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Installing Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on 2011 MacBook Air

My laptop is a 2011 MacBook Air. I’m not a huge Apple fan, it’s just that at the time it had the most interesting hardware features compared to similar laptops. And it’s quite sturdy, so that’s nice.

Over the years I have experimented with installing Linux in parallel to the OS X operating system, but in the end I settled on installing my favorite Linux tools inside OS X using Homebrew, because having two different operating systems on one laptop was Too Much Effortβ„’. In recent times Apple has decided, in it’s infinite wisdom (no sarcasm at all *cough*), that it will no longer provide operating system upgrades for older hardware. Okay, then. Lately the laptop had become slow as molasses anyway, so I decided to replace OS X entirely with Ubuntu. No more half measures! I chose 20.04 LTS for the laptop because reasons. πŸ™‚

The laptop was really slow…

According to the Ubuntu Community Help Wiki, all hardware should be supported, except Thunderbolt. I don’t use anything Thunderbolt, so that’s OK for me. The installation was pretty straightforward: I just created a bootable USB stick and powered on the Mac with the Option/Alt (βŒ₯) key pressed. Choose EFI Boot in the Startup Manager, and from there on it’s all a typical Ubuntu installation.

Startup Manager

I did not bother with any of the customizations described on the Ubuntu Wiki, because everything worked straight out of the box, and besides, the wiki is terribly outdated anyway.

The end result? I now have a laptop that feels snappy again, and that still gets updates for the operating system and the installed applications. And it’s my familiar Linux. What’s next? I’m thinking about using Ansible to configure the laptop.

To finish, I want to show you my sticker collection on the laptop. There’s still room for a lot more!

sticker collection on my laptop. Photo copyright: me.

3 thoughts on “Installing Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on 2011 MacBook Air”

  1. Just a comment to let you know that I installed it on a 2011 MacBook Air. I connected it to a Thunderbolt display, and It Just Works ™!

    Now I need to have a look at the key mapping, because I could not comment on this post earlier, because I could not find the @ on said MacBook Air. πŸ™‚

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  3. I know it has been a while… did you update to the latest ubuntu, and did it go okay? And – my brother has a 2011 and wants to run Linux on it – is the touch pad a bit herky jerky for you? He reports it is on his, almost to the point of not being very usable compared to Mac OS. I ran into this with my MacBook Pros and installed the alternate driver, synaptics, to take care of that. And it seemed to for the most part. Would be interested in your experiences w/ the touch pad. It kind of “sticks” or suddenly stops if being moved about a lot.

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