MacBook Pro Revision 3,1 Ubuntu Hardy Heron Issues

I finally gathered the courage to install Ubuntu 8.04 on my MacBook Pro as I’ve been having quite a taste of it’s beta through VMware Fusion. I am really pleased with this distribution after having installed it and fixing quite a few trivial issues by looking at a hundred websites.

I had installed Linux on my regular desktop almost a year back and had stopped using it when the WG311 wireless card failed to work. But I had seen that the MacBook Pro hardware was perfectly compatible with Ubuntu with a minor tweaks in configuration.

So I first installed the refit EFI Boot Loader, grabbed it from sourceforge.

Then I downloaded the x64 Ubuntu disk and copied the disk image on a temporary partition on my hard disk. Booting from the temporary partition I installed Ubuntu. After that I had a working copy of Ubuntu with everything but the 8600M GT graphic card and Atheros 5424(recognised in Linux as 5418) functioning well. Both these devices had the drivers missing, so that was only a minor issue.

I downloaded the recommended revision 3403 of MadWiFi from and tried to install it, but it failed because I had not installed the build-essential package.

I used:

sudo apt-get install build-essential

which by default tries to grab the build-essential package from the ubuntu website, but for some unknown reason it just isn’t present right now. So after a little meddling around I used the following commands: sudo apt-cdrom add sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install build-essential

After that everything went like a breeze.

To get the wireless working I downloaded and extracted madwifi r3403 from subversion into a temporary folder and from there executed: make sudo make install sudo sed -i~ ’s/^exit 0/modprobe ath_pcinexit 0/’ /etc/rc.local sudo sed -i~ ’s/^exit 0/modprobe wlan_scan_stanexit 0/’ /etc/rc.local sudo sed -i~ ’s/^exit 0/iwpriv ath0 bgscan 0nexit 0/’ /etc/rc.local That done, restart your computer, select your network and enjoy browsing.

Just select System -> Preferences -> Appearance - Desktop Effects. Try enabling them and you will automatically be prompted to install the graphic card drivers from the internet. Download, install and restart to have a really aesthetically pleasing desktop. It’s the next best thing to OS X.

Of course, you need to make changes in the etcx11 folder to get your trackpad gestures working but that isn’t going to be much of a problem if you follow the guide at I would like to point out that the MBP 3,1 doesn’t use the Broadcom chipset like the guide tries to tell us. On looking at the system profiler, I saw that it is an Atheros 5324 chipset.