Debian Wheezy on a MacBook Pro 8,1

Some notes on running Debian Testing (‘Wheezey’) on the aluminium MacBook Pro that Aunty has been kind enough to furnish me with.

It’s the 8,1 model and runs pretty well with Wheezy’s 64 bit 3.2 Kernel, installation was standard and is well documented elsewhere on the web; i’m running it dual-boot with OSX using rEFIt to select the OS at boot time. The only real tweaks I’ve had to do so far are for the wifi, suspend and the sound.


The wifi chipset is Broadcom as with most of these recent MacBooks, so with the 3.2 kernel it’s just a matter of fetching the proprietary firmware:

  1. add the contrib and non-free repos to your /etc/apt/sources.list:
    deb wheezy contrib
    deb wheezy non-free

    (then run an apt-get update)

  2. get the firmware extractor:
    sudo apt-get install b43-fwcutter
  3. get the firmware:
  4. unzip it and pop it in the right place:
    sudo b43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware/ broadcom-wl-5.100.138/linux/wl_apsta.o
  5. reboot – wifi should be up and running

no wifi after suspend

I found the wifi worked well with the b43 driver but i found it wouldn’t come back after a suspend, eg shutting the lid. Googling this a bit it seems the b43 driver needs unloading on suspend; to achieve this create/edit a file in /etc/pm/config.d/config and add SUSPEND_MODULES=”b43″, worked for me.

no sound

Sound seemed to be up and running, even had OSD with the volume keys which was a surprise, but I couldn’t hear anything. Gnome 3 is a bit light on config options in the GUI, but by running alsamixer from a shell I was able to see that the speakers were muted, easy enough to fix.

no flash in google-chrome

If like me you prefer Google Chrome to Chromium you may find Flash is broken in the 64-bit deb that Google provides. There are various ways to sort this but I followed the guide here which worked a treat.

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