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As a new user in the world of Apple computers and laptops, I am trying to understand better why it is a pain in the ass to boot a flavor of Linux using an Apple MacBook. I know from what I have seen that it is possible in older models, so I gave it a shot myself.

My setup is a MacBook Pro 13 inch 2020 and Ubuntu is installed on an external SSD.

So what I tried was disabling secure boot and allowing to boot from an external device. I was able to boot into Ubuntu, but soon had to deal with the keyboard and mouse not working. Luckily my external keyboard did work. I have tinkered around a bit more and couldn't find the problem of why the internal keyboard and mouse pad were not working. Is it a problem of not having drivers or packages or is the problem different.

My question is twofold:

If it's possible, what drivers or packages am I missing? If it is not possible, why exactly?

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  • How was Ubuntu installed on the external SSD? Have you tried making a bootable USB drive using the instructions on the Ubuntu website? Were you able to boot that? – Seamus Jun 8 '20 at 5:15
  • I first tried something myself (that failed of course), then I tried to follow the instructions on the Ubuntu website on both an external SSD and a USB drive. In the two latter cases, I could boot into ubuntu (try ubuntu), but no wifi (expected) but also no internal keyboard or trackpad. This was somewhat expected, but I cannot figure why exactly. – Ömer Jun 9 '20 at 11:58
  • I don't know what could cause this. I seem to recall during the setup or installation there was a screen for discovering the keyboard... a drop-down select, and a text box to type in. Did you see that? – Seamus Jun 9 '20 at 20:09
  • No, I did not see that option. I am going to try this again in a few weeks by starting over entirely. Maybe I will see that option then. – Ömer Jul 1 '20 at 11:32
  • I followed the same approach. It took me several tries, over a period of maybe two months, before I had any success. There are some good sources for installing Ubuntu on Mac hardware here, but I don't recall seeing one that uses an external drive. I posted some notes here on my dual-boot install - you might want to have a look. I believe your approach is do-able, but Apple systems are often a puzzle. Good luck. – Seamus Jul 1 '20 at 13:30
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There is a Ubuntu Live USB distribution called LivelyLinux that boots from Mac. It costs $29.99 and is available in two editions: Ubuntu 20.10 and Ubuntu 20.04.1.

It works on Macbook Pro 2016 with WiFi, touchpad, etc. Probably should work on later models as well.

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  • Sending people to Google isn't very helpful, please add a link to the distribution directly in your answer. – nohillside Nov 16 '20 at 14:44
  • I am not sure the assertion that it "Probably should work on laters models as well" is valid. LivelyLinux themselves point out that it may not work on work on newer apple hardware in their FAQ, and they do not indicate that they are modifying stock ubuntu in any way. – negacao Nov 16 '20 at 16:03

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