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Ubuntu Gutsy on a Macbook - Forget OS X Leopard

Mac OS X Leopard is Now Available! My question is, does anybody care?

I'm very happy with Ubuntu Gutsy. It is free, stable, can be customized with beautiful themes, has tons of quality easy-to-install applications, and most importantly -- I'm more productive than when I was using Windows XP. Since it is free, I decided to create a free advertisement to promote Ubuntu Gutsy. I guess you could call it an open source ad :)

After successfully installing Ubuntu Gutsy on my Latitude D830, I decided to try installing it on the Macbook. Yet again, easy install and everything is working right out of the box. Even the non-standard sound and screen brightness buttons can be used. I have yet to find anything that is not working besides the ability to right-click without an external mouse. All Mac laptops need some sort of hack to compensate for the hobbled one-button touchpad. I'm sure there is an applet for this but didn't bother searching. So, it looks like Ubuntu Gutsy is 100% hardware compatible with the first generation Macbooks.

I was feeling a bit shafted after finding out that Apple built a time-activated self-destruct into Bootcamp beta that disables the program. You can still boot into Windows but if you ever need to re-install, you are out of luck. Furthermore, with the release of OS X Leopard, anyone using Bootcamp beta is no longer licensed to run it without purchasing the OS X Leopard upgrade. This was the last straw. My Macbook may look pretty, but it is one of the least productive laptops I've ever owned. Among other complaints, only having one mouse button, no Delete key, no Page Up / Page Down keys, and no right CTRL key etc. just doesn't cut it. Not being able to run Bootcamp anymore sealed its fate. I'd rather donate $129 to Ubuntu than succumb to Apple's business tactics. I'm selling my Macbook.

As a side-note, it is funny and ironic that while I was recording the clips for the video at a small local coffee shop I was surrounded by Mac laptops. First, a girl walked in and sat at the table in front of me with her Powerbook. A little bit later, a guy with an older Powerbook sat down at the table behind me. While continuing to work on the video, I overheard from behind me another fellow ask, "So, is this the year you're going to get your Macbook?" He must've been friends with the guy behind me and was probably impressed with how cool my Macbook desktop looked with all of the effects running. If only he knew it was running Ubuntu! ;)


I've received a few complaints that this video is sexist because of the wallpaper that is displayed on the desktop. Although that was not the intention, it is a valid point. I should have done half the scenes with an attractive male body wallpaper displayed on the desktop so that it is balanced. Problem is, this is hard to find. "A good man wallpaper is hard to find." (for those of you who are familiar with the quote )

Anyone know of some attractive male wallpaper images that are free or open source?

- posted 15 years 11 months ago by: Themebot

I am a fond believe in placing obsessive political correction into a cannon and lighting the cord :) ... just a thought, hehe.

I just bought a Macbook Pro and the weekend and I can honestly say that I adore the little piece of ambrosial machinery :) Just a fabulous machine

- posted 15 years 11 months ago by: MuffinDCC

Try spending 8 or more hours doing some hard core developing or website administration without an external mouse. Your thumb and wrists may have a different opinion of the Macbook ;)

Although I don't like the single mouse button and simplified keyboard, I have to admit that Apple makes the best looking laptops. Did you get the one with the LED backlit display?

- posted 15 years 11 months ago by: Themebot

Lol, you are talking to a hard-core TrackPad user here. I hate thou mouse and just love the trackpad, just suits me far better :) Then again, my "desk" isn't exactly conventional. A nice comfy double bed with laptop tray lol.

Before I bought it, I was quite worried about how I would cope with the single trackpad button (that massive bar button). Then I discovered there was a 2 finger single tag function for the trackpad for right click, really intuitive and suits my hard-core Trackpad-ness :)

As for the keyboard, I don't know why they switched from the standard keyboard layout that you see on PC Laptops. I.e. the " and @ have been switched. The # symbol is now alt + 3 instead of its own key near where @ is on PC keyboard. Similarly, the |\ keys have swapped with `~ which is random. Then, next to 1 there is § which seems to have no purpose. I have adapted to the new layout but with # its just annoying, considering I use that key a hell of a lot (CSS stuff etc...). Ah well, can't have everything I guess. Oh, one last thing with the keyboard is the random mini-enter key next to the right CMD button. I would much prefer this to be what it was on Windows (activates the contextual menu) which is something that I miss. However, overall, I am pleased with the keyboard, but to be honest, its hard to go wrong :D

The design of the whole thing is marvellous, definitely a thing of beauty.

