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Ubuntu on my iMac

·2 mins

Long time readers will know of my attempts to get Ubuntu running on my iMac. Now that I’m working within the Ubuntu Engineering team at Canonical, I figured it would be a good time to try again.

Installing natively fails on 11.04 in the same way that it failed on 10.10: the installer sends output to the Mini DisplayPort rather than the actual screen. I don’t have an external monitor that I can hook up to the DisplayPort, so that’s pretty much that.

I can still run a VM, right? VirtualBox is pretty good, and I got me a running install of Ubuntu with the Unity shell without too much fuss. Problem comes with keyboard configuration. The literal keypresses Cmd+H and Cmd+Q are not passed through to the guest OS. With a Dvorak layout these become Cmd+D and Cmd+", and if one maps Cmd to Meta then you cannot easily kill-word in Emacs. That means for me to have a useful environment, I’d have to make do with Super and Meta swapped around from the usual PC layout.

VM Fusion doesn’t have this problem and has a nicer UI, but I can’t run Unity or compiz under it. This makes Ubuntu feel really old and clunky, and I’d rather not do that.

Parallels, well, at this point I’m running out of the will.

Think I’ll settle on VirtualBox for the time being.