MacBook Pro 5,3 and Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx)

This page aims to describe the steps needed, to fully enable all features of the 15.4 inch 5-th Generation MacBookPro Aluminium (Unibody) (release date: June 2009) when using Ubuntu 10.04, Lucid Lynx.

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.


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

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


Rebooting and Shutdown seems to work fine.

CD/DVD Writing

Both writing and reading work fine.

Video & Effects (Compiz)

You should use the restricted driver, install from: System -> Administration -> Hardware Drivers. Select the NVidia graphics driver that says recommended and Activate. Reboot to apply the change.


Confirmed working out of the box:

  • Detection of devices
  • Sending files to devices (OBEX push)
  • Bluetooth Mouse
  • Bluetooth Keyboard

Wireless (AirPort)

IconsPage/restricted.png The Broadcom driver was not installed by default on Lucid. You'll need the STA one, goto "System->Administration->Hardware Drivers" and enable it. If you prefer the command line, execute on the Terminal:

sudo apt-get install bcmwl-kernel-source

Then reboot the system and you're OK.




Sound hardware is functional out of the box, but you need to make some adjustments. It's easiest to use gnome-alsamixer for these. Install the package:

  sudo apt-get install gnome-alsamixer

Start the mixer from menu Applications -> Sound and Video -> Gnome ALSA Mixer. Uncheck the "Mute" box next to the front speaker settings and also move their slider to maximum. If you want to enable the optical output you need to check the IEC958 option; you'll see a red light coming from your headphone jack.

(You can also use alsamixer in a Terminal instead of gnome-alsamixer. It is installed by default).

Touchpad (appletouch)

You can enable two-finger scrolling from the preference->mouse->touchpad applet.

The shipped driver does not allow click-and-drag which I find frustrating. The next lines will install an experimental version that adds such feature:

sudo apt-get install dkms
sudo dpkg -i bcm5974-dkms_1.1.4_all_test.deb
sudo modprobe -r bcm5974
sudo modprobe bcm5974


(partial copy from 5.4 after verified the same in 5.3)

The touchpad reacts to taps (even very light ones) which can be annoying. Similarly annoying is the fact that the touchpad does not register finger movement when the thumb rests on the lower part of the touchpad (i.e., where a "normal" touchpad would have buttons).

These finer points could be adjusted by a HAL policy file in previous Ubuntu versions. However, 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) removes HAL. I have not played with the new (udev) way to adjust the settings yet, but there is some information in a blueprint, its linked wiki page and a blog post linked from there.

External Monitor

If you are using the restricted NVidia driver (see video & compiz section):

You have to use the "NVidia X server settings" utilitly to activate the external monitor and change resolution, placement etc.

The tool works out of the box, it's easy to use and doesn't need restarting the X session.

However it doesn't automatically detect the monitor when you plug it in, as on macosx. If you want that automatic behavior you might consider . Currently for advanced users only.

Function Keys


Works out of the box. You will need to increase the microphone input volume:

  • System > Preferences > Sound > Input

Apple Remote Control

It Works with Remarks. Volume control works. Forward and back works (even on Mozilla Firefox). Menu has no action. Pause/Play not tested.

You have to install gnome-lirc-properties:

sudo apt-get install gnome-lirc-properties

gnome-lirc-properties will give you an entry "Infrared Remote Control" in menu System > Administration. After launching this it will guide you through the configuration.


Works out of the box.


Please update this page, if you have figured out anything, that is not mentioned here!

The MactelSupportTeam is about to restructure and reorganize the documentation for Intel-based Macs. If you are interested in helping, please visit our team page for information. For all Mactel wikis, there is a starting place here. There is also a thread about planning the Mactel docummentation going on.

MacBook5-3/Lucid (last edited 2013-12-14 10:08:58 by knome)