LED backlit display, I thing so as it lights up :)

But, from your video, Leopard seems better ;)

- posted 15 years 11 months ago by: MuffinDCC

Apparently Apple put a lot of research into simplifying things for the beginning computer user. That is why they have one mouse-button and a simplified keyboard. The fact that nearly 95% of all computer users are using PCs and that they are doing just fine with two mouse-buttons and a full-featured keyboard should be revealing.

When Apple finally dropped the PowerPC chips in favor of Intel chips, that was a step in the right direction. I get the feeling that Jobs is just too stubborn to put two mouse buttons on a Macbook, let alone using a standard keyboard. It's too bad. I'd really like to own a Macbook, but I won't be buying another one unless there is a standard keyboard and two mouse-buttons. Form before function in this case is not worth the hassle. :D

- posted 15 years 11 months ago by: Themebot

Yeah, most users are like from PC and making the transition harder just doesn't seem to make sense. The keyboard is alright, just wish I could switch a few buttons :)

What about that idea abou OLEC or something keyboard which allows you to mix and match keys, might be cool if Apple did that.

- posted 15 years 10 months ago by: MuffinDCC

Did you mean OLED? Interesting idea about the mix and match keyboard. The problem is, there are less keys on a Macbook. They would need to provide spaces for plugging in the extra keys. If the Macbooks shipped with Apple standard keyboards that could be configured like PC keyboards, those spaces would be empty and exposed.

They made it so you can run Windows on Apple hardware. That was surprising. But then it is a pain in the butt to run Windows because of the keyboard and mouse on the Macbook. Seems like a logical next step to change those as well. Majority rules. I guess they don't want to alienate their loyal user base further. But I'm sure they are happy to sell their users a mighty mouse and make it just hard enough to run windows so that they eventually get frustrated, buy OSX native software and convert to OSX only.

- posted 15 years 10 months ago by: Themebot

Yeah, OLED, that sounds familiar lol. I wasn't entirely sure what it was called but the idea seems cool. To be honest, the keyboard doesn't bother but like most things, if someone asks you, you start thinking :D The only major bug-bare that I have are with the §/± and the mini-enter key, just a complete waste of keys which could have been something productive.

As for windows. I use Parallels to run XP in Virtual Machine. However, the extent of my usage is to Internet Explorer Testing and use the UI interface of the gaming programme I use (a glorified chat room really, hehe). Therefore, I am not really affected about the different in keys as I don't really work in Windows anymore on my Mac. However, I only experienced one problem and that was with this cool plugin I installed called TextExpander allowing you to automatically change some text you have written to something else (really handy if you are typing the same monotonous responses in forums, hehe). For some reason, it kept interjecting random keys but I just disabled it for Parallels and all is well.

You say about their loyal user base, but (insert ignorance here) I read a lot of reviews about the Macbook Pro before I bought it and a LOT of people have issues with the keyboard, not something major but would be interesting to see what the statistics where for it. As an Englishman, complaining about something is in our genome lol but we don't really care.

But overall, I am only nit-picking at some small imperfections, not that anything is perfect but it really is the best notebook I have ever owned...the Fwwwr factor :D


[Additional Random Thoughts]...

Have you watched the new Macbook Air videos/media stuff? It looks really cool. But I was wondering if they would offer an upgrade for the Trackpad on the entire Macbook line. Considering, I bought my Macbook Pro a month ago, the new trackpad options would be great to have, if it was just a software upgrade of course :)

- posted 15 years 10 months ago by: MuffinDCC

Yikes!!! The Macbook Air looks insanely good! Apple can be really annoying. I love the design, but I know it would be a hassle to actually use it. My choice of operating systems are in this order: Favorite Linux Distro (Currently Ubuntu), Windows, OSX. I don't want to have to repurchase Adobe Creative Suite so that i can run it effectively in OSX. And of course, the keyboard and mouse are not so good. So that rules out buying a Macbook.

Darn. That thing is a beauty. Except that it has a POS 4200rpm parallel ATA hard drive (unless you spend major dough for the solid state). 4200 PATA drives are practically legacy hardware at this point in time. Just plain stupid, but a classic case of Apple ingenuity.

