Updated: October 30, 2010
I don't have a Mac. I am not nobility. But some people are, including my brother, who generously decided to test the latest Ubuntu edition, Maverick Meerkat on one of his Mac machines. Nothing sinister or against the Apple religion, just live CD exploration, to see how well it works and behaves. Most importantly, how good is that hardware detection?
So this review is more of a screenshot tour with some of the usual Dedoimedo babble, but if you like my style and/or are used to it, then you will appreciate this article. It will show you how good (or bad) the hardware detection in Linux is, especially against hardware specifically designed not to run anything but the stock OS. It will also show you that there's choice, so if you're a hardcore Macman or Macwoman, you may want to try exploring the free world of software, including Gnome-based distribution, which, although not as pretty as Mac, are becoming more so every day. So let's rock.
Screenshots captured using an iPhone, so not the best quality and a bit of spatial distortion, including the high-frequency pixel jitter or whatever, but it surely tells this magnificent story. Oh, we could have taken the images using the screenshot utility, but then, anyone could do that on any machine.
Now, join me for a tour.
The MacMaverick Mystery Tour
Hardware in hand, an iMac 20, with an Intel processor and an ATI card. The Mac sees the Ubuntu live CD as Windows, which is kind of funny. It's a one ring to rule them all kind of thing. But it's ok.
A bit of screen reflection blurring for the sake of privacy save for the Ubuntu splash logo, but you get the general idea:
And the desktop, as seen through the lens of an iPhone:
No Wireless at first, but this is handled by the Additional drivers. Like my HP machine, the Broadcom driver was bundled and offered even without the Internet connection, so you won't face the tough choice of a chicken and an oven thing.
Bluetooth works, too:
Disk management worked great too, including both the internal HFS-formatted disk and the USB/FireWire external-attached HFS-formatted storage. Again, a flawless experience, without any hassle for the user.
And I guess that would be all. Just a teaser, fellas. You've seen this great distro and its predecessor perform flawlessly on a handful of laptops, so running on an iMac should be no exception. Not the most beautiful or exciting screenshot tour, but it does prove a point. Even your Mac hardware will love Ubuntu, without any big fuss.
I don't have anything too grand to say. Compare this experience with my Windows 7 installation on the Pavilion laptop and you'll get the general idea how simple things are. Ubuntu, as the leading Linux distro, offers a smooth and seamless experience on pretty much any hardware, including the not-so-trivial Mac. This means that should you decide to explore the brave new world of geekdom, you probably have the ultimate testbed. And this includes you, the high-income Maccers.
Ubuntu will work well with your Wireless adapters, even install them for you offline, your Nvidia and ATI cards, your USB and FireWire devices, including the HFS filesystem. Really great. The notion of dual-boot has never been more appealing. And so it begins. One distro to rule them all. Aha!
Well, I hope you enjoyed it. If you have a MacMaverick moment you'd like to share, feel free to drop me a link or point me to your screenshots.