Dual OS on a 2015 MacBook pro
As the costs of Apple computers continue to skyrocket and the price of useable amounts of storage zoom past a neighboring galaxy (for a college student at least), I am always on on the hunt for cost effective solutions to house and process big projects and large data.
Pop OS (a neatly wrapped Ubuntu) is the in-house OS from System76. After looking through their catalog of incredible computers and servers, I thought it would be a good time to see how far I can go with an Ubuntu daily driver. Of course, there are many major and do-not-pass-go downsides- see the below list:
- Logic Pro X → There is no replacement 🙁 A killer DAW with fantastic AU libraries. I am versed with Reaper and Bitwig, but neither is as complete as Logic Pro. I will be evaluating POP with an installation of Reaper, but with so few plugins (I own very few third party sets) this is not a fair replacement.
- Adobe PS and LR: I do not like Adobe, but these programs are... ...kind of crucial for most project of mine that involve 2d, raster graphics. I continue to use Inkscape for many tasks, but it is irrelevant when it comes to pixel-based work and photo management / bulk operations.
- AutoCAD / Fusion 360 / Sketchup: I like FreeCAD a lot, but it is not at all like the other programs. Not worse or better, but these are all very different animals for different uses.
- Apple notes and other apple-y things: OSX is extremely refined. Inter-device solutions are superb. I have gotten myself used to Google Keep, but it is not quite at the in-house Apple level.
- XCode and IOS Simulator environments: I do use Expo, but frankly to make products for Apple you need a Mac.
Dual Boot (OSX and Pop Ubuntu) Installation on a 2015 MBP:
This process is quite simple, and only calls for a small handful of post-installation tweaks. My intent is to create a small sandbox with minimal use of “extras” (no extra boot managers or anything like that)
Partition separate “boot”, “home”, and other drives
- I am using a 256gb micro sd partitioned in half for OSX and Pop_OS (Sandisk extreme, “v3” speed rating version card via a BaseQi slot adapter)
Use the partition tool in Mac disk utility. Be sure to set these new partitions as FAT 32- we will be using ext4 and other more linux-y filesystems upon installation, so these need to be as generic as possible.
Use Etcher (recommended) or any other image burning tool to create a boot key for Pop.
The USB key only has one small job, in which Pop_os will be burned into a better location in your boot partition made in the previous step. If you are coming from a hackintosh experience, fear not: everything will stay in the Macbook Pro, not extra USB safety dongles or Kexts, or Plist mods…!
BOOT INTO POP_OS:
Restart your computer and hold down the alt-option Key. THIS IS HOW TO SWITCH from Pop_os, OSX, Bootcamp, and anything else you have in there. You should see an “efi” option next to the default OSX. (note- at least in my case, the built-in bootloader defaults to the last used OS at each restart.)
Once you are in the Pop_OS installer, click through and select the appropriate partitions when prompted. After this installation, you may remove the USB key and continue to select
“efi” in the bootloader.
ASSUMING ALL GOES WELL:
You are now in Pop_OS! Using the alt/option key will become second nature… but some Pop key mappings may not. Continue for a list of Macbook Pro - specific tweaks and notes.
Go to the Pop Shop and get the “Tweaks” tool. I made one or two small keymap changes, but this is likely personal preference.
Default, important Key Mappings:
Command will act as a “control center-ish” thing. It will not copy or paste anything for you.
Control does what Command did on OSX.
Terminal uses Control+Shift for copy and paste, but only in Terminal: if you pull a Control+Shift+C in Chrome, you will get the Dev tool GUI... The Shift key thing is needed unless you are inclined to root around and change it.
Custom Boot Scripts and Services:
In an effort to make things simple, I made a shell script to house the processes I want running when I turn on the computer- this is to streamline the “.service” making process. While it may only take marginally more time to make a new service, this way I can keep track of what is doing what from a file in my documents folder.
In terminal, go to where your services live if you want to look:
Or, cut to the chase:
sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/startsh.sh.service
Paste the following into this new file:
Description=Start at Open plz
Exit nano (saving as you go) and cd back to “/”.
sudo nano /Documents/startsh.sh
Paste the following (and any scripts you may want, see the one I have commented out for odrive CLI) into this new file:
# Uncomment the following if you want 24/7 odrive in your system
# otherwise do whatever you want
#nohup "$HOME/.odrive-agent/bin/odriveagent" > /dev/null 2>&1 &
After exiting the shell script, start it all up with the following:
sudo systemctl start startsh.sh
sudo systemctl enable startsh.sh
Cloud file management with Odrive CLI and Odrive Utilities:
Visit one of the two Odrive CLI pages- this one has linux in it:
Please visit this repo to get going with --recursive and other odrive utilities
These are the two commands I ended up putting in a markdown file on my desktop for easy access. Nope, not nearly as cool as it is on OSX. But it works…
Odrive sync: [-h] for help
python "$HOME/.odrive-agent/bin/odrive.py" sync
python "$HOME/odrive-utilities/odrivecli.py" sync --recursive
Next, Get Some Apps:
Download Chrome. Sign into Chrome to get your chrome OS apps loaded into the launcher- in my case, I needed Chrome remote desktop. DO NOT DOWNLOAD ADDITIONAL PACKAGES for Chrome Remote Desktop, if that is your thing. They will halt all system tools (disk utils, Gnome terminal, graphical file viewer… !!See this thread, it happened to me!! )
Get Atom editor: https://atom.io/
...Or my favorites: https://www.jetbrains.com/toolbox/app/
MySQL Workbench: https://dev.mysql.com/downloads/workbench/
If you get stuck: make sure you have tried installing as root ($ sudo su -) and verified passwords with ($ sudo mysql_secure_installation)
See here to start “rooting around” MySQL issues: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/50132282/problems-installing-mysql-in-ubuntu-18-04/50746032#50746032
Get some GIS tools:
sudo apt-get install qgis python-qgis qgis-plugin-grass
uGet for bulk USGS data download!
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:plushuang-tw/uget-stable
sudo apt install uget
That's all for now- Cheers!