniques, since the Linux 3.9 kernel the MacBook Air will never get past this hang at the smpboot stage in any meaningful way.

Linux Is Still A Lemon On The 2013 MacBook Air


Other earlier purchasers of the 2013 MacBook Air have also run into this problem when trying to upgrade the Linux kernel. This show-stopping problem can be found in LaunchPad Bug #1197451 and the upstream Kernel.org Bug #60635. Sadly at the moment it doesn't appear close to resolution with not much activity surrounding this issue yet, even though Apple MacBook hardware has become fairly common with Linux developers.

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 Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 Offers Great Linux Performance
  2. CompuLab Intense-PC2: An Excellent, Fanless, Mini PC Powered By Intel's i7 Haswell
  3. From The Atom 330 To Haswell ULT: Intel Linux Performance Benchmarks
  4. AMD Radeon R9 285 Tonga Performance On Linux
Latest Linux Articles
  1. AMD Moves Forward With Unified Linux Driver Strategy, New Kernel Driver
  2. MSI: Update Your BIOS From The Linux Desktop
  3. NVIDIA vs. AMD 2D Linux Drivers: Catalyst Is Getting Quite Good At 2D
  4. 15-Way GPU Comparison With Mesa 10.3 + Linux 3.17
Latest Linux News
  1. Ubuntu 16.04 Might Be The Distribution's Last 32-Bit Release
  2. Imagination Releases Full ISA Documentation For PowerVR Rogue GPUs
  3. Features GNOME Developers Want In The Linux Kernel
  4. GTK+ Gains Experimental Overlay Scrollbars
  5. Phoronix Test Suite 5.4 M3 Is Another Hearty Update
  6. GParted 0.20 Improves Btrfs Support
  7. EXT4 In Linux 3.18 Has Clean-ups, Bug Fixes
  8. Emacs 24.4 Has Built-In Web Browser, Improved Multi-Monitor Support
  9. NVIDIA's NVPTX Support For GCC Is Close To Being Merged
  10. KDE's KWin On Wayland Begins Using Libinput
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Users/Developers Threatening Fork Of Debian GNU/Linux
  2. HOPE: The Ease Of Python With The Speed Of C++
  3. Proof that strlcpy is un-needed
  4. Bye bye BSD, Hello Linux: A Sys Admin's Story
  5. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  6. NVIDIA Presents Its Driver Plans To Support Mir/Wayland & KMS On Linux
  7. AMD Is Restructuring Again, Losing 7% Of Employees
  8. Open-Source AMD Fusion E-350 Support Takes A Dive