Category Archives: os x

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.

Installing the Heroku Toolbelt on a PowerPC Mac running OS X

So you’re still using a PowerPC Mac, and you need to deploy some stuff on Heroku. (Yes, that combination of traits exists, I’m living proof.) Tigerbrew is a lovely PowerPC port of Homebrew for OS X (and it mostly works on Leopard, despite the name). PPC holdouts cannot thank Misty De Meo enough for all her work on it, but as of this writing, heroku-toolbelt doesn’t work out of the box.

Actually, because of this writing and because of Misty De Meo’s awesome bug-squashing prowess, this now does work out of the box, and automatically compiles the necessary version of Ruby for you as well; be prepared for a long wait while it builds, at least on slower Macs, but it works!

Here’s how to install heroku-toolbelt on your old PPC Mac running OS X 10.4 or 10.5.  You will need to be comfortable with the terminal, of course.

The build infrastructure

This post assumes that you are familiar with Homebrew and that you can get Tigerbrew installed on your Mac on your own.  It’s not too bad.

Install heroku-toolbelt

$ brew update     # do not skip this esp in Tigerbrew
$ brew install heroku-toolbelt

Sweet, after like 2 hours on a 1.25GHz G4, we’re done!  Run heroku and make sure that it prints some useful output, and not the following.

$ heroku
-bash: /usr/local/heroku/bin/heroku: /usr/local/heroku/ruby/bin/ruby: bad interpreter: Bad CPU type in executable

If the above does happen, you may have a rogue installation of heroku.  Do a which heroku, find it, and delicately delete it, then try again.

Product review: Clusters – seamless file system compression for OS X

First of all, I don’t say products are good if they’re not. I’m a picky cantankerous bastard.

That being said, this is less a product review than just a “buy this, people,” statement – much like I endlessly say about Crashplan, which if you don’t have, well, WTF, get it.

Way back when pterodactyls roamed the skies and OS X 10.6 was released, Apple added transparent compression to HFS+ file system. However, there was no easy way to turn it on. Enter Clusters, a (very fairly priced) payware app which does so, adds exclusion lists, only turns it on file-by-file when your system is idle, etc.

Anyway, I’ve been running it for like two years, all my disks are over 90% full, and it just happily (yet unobtrusively – thanks for that touch, LateNite) informed me that I am wringing an extra 362GB out of those drives due to its efforts.

Mac users, just go buy it if you have the slightest problem with running out of disk space on your internal drives.  (Obviously, don’t enable it on scratch disks for Final Cut, etc.)