Linux User Warns: “2016 MacBook Pro Is Incompatible With Linux”


linux-on-macbook-pro-2016Short Bytes: New Apple MacBooks always cause some troubles when an enthusiast tries to install some Linux distro. Apparently, the same has happened with a Reddit user who tried installing Ubuntu Linux on his new MacBook Pro. While it might seem surprising to some, the open source community needs to reverse engineer some drivers after every new MacBook release.

Earlier this year, the reports of Lenovo hybrid laptops not supporting Linux created a stir. Recently, the company fixed the issued by issuing a BIOS update to allow Linux installation on Yoga 900, 900S and IdeaPad 710. The update added an AHCI SATA controller mode to make the process easier.

In another event of similar nature, a Reddit user hot2 has warned the potential Apple MacBook Pro buyers. He has shared a post titled “Warning: 2016 MacBook Pro is not compatible with Linux”.


In the post, the user reports that the built-in mouse and keyboard aren’t working. This is because the input devices in MacBook Pro 2016 are on SPI, not USB. Similar problems have been reported in the past in case of MacBook’s older models (Bug 108331,Bug 99891).

Also, for Linux to boot, intremap=nosid is needed. Another big issue reported by the user is the wrong PCI class ID of the NVMe SSD that doesn’t allow it to work as a boot drive.

On the same device, Windows is expected to work fine as it provides drivers for some of the above-mentioned issues. In other words, one can also say that “Linux is incompatible with Apple’s latest MacBook Pro”.

“The internal drive does not show up in the Ubuntu installer at all. It’s basically unusable as a Linux laptop. I have a $2800 disappointment,” Redditor adds.

The same thread has been shared on Hacker News, where it has gained lots of attraction. While some users are blaming Apple for “deliberately going for proprietariness (SPI, not USB) as a sort of vendor-lock-in”, some have said that “it’s not Apple’s job to make their laptop compatible with Linux.”

While it might seem surprising to the users who are new to the Linux world, Apple has custom hardware and the open source community has been actively reverse engineering the drivers since a long time. I guess the Linux enthusiasts will have to wait for a little more before Linux kernel contributors fix these issues.

Become a part of the discussion here on Reddit and Hacker News.

Don’t forget to drop your experiences with Linux on MacBook in the comments section below.

Also Read: Surprise! This Is Apple’s First “iPhone” Prototype From 1983

Adarsh Verma

Adarsh Verma

Fossbytes co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email — [email protected]
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