Fedora 23 on a Macbook Pro

Posted on April 20, 2016 in fedora, mac, linux

I love my Macbook Pro and have for many years. Despite it being 3-years-old it still works like new and I'm happy I spent the extra money to upgrade the processor and RAM to an i7 3GHz and 8GB, respectively.

Over time however, the OS X platform has seriously degraded. El Capitain has been an absolutely disaster for me in terms of usability as I often had problems connecting/disconnecting external monitors, network issues when switching between access points, and mandatory updates that would bug me to no end in the middle of the night. All of these minor issues combined turned into an absolute nightmare whenever I traveled from my workplace to home or went from my laptop's dock to my lap, the thing Mac has been famous for all these years suddenly stopped being true; my laptop didn't "just work" anymore.

Fedora vs. *nix

I don't care what people think about my OS of choice, I think Fedora is a fine operating system and I'm going to leave it at that.

Installing

Installation is quite easy. Simply download the Fedora Live USB and install it on an available flash drive. Plug it in, reboot while holding option and you're good to go. The Live USB makes installing Fedora a breeze. I chose to simply wipe my entire "Macintosh HD" disk and start from scratch (always always always make a backup.)

After installation, the Macbook Pro will reboot and you'll be able to select Fedora as your boot target.

Configuring

Here's where things became a little tricky. Out of the box, Fedora doesn't install drivers for Wi-Fi, so you'll need a way to connect to the internet via USB --> Ethernet or Thunderbolt --> Ethernet adapter.

Once a network connection is established, you can begin setting up your desired packages.

i3

I'm not really a fan of Gnome (I did just uninstall OS X, I'm not looking for the same experience) so I choose i3-gaps as my primary Desktop instead. i3 was surprisingly easy to setup and configure. At the moment I only have a few custom settings in my ~/.i3/config file.

# i3-gaps
for_window [class="^.*"] border pixel 0
gaps inner 10 
gaps outer 5 
smart_borders on

# Background
exec --no-startup-id nitrogen --restore

# Volume Controls
bindsym XF86AudioRaiseVolume exec amixer -q set Master 5%+ unmute
bindsym XF86AudioLowerVolume exec amixer -q set Master 5%- unmute
bindsym XF86AudioMute exec amixer -q set Master toggle

Since i3 is "tile manager" and not a true desktop (e.g. you cannot resize windows), it's beneficial to customize settings such as "gap" that define space between windows. I also have bindings for the MBP volume buttons that function as normal.

Lemonbar

In addition to i3-gaps, I've also experimented with Lemonbar which is a lot better than the standard status bar that i3 provides. At the moment it's nothing special but I'm hoping to extend it so I get the weather, computer stats, workspaces, and tray notifications.

Screenshots

Enough talk, I'm pretty proud of this setup so here are some screen grabs.

Working on a side-project

The black bars are the top of my monitors, it looks really nice on a vertical + horizontal setup.

Obligatory screenfetch

Thomas Lackemann :)

About

Tom is the founder of Astral TableTop. He's a homebrewer, hiker, and has an about page. Follow @tlackemann on Twitter for more discussions like this.

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