Installing Ubuntu on a Macbook Air (late 2010, 3.1)

I was craving running Linux on the desktop again, and the netbook I had lying around did not have proper support for the graphics card. This resulted in Unity not being that smooth, and the LVMPIPE mode really sucked.

So, I did something “drastic” and removed Mac OS X and installed Ubuntu 13.04 instead.

The Macbook Air (late 2010) has a Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics card and there is proprietary drivers for it. However, these does not work in EFI mode and by default Ubuntu is installed in EFI mode. I read some guides on how to convert the GPT partition table before installing, men turned out that it was still a GPT partition table after the installation finished. Therefor I had to convert it after the installation, following these [] instructions. After converting to legacy BIOS, I installed the proprietary Nvidia drivers.

Other than the official tips in the Ubuntu community documentation [], I also made the following changes to get the keyboard to work as similar as in Mac OS X (Settings, Keyboard Layout, Options):

  • Win keys (and the usual ctrl): To use cmd + c/v to copy, paste etc.
  • Key to choose 3rd level, Any Alt key: to get /, | and \ to work like in Mac OS X

After installing the Linux version of Spotify, I wanted the multimedia buttons on the keyboard to control Spotify. I found the following information [] that Spotify had built in support for dbus, så it was just a matter of writing a small script:

#!/usr/bin/env bash
dbus-send --print-reply --dest=org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.spotify /org/mpris/MediaPlayer2 org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player.$1

Then you’d have to create keyboard shortcuts for Audio Play (argument “PlayPause”), Audio next (argument “Next”) and Audio previous (argument “Previous”) which would execute the script.

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