Brilliant

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Brilliant

Postby john-boro » 2006-12-22 15:19

I use a macbook pro, and the sluggishness and general feel of os x has always annoyed me. I first tried gentoo, due to having used it before, and the extended wiki they have. It worked fine, but I could never get wireless working very well, or the touchpad. I then tried fedora core 6. I was impressed with the quick install, and the fact that most things worked out of the box. However, it took a long time to get ati drivers properly working, and hibernate didn't work, or again the touchpad. The ethos of fedora doesn't seem to encourage custom kernel compiling, so I shyed away from trying to compile a suspend2 kernel.

Then I tried debian. I'd heard ubuntu was good with macbook pros, but due to my experience with gentoo I felt more comfortable with the way debian works, than ubuntu which I felt could be too constricting.

As it happens, it installed perfectly. The debian wiki on this subject is small but perfectly formed, and within minutes, wireless, touchpad and hardware accelerated graphics were working. The main thing impressing me was that I had only usually found this configurability in gentoo, but installing that had taken literally days.

I wanted to get hibernate working as I had in gentoo, because this would really make debian rise above the others. So I looked at a few guides on compiling kernels in debian (in the end I used an ubuntu guide, but hey), downloaded 2.6.18.6, applied patches flawlessy and installed the kernel. Installing the kernel was very, very easy. Hibernate worked.

The last obstacle was that frequency scaling didn't work after resume. Fixing this just involved enabling the forced unloading of the speedstep_centrino module before hibernate.

In short, debian has been perfect for me and this laptop, because it is so configurable and yet doesn't take ages compiling stuff. Also apt-get makes most installs very simple, and the wealth of info available makes the more involved stuff relatively easy for an experienced gentoo user. Funnily enough, the only reasons debian first crossed my mind were:

a) The logo looks awesome
b) There is a package of mbpeventd available, which doesn't exist in a readily available form for any other distro as far as I know.

So now I've got a brilliant system running, with everything that works in mac os x (apart from bluetooth which I have disabled) working well. My install is only 4.4 gig in size, and I have just about every program I need already. It is way faster than os x, and all in all is a pleasure to use.


I know you guys are apparently having a bit of strife on the mailing lists and forums, but all I can say is keep it up. For all the trouble, there is still a great, great product coming out of this community.



Sorry for the essay!

john
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Postby hcgtv » 2006-12-22 16:08

John,

This is refreshing to hear, seems like the Linux folk always get flamed for suggesting that the Penguin is a good alternative to OS X.

I don't own a Mac but I've spent a lot of time at the local Apple store evaluating OS X. I'm not an OS bigot, I use what's best for the job and the individual. So all the hype around OS X made me a bit curious, I had to kick the tires somewhat. Aside from the more polished apps, I found it to be a bit of a pain to do low level configuration with the ease of a Debian system. I guess it's Apple way of protecting you from shooting off your mouse, but the command line left a lot to be desired for the experienced Unix user.

Debian must fly on a MacBook Pro, I know Etch is super fast on my AMD64 laptop and I've got everything working just fine.

Please let us know how things progress.
Bert Garcia - When all you have is a keyboard
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