Why some Apple customers run Linux on Macbooks instead of OS X

In today's open source roundup: Why Apple's Macbooks are popular with some Linux users. Plus: Ars reviews Fedora 21, and should you use Linux or BSD?

Macbooks and Linux users

Apple has always had attractive and stylish hardware, but now it seems that some users are opting to run Linux instead of OS X on their Macbooks. Refurbished Macs from Amazon can help cut the cost of running Apple hardware considerably for Linux users. A redditor asked about this trend and got some very interesting answers.

Tomtomgps asked why some people are putting Linux on their Macbooks:

More and more people at my UNI are running linux on Mac books. (Most of them have a single boot linux). Am I the only one seeing this trend ?

I also have switched from OSX to archlinux on my Air.

More at Reddit

Fellow redditors chimed in with their thoughts about this surprising trend:

Traxislyte: "1. Apple hardware is arguably good and shows thoughtful design.

2. It's a challenge to hack an Apple and put Linux on it, especially for the novice. People love challenges.

3. Lastly, these days, a lot of the challenges getting Linux running have been removed by installers, but, with an Apple, there's no safety net. So, running Linux on an Apple shows a bit of expertise."

Orschiro: "This is surprising to me given that Mac OS X is designed to fit perfectly with the sold hardware. What are the overall experiences of particularly battery life when running a Mac book with Linux?"

LDL2: "Why would you waste money in this manner?"

Bamcomics: "On my way out of college I was starting to see a few computers running Linux (almost entirely Ubuntu/Mint and one guy used Fedora). A few of these were in fact on Mac products. I think we're doing it guys, keep spreading the good word of Linux!"

Chisleu: "If there was a version of a distro for mac hardware, that worked like mac for mac-like keyboards, I would run it. Even though I would have to figure out how to do things like incremental backups to S3, my Time Capsule, and upgrade the kernel to support hot plugging of my thunderbolt."

Martin8412: "The development branch of Chrome for OS X is actually 64-bit now. Even though it is the development branch, it isn't actually unstable. There are a few issues here and there, but for normal use the issues are minimal."

More at Reddit

Linux.com has instructions on how to run Fedora on a Macbook Air:

See how easy it is to setup a dual boot to Fedora 18 on your recent model MacBook Air (MBA). You don't need to install custom boot loaders or touch the internal SSD that contains OSX at all. Instead, take advantage of a high speed USB 3 pen drive as your Linux boot disk. After booting Fedora, graphics and wifi work without any extra tinkering. With the higher end modern USB 3.x pen drives disk performance doesn't need to crawl, either.

This might be just the ticket if you have a MacBook Air and wish to retain OSX on it but also want to have access to a laptop running a full flavored Linux while on the go.

More at Linux.com

Ars Technica reviews Fedora 21

Fedora 21 has been out for a little while now but the reviews are still coming in. Ars has a full review and finds that this release brings a new focus to Fedora.

Scott Gilbertson reports for Ars Technica:

We've used Fedora off and on since Fedora 6 (which at that time known as Fedora Core 6). Without reservation, this is the best release to date. That said, the GNOME desktop is not for everyone. Fortunately, there are plenty of other "spins" available, including a version with the MATE-desktop, which can now use Compiz if you'd like to re-experience Fedora with wobbly windows just like the days of yore. There are also spins featuring KDE, Xfce, and LXDE among other desktops.

If you're a desktop user, there's a Fedora for you. If you're a sysadmin, there's a Fedora for you. If you're chasing the dream of cloud server futures, there's a Fedora for you. And of course if you're just looking for a distro on which to build the ultimate robot, there's still a Fedora for you.

More at Ars Technica

Should you use BSD or Linux?

Linux isn't the only alternative to Windows or OS X. BSD is another option that some users might want to consider. MakeUseOf compared BSD to Linux in a recent article to see which one might appeal most to users.

Danny Stieben reports for MakeUseOf:

In the name of fair competition, it’s time that we gave BSD operating systems some recognition as well. And there’s no better way to do that than to compare them against Linux. What’s different about BSD operating systems, and should you be running it instead of Linux? How does Linux and the best BSD desktop OS, PC-BSD, compare on the desktop?

...the different BSD kernels have many different implementations of various technologies, some of which are proven to be superior to Linux. FreeBSD is known for having a fantastic networking stack, and OpenBSD is known for being about as secure as humanly possible. NetBSD can run on more architectures than even Linux can, including a toaster. So BSD operating systems aren’t bad from a technical perspective, but there’s simply less support for them by third-party developers than for Linux.

...most users will want to stick to Linux for their desktops as there are multiple reasons why Linux is better on the desktop. However, if this article has made you more curious about BSD operating systems, then feel free to try some out in a virtual machine or on a spare computer. It never hurts to know what’s out there.

More at MakeUseOf

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