- posted 15 years 10 months ago by: Themebot

Looks awesome indeed, but I would never buy it as I have no use for it (well, its ultra portable purpose anyway)... wouldn't say no to a free one though hehe.

I can't wait for Adobe products to become redundant, they are bloated, over-priced software. I use 1%, if that of their actual software and what a *waste* of money it is. Shame I need Fireworks to actually do my work, I would gladly use a Mac orientated appliance.

As for the HDD, if you are crazy enough to actually buy one, I think you'll have the cash for SSD :) Quite a nice little optional bonus.

I really hope they do release that trackpad firmware, if possible. Kinda annoying if they don't and where the hell is 10.5.2!!!

- posted 15 years 10 months ago by: MuffinDCC

I completely agree with your comments about Adobe software. CS2 is buggy, bloated, prone to crashing and over-priced. I bought an educational version with student discount years ago, and it was still pretty expensive. Unfortunately I need Photoshop for the work I do for clients and my own projects. I've tried using Gimp. It just doesn't have the functionality that Photoshop has. At least not yet. The things I do would take a lot longer or not even be possible without Photoshop. It would be great to be running 100% open source software though.

- posted 15 years 10 months ago by: Themebot

I heard that Apple is developing a series of more apps to challenege Adobe, should be interesting to see as I really dislike Adobe.

- posted 15 years 10 months ago by: MuffinDCC

Have you noticed any screen flicker with your LED screen when set to the lowest brightness setting? Do you know the manufacturer of the screen?

- posted 15 years 10 months ago by: Themebot

No flicker at all on my screen, I don't know the manufacturer's name.

- posted 15 years 10 months ago by: MuffinDCC

Thanks. A friend of mine is considering getting a Macbook Pro. Is thinking about the 17in model but I'm trying to sway him to the 15in. I've got a Dell XPS M1330 with LED and love it. LED is much more vibrant than TFT.

- posted 15 years 10 months ago by: Themebot

I would have loved to at least tried the 17" model. There isn't an Apple store near me and the only models out in the PC stores where the 15" model which I have now, so didn't get a proper play. Besides, not that I would want to pay like $500 for 2" of screen but hey lol

If he is going to get one, I would wait till February-March time when they should be releasing their new line.

The screen does seem crisp but without comparison, I automatically think its pretty neat

Btw, I am actually starting to do something with my site now, starting with my Macbook Pro review...

- posted 15 years 10 months ago by: MuffinDCC

That's a good point. I always wait if I know new models are on the near horizon. However, he needs the computer for an important business meeting next week. I forget, does apple come with 30 day trial period?

Nice review by the way :D I'm going to be writing a review on my M1330 soon. I've got Ubuntu 64bit installed on both of my rigs and it is screaming fast.

- posted 9 years 9 months ago by: Themebot

Thats a bit of a dilemma. Maybe do what a work colleague of mine is doing, he just bought a cheap PC notebook and is going to take it back and then buy a Mac after the time has expired :D I think its like 14 days or something but can't really remember. I kinda wish they had a trade in service as I only bought my Macbook Pro a month ago. Ah well, its only .2GHz of processor speed and multi-touch trackpad, sure I can live without out....OR CAN I :D

Thanks, I like writing reviews, kinda sad like that. Going to eventually start on my review of Leopard and all the apps I use and go from there. Probably see the linux comparison from you then. Always been curious about linux so would be great to see some more info about it :)

- posted 15 years 10 months ago by: MuffinDCC

You can try out Ubuntu 64bit on your Macbook pretty easily.

1. Create a partition using bootcamp, 10-30 gigs or so.

2. Download the install image:

3. Burn to CD.

4. Boot the CD. I recommend running the check media option before actually installing.

5. Load the live CD. Ubuntu will actually run from CD but will be slow of course.

6. If you want to install it is pretty straight forward. During partitioning, you'd want to install on the largest free contiguous space.

7. Enjoy.

Here is a great tutorial here that is quite detailed and illustrated:

There is so much I love about Linux. Even the minor touches are great. Ubuntu is by far the best OS I have used, and I've used Windows and OSX extensively. Not a bad idea to try it out and start learning.

- posted 15 years 10 months ago by: Themebot

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