Daily Log - 29th August 2020

Today’s experiment: Running Ubuntu on MacBook Pro and evaluating its performance.

I referred to this article that had reference to a readymade Live CD ISO for Ubuntu 20.04 for Apple MacBooks. I was pretty surprised that it “just worked” in the booting aspect; it booted and gave me a nice desktop environment to use; and the touch bar, keyboard and trackpad worked out of the box. However there was no WiFi, and I followed the steps given in the link to get it to work, but I wasn’t able to. In the end I used a USB Ethernet dongle, I conducted the Linux kernel compilation experiment using the live environment to see if it was worth installing Ubuntu on my laptop at all, and the answer was no. Linux under macOS in Parallels performed better than native Linux on the MBP in the kernel compilation experiment, and I suspect it’s because of I/O performance as well. But I was glad to see Linux support on MacBooks come this far and consider it pretty impressive given how things are closing fast post the T2 chip introduction, and appreciate the reverse engineering efforts the folks are putting in this project. When Apple Silicon comes along, I wonder how things will be.

Result: I’m sticking to Ubuntu inside Parallels for my build.