In June and July 2021, I consolidated the data and upgraded the computers in the household. The data (images, Documents, audio and video files…)was spread across devices, external drives, and cloud storage.
While the computers could support the native operating system (e.g. Mac OS for MacBook Pro) I decided to zero in on the operating systems that would keep them chugging along. This post covers the operating systems I tested during the process. The data consolidation will be covered in a separate post.
Hardware and Software Upgrades to Laptops
I have three laptops and a Raspberry Pi that all got some updates or another.
- MacBook Pro Early 2015
- MacBook Pro Late 2012
- Coconics Enabler Laotop
- Raspberry Pi 4 Model B- 4 GB
Specifications for Macbook Pro Retina, late 2012
Installation of Linux Mint on Macbook Pro
Hardware and Software Upgrades
In addition to the above computers, I also changed the battery and doubled the Ram for my wife’s computer (Dell Inspiron 3000). I did try to persuade her to use Linux, even replaced the stock SSD drive that had Windows 10 with NVME that had Ubuntu Mate! But that did not go down as intended. My post below will therefore cover the above four devices only.
Hardware changes/ upgrades to computers
Below I have summarised the changes I made to the computers as they were purchased or acquired:
|Computer||Original Specs||Modifications||Operating System|
|Raspberry Pi4 Model B||See specifications||Updates to Bootloader, Boot via SSD drive on USB||Ubuntu Mate 20.04|
|Coconics Enabler||See OEM Specs||Kingston 480 GB SSD + 128 GB MicroSD Card. Boot via SSD, Home folder is the eMMC drive||Linux Mint 20.02 ‘Uma’, XFCE edition|
|MacBook Pro Retina Late 2012||Quad core i5, 8 GB DDR3 1600||Change SSD to 512 GB Name (planned)||MacOS Catalina|
|MacBook Pro Retina Early 2015||Quad Core i5, 8 GB DDR3 RAM, 128 GB SSD||1 TB NVMe||Solus OS Plasma Edition 4.2 (upgraded to 4.3)|
|Dell Inspiron 5300||i7 processor/ 8 GB DDR4 RAM/ 256 GB SSD Drive||New Battery, extra 8 GB DDR4 RAM||Windows 10|
Disk speed test on eMMC drive for Coconics Enabler Laptop
bench.sh test on Coconics Enabler Laptop with Ubuntu Mate installed
Screenshots from Installation
Manjaro Budgie and XFCE
The 2021 versions of Manjaro kept giving some strange errors- the operating system would install, ask for an upgrade, and then… Kernel Panic. Ironically I experienced this on the MBP2015 as well as Coconics. For i3, XFCE and Budgie versions of Manjaro. I had to reluctantly let that option go.
Next on the list was Linux Mint. With the 20.01 version, I had some success- except that the Broadcom drivers for wifi became an issue.
|Disk speeds and partition structure||Kernel Module Error|
|Using Ocenaudio App||Dark Mode for Mint Linux on MacBook Pro|
|MBP15 Operating System Information||Mint Driver Manager|
The Kernel Module error kept repeating, and I had to look for other options. Yes, most errors are fixable provided one is willing to put efforts. But I was looking to standardize the operating systems and the data/ folder structure across all devices, so I needed consistency.
Next on the list was SolusOs Budgie desktop.
|Screenshots from Installation||and Desktop Setup|
|New Installation of Budgie Desktop|
|Installation of Budgie Desktop||Completion of Installation|
|Checks before installation||Manjaro XFCE Installation*|
*In case you prefer it over Budgie
Screenshots from Installation of Linux Mint
|2019 Edition ‘Tara’||2021 Edition ‘Uma’|
|Multiple windows open in Linux Mint Tara||System settings for Linux Mint Uma Installation|
|Default Desktop of Linux Mint Tara||Hardware settings for test machine|
|Dist- Upgrade for Linux Mint Tara||Updates during installation of Mint|
And for good measure, let us look at Linux Mint Uma- XFCE edition
Disk Parition Scheme for Linux Mint
SolusOs – KDE Plasma Edition
Finally, we take a look at Solus Plasma Edition
|KDE Plasma Installer for SolusOs||Installation of Solus OS|
|Installation of Solus OS||Solus Plasma- Install Complete|
|Ram Usage for Solus Budgie|
|Free up Disk space using Bleachbit*|
*Handle with extreme care, read up the risks before using Bleachbit
|System Upgrade for Solus Plasma Edition – 2|
Why didn’t I opt for the Budgie Desktop?
Solus is known for the Budgie desktop -they created it after all. But in my installation of Solus with Budgie desktop, I experienced very high RAM usage. Below is the usage when the desktop had just loaded.
High RAM usage in Solus Budgie Desktop
On both Coconics and MacBook Pro15, I experienced very high RAM usage while using web browsers. This was a result from a bug in one of the GNOME libraries that is apparently still open.
RAM usage on MacBook Pro 15, Solus Budgie Desktop
RAM usage on Coconics Laptop, Brave browser
The other issue I encountered on the Coconics laptop was high CPU temperatures and disk temperatures. Below is a screenshot from Ubuntu Mate 21.04 installation. The below image shows temperature from 5 minutes after installation. The laptop went into forced shutdown mode twice because the ‘safety’ temperature of 100 Deg Celsius was reached. I removed Mate and installed Linux Mint XFCE.
CPU and disk temperature was a problem with MacBook Pro retina 2015 as well.
Wrapping it up
The option (and ability) to boot RaspberryPi4 is indeed a blessing! I was able to follow the instructions listed here and here, and the process was seamless. My RaspberryPi Rb / 4 GB device runs Ubuntu Mate with aplomb. I had of course tried installing Manjaro XFCE – my preferred linux distro. Alas! That was not to be.
Same issue; High RAM usage with Firefox
The high RAM usage while using browser, in particular Firefox, makes me wonder if the extensions for browser are the culprit. Moreover, I use Firefox sync so that all browsers have identical setup. I did run a test with all extensions disabled, but the results was not much different. Solving that issue will be a problem for another day.