MacBook 5,1 and Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty)

This page aims to describe the steps needed, to fully enable all features of the 1st Generation MacBook Unibody (release date: late 2008).

IconsPage/terminal.png You can find out, what model you have by typing at the terminal:

sudo dmidecode -s system-product-name
  • If you have a different model, please go here and find the right wiki.

You can find the Ubuntu 14.04 desktop image here: Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) Daily Build. Just pick the regular 64bit build (not the Mac version). The only difference is that EFI is disabled in the Mac version (Source, answer #2) but it works fine.


Anything not mentioned here probably already works out of the box. If not, please refer to the Ubuntu Apple Users forum.

  • Feature

    Support status

    Wireless (AirPort)

    IconsPage/ok.png IconsPage/info.png

    Desktop Effects (Unity)

    IconsPage/ok.png IconsPage/info.png

    Touchpad (appletouch)


    Keyboard functions (Brightness,volume,...)

    IconsPage/ok.png IconsPage/info.png


    IconsPage/ok.png IconsPage/info.png



    Suspend & Hibernate


    CD/DVD Writing




    External Monitor




    Apple Remote Control


IconsPage/ok.png (works out-of-the-box)
IconsPage/ok.png IconsPage/info.png (works, with remarks)
IconsPage/warning.png (needs manual install)
IconsPage/dont.png (won't work)
IconsPage/question.png (not yet documented)

Basic Installation Instructions

Common things about installing and maintaining Ubuntu on Intel-based Macs: Intel CPU-based Macintosh Generic Installation Instructions.

You can also completely erase MacOS.

When doing a MacOS replacement install: To decrease booting time do the following after you have installed Ubuntu: restart and hold the alt/option-key. Press enter while holding the control-button. This will decrease the time for the initial "lit-screen" from about 45 to 12 second.

If you chose to encrypt your home folder check if your swap got set up correctly after installation. You can do that via the "System Monitor" under "Ressources" or by typing swapon -s in a console. If it does not show up proceed in the Swap-section.

Encrypted Swap

If you have enabled home folder encryption and your swap does not come up (you can check via swapon -s) do the following:

1. Clean up non working swap entries: Open /etc/fstab delete the line containing /dev/mapper/cryptswap1. Open /etc/crypttab delete all content. 2. Reinstall swap:

sudo mkswap /dev/[drive for your swap]
sudo swapon -U [the UUID that just got printed]
sudo ecryptfs-setup-swap

Wireless (AirPort)

You need to check "Third-Party"-Software while installing or do the following afterwards: Open and choose Broadcom STA in:

  • System -> Administration -> Additional Drivers

Nvidia drivers

If you want to enable proprietary graphic drivers you can do that here.

  • System Settings -> Software & Updates -> Additional Drivers

Tested: "Experimental NVIDIA ... from nvidia-experimental-310 (proprietary)"
After installing 310 you have to follow these steps to get you brightness-control-keys to work again: Brightness control not working- Ubuntu 12.04 LTS - Macbook pro 5,5.

Note: You can disable the Nvidia branding this way: disable nvidia splash screen.

Keyboard functions (Brightness,volume,...)

When using nvidia drivers, do the following to enable the brightness keys: Fix brightness control.


If you get the impression that you Mac runs hotter than usual (as I did), then add the Mactel PPA repository by doing the following. It will start your fan sooner.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mactel-support

You can uninstall/reinstall it anytime and should hear the effect immediately.

sudo apt-get update && \
sudo apt-get install macfanctld 

If you get an error while running update it means you have to edit the contents of the following file and replace "trusty" with "raring":

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mactel-support-ppa-trusty.list

Note: You can observe CPU temperature with this tool:


Left-click, right-click (two finger-)use and basic trackpad work out of the box.

You can enable Natural Scroll here:

  • System Settings -> Mouse & Touchpad

MacBook5-1/Trusty (last edited 2014-08-02 12:09:18 by 109)