MacBook Pro 2015 update: The winner is Pop!_OS

After a few tries to put Fedora on the MacBook Pro 2015, I auditioned a number of other Linux distros and wound up going with Pop!_OS.

I gave Chrome OS Flex a brief spin, but it wasn’t quite my jam. If you like Chrome OS and have an old PC or Mac you’d like to give a little more life to, I give it a thumbs up. I was able to install some regular Linux apps on it as well as the standard Chrome apps, but found Firefox to be sluggish and generally just didn’t click with Chrome OS.

Tried installing Ubuntu but a disk configuration stage during install the dialog just didn’t accept input. Not sure what was up with that so I decided to try something else.

A little research suggested that Pop!_OS might not support WiFi on the MacBook Pro, but I decided to throw the live USB at it and see whether wireless worked or not. Turns out, it did without a fuss and the install was quick and painless.

After some light use over a few days, it seems like almost everything works well.

  • Wireless works fine
  • Suspend / resume seems to be fine
  • Bluetooth seems to work well, though I haven’t tried a lot of devices with it yet
  • Graphics support is great
  • Sound seems fine
  • Keyboard – no problems
  • Trackpad action is smooth and responsive, supports multi-touch gestures

The only thing that doesn’t work so far (which was expected) is the built-in camera. Wasn’t planning on using this machine for video conferencing anyway, so I’m not terribly broken up about this. Depending on your feelings around privacy and built-in cameras, this might be a feature.

The only hardware I haven’t shaken out yet is the Thunderbolt 2 and HDMI ports. Somewhere I have an ThunderBolt 2 adapter for Ethernet, which I’ll want to try out and will update this post or write up something new if there’s any surprises.

Performance is great. This is a Core i7 with 16GB of RAM, and its performance is more than adequate to be a daily driver for basic desktop use. At some point I might see if RHEL has the same EFI bootloader issue as Fedora or not, because this would also be a nice little test server.

If you have an Intel-based Mac that is no longer supported by Apple for current macOS releases, I’d recommend giving Linux a shot on it rather than putting it on the scrap heap or limping along with an outdated version of  macOS.

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