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According to this Ubuntu Community Wiki page: Ubuntu 12.04 still does not support MacBook Pro 8.x.

Moreover, even Ubuntu 11.10 has incomplete support for this device (Thunderbolt won't work):

I believe a lot of macbook users (mostly programmers) want to install Ubuntu on their devices. So why there is not enough people to actually implement full support? What the problem is? Technical complexity of the task?

Bonus question: is there anything I can personally do to help this task without learning low-level drivers programming?

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Because Apple won't make the drivers? And why do you want to install Linux on a computer with Unix-based system anyways. – Oct 27 '12 at 11:12
I assumed it is Ubuntu community who should make drivers. And I wonder why it doesn't while there is a significant demand. – Daniel Vartanov Oct 27 '12 at 13:44
I am tempted to VTC as non-constructive, but this has been asked before (and with different distributions). I think it is a genuine question from several people. And the answer from is spot on. Someone needs to write it, and it is very hard to write without vendor support. – Hennes Oct 27 '12 at 17:17
It's about demand. Your subjective "a lot of MacBook users" that want to use Ubuntu, is likely a minor percentage against MacBook users that want to use Windows, or even MacBook users that want to use OS X, itself a perfectly serviceable UNIX-based OS. – user3463 Oct 27 '12 at 20:44

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

(Too long for a comment:) It's almost impossible to write a device driver without the cooperation of the hardware vendor. Even if the communication protocol, etc. can be reverse engineered or obtained, some interlectural property limitations may also make it impossible to distribute the driver as open source software.

Also drivers are part of the Linux kernel project, which Canonical doesn't control (and have very limited contribution). Most big controller chip vendors like Intel, AMD, Realtek contribute to the kernel directly. Smaller vendors who do not care about Linux users will probably never contribute any driver and users of their devices will have to rely on generic drivers. Linux used to have a big problem with the Atheros Wifi cards found on many Macs and it was years before the WiFi feature became barely useable. Now you have problem with the Thunderbolt port, which I guess will not get supported until they appear widely in PCs as well.

Still, I don't understand why you want to run Ubuntu on a Mac though. Most of the software that runs on Linux can be compiled on OSX.

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Thank you for the answer, I really didn't know that creating drivers by community (not by vendor) is not a regular routine. – Daniel Vartanov Oct 28 '12 at 8:27
Why install ubuntu? I am afraid to attract a rant, but switching to Mac OS from Ubuntu was the most annoying process. Slowness, unresponsiveness of terminal(!), uncustomizability -- this is why I am eagerly looking for a way to install Ubuntu on the same hardware (which is obviously very good). – Daniel Vartanov Oct 28 '12 at 8:30
Frankly I love OSX's Terminal. It's a bit slow to start, but you can copy and paste using the normal key combinations. The version in Lion also shows you output from the previous run which is very useful if you always accidently close the window. – Oct 29 '12 at 1:19

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