Ubuntu 15.10 on Macbook Air 7,1 2015 model

February 28, 2016 at 6:19 pm (Uncategorized)

There is comprehensive guide to installing to installing Ubuntu 14.xx distros on Early 2013 Macbook Airs (6.x and before) on the official Ubuntu wiki here.

I recently purchased a 2015 Macbook Air (7.1) which has some new hardware, and I ended up with a disturbed Ubuntu install even after following the wiki above. I spent a few days getting everything to work properly. Here are the problematic parts and the solution:

Wifi

sudo apt-get install bcmwl-kernel-source

You can use 3g from your phone through USB tethering to get internet connection for the above step, or use an ethernet adapter if you have one.

Graphics Driver

Download and install the Intel graphical driver installer from https://01.org/linuxgraphics/downloads/intel-graphics-installer-linux-1.4.0

Then reboot.

Screen brightness

It is a common problem for Ubuntu across Macbook Airs that after suspend and resume, the screen brightness gets locked to either 0% or 100%. You can not control screen brightness between these 2 values.

First edit /etc/default/grub to have this line:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet splash pci_aspm=force i915.i915_enable_fbc=1 acpi_backlight=native”

Then run:

update-grub

Then you need to build https://github.com/patjak/mba6x_bl from source

# git clone https://github.com/patjak/mba6x_bl
# cd mba6x_bl/ && make && make install

Make sure the module is loaded at boot time. E.g add "mba6x_bl" to /etc/modules
You also need to configure i915 to hand over the backlight control to mba6x_bl. I added this to my /etc/X11/xorg.conf:

Section "Device"
        Identifier      "Intel Graphics"
        Driver          "intel"
        Option          "Backlight"     "mba6x_backlight"
EndSection

Now reboot and you should have working brightness even after suspend/resume.

I did not find any other hardare related issues that is not mentioned on the official Ubuntu wikis.
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