Installing Ubuntu 15.10 - Wily Werewolf on a Macbook Pro 12-1 (2015)

This page is about installing Ubuntu 15.10 - Wily Werewolf on a MacBookPro 12,1 (2015), a 13-inch Mac laptop released in 2015 (early), which has a retina display, solid-state drive, and is based on Broadwell Intel CPU and Intel integrated graphics.

Significant parts of this guide are derived from the previous installation guide.

This guide only contains parts that are relevant for Ubuntu 15.10.


Creating a bootable USB-Stick

Prepare an USB-Stick with a livecd desktop version of Ubuntu 15.10 (pre-release), detailed instructions are available here Create a usb stick on mac osx

This guide assumes that you want to keep an OS X partition. Therefore we start with resizing the existing OS X partition using diskutil. You may have to boot into recovery mode (Press Cmd+R during start of the boot process) in order to make it work. Resize your OS X partition so that at least 20 GB of free space or more remain, depending on your needs.

Booting Ubuntu from the USB-Stick

Insert the USB-Stick, reboot your Mac and immediately press the alt key to bring up the bootdisk selection. Choose the USB-Stick. Once the live version is up and running you may want to adjust the display settings and configure an appropriate scaling setting to make everything more readable on the retina display.

System Settings --> Display --> Scale for menu and title bars: 1.50

You may also want to enable natural scrolling as the default behavior feels wrong when you're used to OS X.

System Settings --> Mouse & Touchpad --> scrolling

1. Installation

Now start the graphical installation.

Choose a partition layout that suits your needs. If you don't know what you're doing, go for 1 ext4 partition with mount point / and 1 partition as linux swap, roughly 1.5x the size of your RAM. Be careful to not erase the whole drive if you want to keep your existing OS X installation.

Once the installation is finished DO NOT REBOOT, yet. (If you did, boot from the USB-Stick again and proceed as below)

1.1. Setting up efibootmgr

We will be using efibootmgr here as it is extremly lightweight and doesn't break your OS X installation. System updates on the OS X side are working with this setup as of Jan 2015.

Open the terminal again to configure efibootmgr:

sudo apt-get install efibootmgr
sudo efibootmgr

Displays your current setup which should point to your mac partition (BootOrder 0080) which we want to change so that grub is launched by default

sudo efibootmgr -o 0000,0080

Make sure that BootOrder is now BootOrder 0000,0080 otherwise you'll not be able to boot OS X from grub (Note: You can still boot to OS X by holding down the alt key during the very beginning of the startup and then select the EFI partition)

Now reboot your machine into the newly installed 15.10

2. Configuration

2.1 Display optimization

As already done with the livecd, adjust the scaling setting to your needs. Be careful with changing font-sizes etc. it can easily mess up your system. If scaling only is good enough for you this is likely the most efficient way.

System Settings --> Display --> Scale for menu and title bars: 1.50

2.2 Grub tuning

By default grub is in hidden mode which we are going to change

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

Comment out every line that starts with GRUB HIDDEN


Change anything else you'd like to have different and save. Then update grub.

sudo update-grub

2.2.1 Fixing small grub fonts

On the command line execute the following:

sudo grub-mkfont -s 36 -o /boot/grub/DejaVuSansMono.pf2 /usr/share/fonts/truetype/dejavu/DejaVuSansMono.ttf

Open and edit again /etc/default/grub and add the following line at the bottom:


Update grub again and after the next boot you have a nice readable grub startup screen.

2.3 System upgrade

Time for a system upgrade

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

2.4 Setting up Power Management

For better battery life and power management we're going to install powertop and TLP.

Install powertop

sudo apt-get install powertop
sudo powertop --calibrate

Make sure powertop with --auto-tune is executed during startup

sudo nano /etc/rc.local
powertop --auto-tune

Install tlp

sudo apt-get install tlp
sudo tlp start

2.5 Keyboard Layout (for proper ~`)

Disable hardcoded ISO-layout:

sudo su -
echo "options hid-apple iso_layout=0" > /etc/modprobe.d/hid-apple.conf

3 Periferals

3.1 USB Super Drive

In oder to get it working, we need to awake the drive from its deep slumber by sending a “magic” byte sequence after the drive was connected. Thanks to Christian Moser

Install the packages.

sudo apt-get install sg3-utils

Create a custom udev rule to automatically send the magic bytes when the superdrive is connected.

cat > /etc/udev/rules.d/99-local.rules <<EOF
# Initialise Apple SuperDrive
ACTION=="add", ATTRS{idProduct}=="1500", ATTRS{idVendor}=="05ac", DRIVERS=="usb", RUN+="/usr/bin/sg_raw /dev/$kernel EA 00 00 00 00 00 01"

That should leave you with pretty basic, working installation of Ubuntu from which on you can continue according to your preferences.

Remaining issues and optimization potential

Useful links and resources

Sources and resources

MacBookPro12-1/Wily (last edited 2015-11-09 01:32:45 by 191-17-99-108)