Should you install Linux on a Mac?

In today's open source roundup: Is it worth it to install Linux on a Mac? Plus: Why Google+ failed. And the death of Google+ is coming

Should you install Linux on a Mac?

Some Linux users have found that Apple's Mac computers work well for them. The combination of refurbished Macs from Amazon and Linux can result in a high quality operating system on a relatively low cost computer. But is it worth it to install Linux on a Mac? A writer at Softpedia considered that very question in a recent article.

Marius Nestor reports for Softpedia:

Many of you will want to install Linux on a Mac out of curiosity, but the sad truth is that you'll end up asking all over the Internet how to remove it, because, in many cases, it won't recognize some of the hardware components of your Mac computer.

So, we're back from where we started, if you're not a skilled hacker or computer enthusiast who knows how to optimize a Linux kernel and other core components for specific Mac hardware, you should not bother installing a Linux distro in the first place.

Mac OS X is a great operating system, so if you bought a Mac, stay with it. If you really need to have a Linux OS alongside OS X and you know what you're doing, install it, otherwise get a different, cheaper computer for all your Linux needs.

I myself have a regular computer where I am dual booting Arch Linux and Mac OS X. Some of you out there might call it a Hackintosh, but I like to call it a Linuxtosh.

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Softpedia readers had their own thoughts to share about the virtues of combining Linux with Mac hardware:

Skunxoi: "I've been using Mac computers for the last 10 years now. Mac is a very good OS, but I personally like Linux better. I have my Macs dual booted with Xubuntu, and I hardly go back to Mac. I guess it all depends what do you want to do."

Steve: "I can't speak for anyone else, but I've installed Linux on my MacBook (dual boot) purely because I liked the hardware. I only use the Mac for Video editing. Linux for everything else. I also have a top spec gaming laptop running Linux (never thought I'd ever say gaming and Linux in the same sentence!). The MacBook is my "Take anywhere" machine because it's durable and can run both the operating systems I need and battery life is amazing.

In the future though, when my MacBook hardware dies, it looks like I may be buying a Pureism Librem 13. Finally free hardware has caught up... At a fraction of the cost. Linux is even getting better at video editing."

Bogdan: "As you said, curiosity is the reason, but you forgot to mention one alternative: virtualization! I use free software -Virtualbox in order to learn how to use Linux. It works great on my Mac!"

Jeremy: "Your hypothesis is somewhat flawed by the fact that you don't specify whether you are talking about NEW Mac hardware, or hardware which is no longer supported by current versions of OS X. I would not hesitate to replace OS X with Linux once my older MacBook Pro goes unsupported by Apple. I'd rather run a new version of Linux on the hardware than to be unable to get security updates from Apple."

Embedded: "There are enough "quirks" in OS X to make doing cross dev not pretty. Easier to fire up VB with FC21 and got to town. Besides: I build an entire setup (kernel + busybox + apps/utilities/etc) on my MPB 15" using 8G, 2 cores, and running from USB3 external HDD and it builds in half the time our virtual network servers w/Xeon cores..."

Phoronix: "OS X is pretty but slow as a dog on the same hardware but if you only run OS X you'll never know it -- ignorance is bliss. Run a full benchmark suite such as phoronix under OS X, then load a Linux say Ubuntu on you Mac and run the full benchmark suite under Linux and compare the numbers and be amazed as some OS functions run twice as fast or more under Linux on the same hardware."

Mark: "25 imacs in our office, and most cannot be upgraded to 10.10 as it is too slow. Trying linux has shown a noticeable speed increase on imac's over their existing 10.8 / 10.9. 10.10 made them unusable. We are lucky that we don't use any software that is mac only. Our internal production systems are all java, and we recently moved to LibreOffice."

Neoni: "Oh please, OS X is terrible. I have to use it at work and it's the biggest deterrent to getting real work done. Both the multihead and multi-monitor support are spotty at best, completely awful at worst, and to get my hands on real software I have to install everything from source from the bottom up."

Hbogert: "That project cost me a week of my life. In the end the horrible wifi drivers for the Broadcom chipsets made the experience horrible. Other than that, I do prefer Linux. I've had countless weird stuff since 10.9. And in constrast to most linux projects, filing a bug to Apple is the same as sending to /dev/null."

Thor: "You should ask Linus Torvalds why did he tried to install Debian on a MacBook Air! Because he could (sort of)! Why do we take the bus instead of walking? Why do we take the elevator instead of escalating 10 floors by foot? Why do we fly from NY to LA instead of taking trains? Just because MacOS is good, it doesn't mean it's perfect!"

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