Macbook Pro 8 and Linux
I am purchasing a Macbook Pro 8,3 soon (the 2011 17 inch Macbook Pro) and I am wondering if it would be possible to run Linux well on it. I am entering film school and I need a Mac computer for the professional video editing software that it can run, which Linux doesn't really have any comparable alternatives for. I am definitely going to buy the MBP, so please do not suggest other laptop models or native Linux video editors - I have already checked them out and they are not suitable for my needs.
I'd like to dual-boot on the MBP and mainly use Linux, only booting OSX when I need to do work. I am currently using Ubuntu, but I was planning on moving to Debian when I get my new laptop. However, if another distro works better on the MBP, I'll probably switch to it.
I know that older MBP models work with Debian, but I haven't been able to find anything on the newest model. Ubuntu 11.04 apparently runs with some problems on the new MBP - since Ubuntu is derived from Debian, would I be able to get Debian working in a similar manner? Will it be possible for me to get Debian or any distro of Linux running smoothly with no real problems, or should I just give up and use OS X for everything? I'm willing to spend tons of time and effort on this, as long as I can get it working in the end, but I don't really have a lot of experience with this kind of thing.
The main issue will be that Macs today use the EFI (Enhanced Firmware Interface) instead of th old PC BIOS. Fortunately, newer Linux systems support that. The main thing about Debian is that they don't really like to support proprietary drivers and other cruft (firmware for device drivers), so you will have to deal with a lot of stuff, such as for wireless, webcams, and such on your own. I'm sure that the community will get these systems "into the fold" as quickly as they can. You might want to consider running OSX all the time, and run Linux in a virtual machine... You won't need to dual-boot the system, and it will probably be a lot more stable for you.
I got a Macbook Pro 8.1 13" and i successfully installed Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) 32bit on it. It works fine but as Rubberman said, there are a few problems. But i've been able to get it into almost full functionality except that i have a wireless problem which i'm solving. Others have solved theirs and i'm still working on mine. So you'd be fine with Ubuntu 11.04 on it for sure.