The more I thought about it, the more using an out-of-date OS on the old MacBook bothered me, so today I decided to have a crack at installing Linux on it. Well, I started yesterday actually with a live-USB of Ubuntu Bionic (because it’s what I had handy on a USB stick), and after some minor fucking about to get the wifi adaptor working I was content with it.
So I installed rEFInd, and started messing about with it. Mainly to have a chance to annoy a certain friend of mine, I decided to have a look at Arch instead. Jesus christ everything they say about Arch being the distro for “people who like messing with their computer more than they like using it” is true. Ubuntu you can basically spew out onto a system in about 10 minutes and you’re off and running, Arch is almost Gentoo in installation difficulty.
After about 30 minutes I managed to have a booting console installation with network support, and I was away. Everything went “more or less” how the wiki page for the MacBook 8,1 said it would, including having to disable one of the drivers to enable a different one.
About 90 minutes later and I had Xorg (I thought about going Wayland, but one thing to potentially piss me off at a time, thanks very much) working - mostly complicated by the touchpad, which I gather for most machines works out-of-the-box. Once that was setup things were underway fairly well, and I grudgingly accept that for the most part the packages are fairly nice to install. I haven’t gone through a major software update yet though…
I have a couple minor gripes with how it’s setup still, but for the most part it’s reasonably good. Everything’s responsive (though I’m not sure, but I think the trackpad stops working for a fraction of a second every so often), and most importantly I have up-to-date software on it. Creating a new copy of my blog’s local files and getting set up to publish it went very smoothly. Oh, and absolutely no issues with the disabled GPU, by the way. As far as Linux is concerned it does not exist.
Will I keep it? I’m not sure… I struggle with the fact it’s got a Mac keyboard and the keybindings are not Mac-style (though if I could change them out to PC keybindings I’d be oh so much happier in general) but maybe I’ll get used to that.