Sunday, April 10, 2011

Installing Opensuse 11.4 on a Macbook Pro 5,3 (Mid 2009)

General note: this procedure will also work with newer types of MacBooks but you might need newer newer versions of several specific packages. (Like pommed and applesmc)
There is a build site which contains all the latest versions. I did not need them, everything worked with the included versions.

I decided to completely re-install the macbook with OSS 11.4 (and not to upgrade from 11.3) because I wanted to make some partition changes.

Since Gnome is my default desktop I downloaded the live-cd to give it a try but I ran into a problem. When booting, the screen went black after a few seconds and the machine stopped responding.
I found the solution here, you have to add the "nomodeset" option to the kernel when booting.

Example screenshot.

Note: When you boot from the installation DVD your system will boot but after first reboot you might experience the same problem so always add the parameter to the kernel options.

The next problem was that the mouse pad does not work during the installer so make sure that you connect another device to move that pointer!

Luckily, those were the only problems I encountered during the installation process. 

After the initial install you need to add some packages to enable all hardware:

Macbook keys/keyboard lightsTo make all the specific macbook keys work (and the keyboard lighting) make sure you install the "pommed" package and start it at boot. 

zypper in pommed
optional: edit the configuration in /etc/pommed.conf
chkconfig pommed on
service pommed start

BCM4322 Wireless
Add the "Packman" repository to your system.
zypper addrepo --repo
now install the Broadcom Wireless packages:
zypper in broadcom-wl broadcom-wl-kmp-desktop
After a reboot NetworkManager should show the wireless options enabled.

NVIDIA drivers
Use the single-click install here
This will add the correct repository and install the drivers.

Enable Synaptics mousepad features
I only enable horizontal and vertical scrolling.
To do this add the package gsynaptics and configure it.
zypper in gsybnaptics
Now go to gnome Control Center and you will have an extra option called "Touchpad"
Here you can enable several options.
Remember to use 3 fingers to simulate to scroll-wheel click



  1. Hey dude thanks!!!
    This article help me to install openSUSE on my macbook (white 7,1)

  2. I want to install OpenSUSE, thanks already to guide how to install.