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 Forum index » Taking the Puppy out for a walk » Misc
Fresh Apples for the New Puppies
Moderators: Flash, JohnMurga
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Joined: 24 Aug 2009
Posts: 3108

PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb 2016, 01:18    Post subject:  Fresh Apples for the New Puppies
Subject description: a.k.a. Testing 3 newer puppies on a 2015 MacBook Pro

As the title says ( Rolling Eyes ) this is about a modern Mac (MacBook Pro 15" retina display) and 3 modern x64 “Puppies” (sorry JB), Fatdog-702rc2, Slacko64- and Tahr64-6.0.5.
Was triggered by a couple of excellent posts by icake and the fact that over the WE I was sick enough to be home-bound but not enough to lose all brain function Razz

Note: This is NOT a guide. Is mostly for reference and so I can remember them latter.

I could boot this MacBook with FatDog using a usb2 stick and Teg Dog’s EFI booting utility with the ISO, but it was painfully slow (particularly for a machine that takes 10sec from cold boot to browser connection). So triggered by Can Bike OS I decided to go with my “rescue” 64GB usb3 SanDisk extreme stick and the rEFInd boot utility.

The stick has 4 partitions. A vfat EFI file system partition. Two HFS+ partitions for OSX and OSX-repair, and one 30GB exFat partition.
The last was a mistake as Linux is not handling exFat very gracefully, so I went with vfat instead and stomached the 4GB file limit.

The stick itself was a challenge for FatDog as half (or more) of the times was unmounted after boot and was not remounted again unless you remove and re-insert it.
As a result most of the times I was booting a fresh FD without a savefile Rolling Eyes.
(Latter: I have found a "solution" to this. During the 15sec waitdev period I remove and reinsert the stick Shocked and is detected every time!
Even Latter: Got a real solution. Change to kernel 4.3.3 Very Happy )
Puppies had their own issues with the specific stick setup but after fixing them, never had problems with the stick.
I did try many different boot arguments for FD but to no improvement. Below are my current relevant entries from refind.conf
menuentry FatDog {
    icon EFI/BOOT/icons/fatdog.png
    volume FAT
    loader /FatDog/vmlinuz
    initrd /FatDog/initrd
    options "pkeys=bbig rootfstype=ramfs waitdev=15 video=displayport:2880x1800 savefile=device:uuid:78C2-170A:/FatDog/fd64save_702.ext4"
#   disabled

menuentry Slacko64 {
    icon EFI/BOOT/icons/slacko96.png
    volume FAT
    loader /Slacko64/vmlinuz
    initrd /Slacko64/initrd.gz
    options "pmedia=usbflash psubdir=Slacko64 pdev1=sdb4"
#   disabled

menuentry Tahr64 {
    icon EFI/BOOT/icons/tahr96.png
    volume FAT
    loader /Tahr64/vmlinuz
    initrd /Tahr64/initrd.gz
    options "pmedia=usbflash psubdir=Tahr64 pdev1=sdb4"
#   disabled

After managing the usb stick, FD was the best with hardware support. Sound and WiFi worked fine.
In contrast neither Slacko nor Tahr could use the WiFi (also after updating to the latest FW) as the broadcom b43 driver does not work.
The alternative wl driver used in FD is not available for these kernels (something must be done about it. Later: is done now Very Happy ).
Slacko also failed with sound (Latter: solved using this MSCW) while Tahr failed with the touchpad as flSynclient could not be run.
BTW flSynclient is doing a poor job with the Mac touchpad in the other 2, but is better than nothing.
Tahr also had a serious issue starting X as ddcprobe hangs and “freezes” the machine (also true for Slacko64-6.3.0 but not the “auto X” Slacko64-
This is now circumvented till a better ddcprobe comes along (installing the distro-specific packages does not change things).

Coming to the high resolution display and the GUI, all 3 looked ideal for seriously short-sighted persons Very Happy.
However, thanks to Zigbert’s work with pTheme (touch themes) and JWM configuration, slacko was the easiest to adapt for "normal vision".
Tahr and FatDog were equally difficult to improve as they require many changes and a lot of things do not scale nicely, but the intel video driver in Tahr works perfectly so is easy to change the resolution from 2880x1800 to 1680x1050 and then everything looks OK without any further changes.
(Latter: zafry was freezing on FD but setting resolution to 1680x1050 with xrandr and then just openning zafry to save the settings makes it easy to have acceptable sizes in FD too. Slacko although uses the same intel driver as FD and Tahr does not provide any wide screen resolution. I guess it can not get correct screen geometry.)
Of course when it comes to GUI and Macs, comparisons are hard…

Coming to performance, with quad-core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM and SSD HD, any differences are only theoretical. FD is a bit slower to boot but that's because of reading end expanding the initrd mostly, and is minor anyway (maybe a handful of seconds in a minute process)
However, all 3 suffer from severe acpi interrupts triggering from kworker and unless you disable them in rc.local or elsewhere, they can hammer your machine and fry your CPUs. Tahr looked a bit worse than the others but the CPU temp monitor was a pretty handy warning sign.

If you plan to use any of these "puppies" as a rescue OS, it is not a good idea as the linux kernel can not handle well the journaled HFS+ file system that Macs use. If at all, mounts them read-only so at least you do not risk any chance to damage them. Use an OS X specific approach for rescue, instead.

Bottom line for this hardware (for me at least): Was nice that a couple of bugs (that can also affect other setups) were fixed, but if you have a recent Mac stick with OS X and use a VM to run puppies or anything else you want.
However, hardware with this kind of specs will become more cheep and thus common in the near future, so this may be a warning bell.

That’s it! I'm feeling better now.( Shocked )

== Here is how to solve your Linux problems fast ==
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