Installing Linux Mint 17.1 “Rebecca” (based on Ubuntu 14.04) on a 2008 Macbook 4,1

Nice clickbait title eh?

So I’m trying to get Linux Mint 17.1 “Rebecca” fully, really working on a 2008 Macbook 4,1. Fully working means webcam support (touchpads in another post maybe). It turns out that other drivers (2014) for other Apple bits existed as well, now in various states (2012) of possible abandonment (2006). Oh, and as we all know, Linux Mint 17 is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS which are important keywords too.

iSight webcam and AppleUSBVideoSupport firmware

The iSight webcam doesn’t work because of AppleUSBVideoSupport.kext being a binary blob that I don’t have. When I install the isight-firmware-tools package (now helpfully a part of Ubuntu / Mint 17, I think) it asks for the firmware file for the iSight webcam on the Macbook.

Dear reader, maybe you’re missing AppleUSBVideoSupport.kext as mentioned in all those other posts you found, or maybe you found it and you need the file size and hash to sorta-verify that the NSA didn’t mess with it. People won’t host it because of the chilling effect of Copyright Fear due to it being a proprietary Apple firmware blob, so best of luck.

Well I found two AppleUSBVideoSupport files (people often post it without the .kext):

  • One is 86744 bytes, found at two locations online, with ‘shasum’ b69f49d3fa6858416324c390effe14336a1ddb0b
  • One is 86712 bytes, found at one location online, with ‘shasum’ 01e291d529e7c18deea2eba252d18114e096276e, its ‘md5sum’ MD5 hash was mentioned online (in 2007) as 8b78709d02d3584f40cc041db9eecfe8.
  • Two others are mentioned online (in 2006): “Leopard” (OS X 10.5) with shasum of a14c159b176d27a6e98dcb5dea5d78b81e15ad41; and unpedigreed firmware with shasum 86430c04f9b67c5c3d84409138a7679827025ec2. I did not find these files online.

I have no idea if any of these files are legitimate but one I found at two download links, another I found at only one. I would appreciate somebody checking the shasum of their latest OS X 10.4 or 10.5 (these are the last two rumored to work as a binary blob on Ubuntu systems). It can be found at /System/Library/Extensions/IOUSBFamily.kext/Contents/Plugins/AppleUSBVideoSupport.kext/Contents/MacOS/ from what I hear.

Comments are open.

Everything Else

Every other driver for Apple computers running Ubuntu or Linux Mint which is mentioned here (last edited 2009 at this writing) appears abandoned (2012) except for these fan and boot (?) drivers (2014).

Edit: ‘macfanctld’ appears to be part of Ubuntu and/or Mint now, so I would strongly recommend doing an ‘apt-get install macfanctld’ and setting the minimums to something sane. Note that it’s buggy on many systems and may not actually adjust fan speed or sense it correctly, so you might just need to set the minimum fan speed to something that will keep your system from crashing.

I’d happily be corrected in these statements. I’ll update the post if I find out something new or receive something in comments. Thanks LazyWeb.


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