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Advice needed from Linux / Macbook Users

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by whoatherechunk, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. whoatherechunk

    whoatherechunk Supporting Member

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    Hey guys,

    Looking to get some advice on what I should do with a 07’ Macbook that hasn’t been seeing much use. My two viable options that I see are to list it on eBay and see what I can get out of it or I can turn it into a Linux machine. I don’t know anything about Linux but maybe this can be an opportunity to learn (?).

    Here are the specs

    Intel 2 Core Duo, 2.16 GHz, Memory 1 GB 512 MB X 2 of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRam, 160 GB Hard Drive, OSX 10.4.11, 13” screen

    The physical condition of the computer is in decent shape. The screen works just fine. The battery is dead and the adapter must be connected at all times. The unit has had previous hard drive issues. The stock HD went out and I upgraded it to the current HD a couple years ago which about a year ago had issues as well. Through the disk utility I was able to get the computer up and working again. It’s still slow and it has a weird problem which consists of the mouse cursor being pixelated and the turn wheel pixelates even worse when the computer is processing something. Sorry If all this info seems a bit redundant but I’m simply wondering if this computer is worth using as a Linux machine or should I just toss it up on the bay. Seems like the fetching price is between $100 - $200 for a Macbook in the condition that I have.

    Thanks guys.
  2. GrumpiusMaximus

    GrumpiusMaximus I've Seen Things You People Wouldn't Believe Supporting Member

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    Dual booting Ubuntu or Mint (or any number of other distros) would be fairly trivial. You can keep OS X on there and see what happens - at worst, I would part the laptop out - at best, it might give it a new lease of life.
  3. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

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    LOL, that's more modern than my main PC, which has run Linux and is now on Win7.

    In my view you can try Linux with nothing to lose. You might not even need to uninstall Mac OS, just set aside some space for a Linux install.
  4. GrumpiusMaximus

    GrumpiusMaximus I've Seen Things You People Wouldn't Believe Supporting Member

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    For what it's worth, my tertiary computer (2006 iMac) runs Ubuntu without a hitch. It has 2GB of RAM as an upgrade but other than that, it's fairly similar spec-wise to your machine.
  5. whoatherechunk

    whoatherechunk Supporting Member

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    Does Linux have limitations on software upgrades based on RAM, processor speed, etc? Would I be up to date in the Linux despite the age of my machine.
  6. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

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    The latest distro's do, but I suspect that your Mac is sufficiently modern to run any mainstream flavor of Linux. And if it isn't, the installer will complain before you get too far into the process, since the mainstream installers start by booting themselves onto your computer from a CD or flash drive. So, if you can get into the installer, then you're good to go.

    And there are specialized distro's such as Puppy that are designed to work efficiently on older hardware.
  7. whoatherechunk

    whoatherechunk Supporting Member

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    Great. I think Linux is the best route. I don't care to deal with old OSX software so it may be best to run it purely on Linux and use the Macbook as an internet cruiser with the average word doc every once in a while. I guess what I'm getting at is that I don't mind if the Macbook falls apart anytime soon but I'm trying to squeeze out some productivity out of it.

    I'm sure there are various youtube videos on Linux installs but is there any preferred option? Flash drive install as an example.
  8. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

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    There's a free program called unetbootin (universal net boot installer) that will create a bootable flash drive from any of the popular distro's. The most popular is Ubuntu, which is probably where you should start.

    You can also download an .iso file from Ubuntu, which you can burn onto a CD, resulting in a bootable Ubuntu CD. Most other distro's have the same sort of thing available.

    There may be some nuances having to do with installing on a Mac that I wouldn't be aware of.
  9. Bocete

    Bocete Supporting Member

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    I've been hearing nothing but praise for Mint for years now. I would consider using it instead of Ubuntu, if only because I dislike Unity, prefer KDE once bloat is disabled and Kubuntu is not really a thing anymore.

    OP - in Linux, the GUI is basically an application that runs on top of the Linux kernel. Therefore there are many to choose from, and you can even have multiple installed and switch between them. Unity is default for Ubuntu and I don't think anyone is too keen on it, it's functional but that's it. KDE's Plasma Workspace is an alternative GUI that I prefer. Very customizable and good looking.
  10. whoatherechunk

    whoatherechunk Supporting Member

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    I'm looking at the GUI's and based on looks: XFCE looks like an early version of Mac OSX such as the one I have currently installed, MATE looks similar, Cinnamon looks the most modern, and KDE looks pretty solid. I'm kinda leaning towards Cinnamon...why? I guess it looks the sexiest ha.
  11. whoatherechunk

    whoatherechunk Supporting Member

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    I just need to get some DVD-R's to start up the installation. Are there any drawbacks to bypassing a partition and going full on Linux?
  12. Fredde

    Fredde

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    You shouldn't need DVD, you can put the boot image on a usb drive using unetbootin. I would recommend Ubuntu/Xubuntu (Ubuntu with XFCE) or limux mint. (Some really old computers might not have the option to boot from usb, but I haven't seen that for many a year.)

    I wouldn't bother with the dual boot stuff, but then I would reformat and install linux even if someone gave me a brand new Mac... Been running linux exclusively on all my computers (laptops, desktops, servers) for some years now.
  13. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

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    No drawbacks. Like Fredde says, you can use a flash drive if you don't have a DVD.
  14. twocargar

    twocargar Supporting Member

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    I think you might have some overheating issues or bad RAM that might be causing the pixelated cursor and beach ball. That could have also contributed to poor performance with your hard drives. Some of those older MacBooks had clogged fans or dead fans, so keep that in mind. I've been a Mac user for over 20 years, and use an old black MacBook for my synth/bass pedal rig. The battery's dead, but it's always plugged in, so that doesn't matter. That's always an option for an old machine.

    I really like Ubuntu, it runs great on old Macs. You should address your overheating or RAM issue as it will affect your performance with Linux too. Good luck!
  15. iamlowsound

    iamlowsound

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    Those specs will run Lion, which is still fairly modern. I had an older MacBook, with worse specs running Snow Leopard perfectly, until the screen died a few months back. Well, it was actually three MacBooks combined to get the best specs I could and hardware that still worked.

    lowsound
  16. whoatherechunk

    whoatherechunk Supporting Member

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    That was definitely the culprit I'm suspecting when the hard drives went out. Ditto, on always having the computer charged as well.

    Can you recommend some upgraded ram that I could purchase? Perhaps go up to 2GB? Or what would be best with specs I currently have.

    Thanks for the help guys!

  17. twocargar

    twocargar Supporting Member

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    I use these guys. http://www.datamemorysystems.com They are local for me, but they have good prices and guarantee their RAM. I would stay away from generic RAM when using a Mac too. They are very finicky about RAM.

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