Don't throw your old, slow MacBook in the trash. Extend its life with Linux mint.
Last year, I wrote an article about how to give new life to the old MacBook with Linux. In the example, I mentioned the elementary OS. Recently, I used back the MacBook Air around 2015 and found that I lost my login password. I downloaded the latest elemental OS 5.1.7 Hera, but couldn't get my Broadcom 4360 wireless chipset to boot in real time.
Recently, I've been using Linux mint to renovate old laptops. I want to try it on this MacBook Air. I downloaded Linux Mint 20.1 ISO and created a USB starter on my Linux desktop using popular.
Next, I connect the thunderbolt Ethernet adapter to the MacBook and plug in the USB starter. I turn on the system and press the option key on the MacBook to instruct it to boot the system from the USB drive.
Linux Mint has no problem starting in real-time boot mode, but the operating system does not recognize the wireless connection.
Where is my wireless network?
That's because Broadcom, the company that makes WiFi cards for Apple devices, doesn't release open source drivers. This is in sharp contrast to Intel, Atheros and many other chipmakers, but it's a chipset used by apple, so it's a common problem on MacBook.
I'm wired to Ethernet through my thunderbolt adapter, so I'm online. Through previous research, I know that to make the wireless adapter work on this MacBook, I need to execute three independent commands on the bash terminal. However, during the installation process, I learned that Linux Mint has a good built-in driver manager, which provides a simple graphical user interface to help install the software.
After that, I restarted the newly refurbished MacBook Air with Linux Mint 20.1. The Broadcom wireless adapter works so well that I can easily connect to my wireless network.
Manual installation of wireless
You can do the same from the terminal. First, clean up the remnants of the Broadcom kernel source code.
$ sudo apt-get purge bcmwl-kernel-source
Then add a firmware installation program:
$ sudo apt install firmware-b43-installer
Finally, install the new firmware for the system:
$ sudo apt install linux-firmware
Use Linux as your Mac
I installed the Phoronix test suite to get system information for the MacBook Air.
The system works well. The latest update to kernel 5.4.0-64-generic shows that the wireless connection still exists, and the connection between me and home network is 866mbps. Broadcom's FaceTime camera doesn't work, but everything else works.
I really like the Linux Mint cinnamon 20.1 desktop on this MacBook.
If you have an old MacBook that is slow and unusable due to MacOS updates, I suggest you try Linux mint. I'm very impressed with this release, especially how it works on my MacBook Air. It certainly extends the life of this powerful little laptop.
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Link to the original text:Linux China