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Bad Day (With a Macbook)

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Yesterday was a bad day for me and my Macbook:

I woke up in the morning earing some strange voices in my head saying “you shall install the latest Linux kernel on you macbook”. Went to my job, installed the latest Debian 2.6.24 Linux image, rebooted, and guess what: no wireless network.

Digging the situation, found that 2.6.24 comes with a new non-proprietary “ath5k” driver for the Macbook’s Broadcom. Unfortunately, it still does not work with PCI-e cards. Tried to revert to the “old” madwifi drivers and after the modprobe I get “could not wake up the MAC chip” yeah!

I thought: “let me install the latest bleeding edge git on this piece of carp”. Download the latest Linux git snapshot, used the same config file as the Debian kernel, make, make install, breakfast, reboot and BANG kernel panic at boot time.

Now comes the best part: my GRUB has a bug that makes it crash as soon as I hit a button on my keyboard. This meant I couldn’t select the old kernel to boot the machine!

Next try: boot with a Live CD to fix the grub problems. My beautiful white piece of crap has a nice optical drive that is unable to read anything on this world… Tried CD, DVD-R, DVD+R.. Stupid drive! Oh and every time I booted the Mac I had to hear the “BOOOOOOONG” sound out loud.. (it seems that you can only disable it on Mac OS) Imagine doing this dozens of times on a office environment; I made no friends today.

Finally booted with a Gentoo Live CD. Unfortunately, the latest stable version does not support correct reading of EFI/GPT partitions, so I couldn’t mount the /boot (first) partition (it needed some kind of offset). This meant I could not fix the Grub menu yeah :D

Another hour trying to boot with other live CDs.. I even tried booting through USB but it seems the this modern white piece of art does not know what it is. Suddenly, a Fedora 8 live DVD booted. I didn’t look back and installed it right away!

Almost everything worked out of the box. Just had to install the madwifi drivers separately, and it all went smoothly (except suspend, of course). Eventually I had a good afternoon of work with a stable system…

Bad day.. bad day…