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I'm looking to run Ubuntu on a 2008 MacBook Pro 2.4Ghz C2D, 2GB GDDR3.

Will it be okay performance wise through virtualization such as VMWARE or should I use BootCamp?


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Isn't it the case that you should use rEFIt when dual-booting a Mac and not using Windows as the 2nd OS? Or: Isn't Boot Camp specifically designed for Windows use? I'm interested to know. – boehj May 4 '11 at 11:04

Wherever possible, a proper installation is best for the system. While virtualization gives you a lot of control, a full install gives you more flexibility within the system itself, gives your OS full access to the hardware potential, and allows you to get the full potential from the system.

Even if you are just doing coding, it might still be a good idea.

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What are you looking to do in Ubuntu?

For basic tasks -- internet, office apps, IM, etc, virtualization should be sufficient. I suggest using a lightweight window manager since you'll likely only want to allocate 1gb or less to the VM.

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I'm interested in web development, (no interface design, strictly coding). – Jonathan Musso Mar 4 '11 at 22:49

Since the introduction of VT-x biggest performance impact of running system in VM is not CPU overhead, but the limited memory it would have. Since your MBP has only 2GB, that might be a problem, especially that many web development tools are Eclipse based.

Native installation of Ubuntu on MBP might not be piece of cake, but it's not rocket science either. See:

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I would suggest dual-booting instead of virtualization, since the dual boot will always be faster, and, depending on your virtualization software, will be more stable. Also, I believe BootCamp is simply Windows drivers for dual-booting Windows and Mac. I'm quite certain it has nothing to do with Linux. This is what I used to dual boot my Mac. I followed this article, which details the installation of rEFIt and how to use it to install Ubuntu. Here's a summary of the article:

  1. Download and install rEFIt.
  2. Use Mac's Disk Utility to partition your hard drive to the desired size.
  3. After that, you'll need to install the Ubuntu restricted areas. When I installed Ubuntu on my laptop, I didn't need to perform this last step, but the Lifehacker article suggests that you use the rEFIt partition tool on boot to fix the partition tables.

Ubuntu 12.10 works great on my laptop after a few simple driver tweaks. I think it was the sound and wireless drivers, but I had the problem fixed in 15 minutes after some Google research. The drivers may be included with 12.10 - I only had the problem when I installed with 12.04 LTS. Good luck with your install!

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Hi nick! Welcome to Ask Ubuntu. Could you include the relevant information from the link in your answer, and include the link for reference? – Flimm Jan 4 '13 at 14:44
Thanks! I'm already enjoying this site. I added the basic details from the article into the answer. Is that what you were looking for? – nick Jan 4 '13 at 19:46
That's it! Glad you like it here. I've edited it to make it a bit more readable. Rereading the question, I realised this answer is a little bit off-topic. Could you include an introductory paragraph explaining why this is a good alternative to virtualisation or Boot Camp? – Flimm Jan 4 '13 at 21:08

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