Bringing new life to an old MacBook Pro

I’ve got an old MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009) that sits next to my bed. I use it for watching films and streaming rain sounds while I sleep. It stopped getting OS updates a while ago, and more recently it doesn’t want to play Prime videos, so I figured it was time to take action.

It’s got a Core 2 Duo processor, 8G RAM and a 500G SSD, so it’s not great, but it’s more than capable of doing what I need it to do…

I would like to say I did a lot of research to decide the best OS for it, but that would be a lie. I figured I wanted Ubuntu, and I wanted to run a simple window manager, so I picked Ubuntu Mate.

  • I downloaded the ISO to my Windows 11 desktop.
  • Used the Portable Apps version of Rufus to burn it onto a USB stick.
  • Put the USB stick into my old MBP.
  • Restarted the MBP and held down the “alt” key to give me the boot menu, and picked the USB stick.
  • The live version of Ubuntu Mate started and I clicked the install icon.
  • A few questions later and I had a running Ubuntu Mate installation.

The first problem was I didn’t have wifi access, so I had to plug directly into my router to get internet access. I installed a suitable driver for my wifi card, did an update and I was ready to go. If I had read the installer pages properly, I could have loaded the proprietary drivers as part of the install, but randomly clicking the “Continue” button without reading is the way I roll. πŸ™‚

I installed KeePassXC and DropBox to get access to my passwords, and that’s about it. It’s working really well, and saved me having to think about what to replace the old laptop with.

So my current operating system landscape looks like this:

  • My main workstation is a Dell XPS laptop running Windows 11.
  • I also have a MacBook Pro 15-inch on my desk running macOS Big Sur, which I use to stream films while I work, and test my Vagrant builds on macOS.
  • I have a server running Oracle Linux 7, which I tend not to use much these days as my XPS laptop has more than enough power to do most things I want to do in VirtualBox VMs.
  • I have the old MacBook Pro 13-inch next to my bed running Ubuntu Mate.

I believe in operating system diversity… πŸ™‚

I know people become fanboys/fangirls/fanpeople of their operating system of choice, but I really can’t be bothered with all that anymore. I used Red Hat Linux, then Fedora as my main desktop for 10+ years. I spent a few years with macOS as my daily driver. Now I’m happily using Windows. I’m not even that partisan about my Linux distros these days. I use Oracle Linux for all my Oracle software, but I’ll use any Linux distro for non-Oracle stuff. It’s all the same but different… πŸ˜‰

Cheers

Tim…

Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

4 thoughts on “Bringing new life to an old MacBook Pro”

  1. You have an actual bed now?
    You’ll be getting sofas next.
    Oh well, a lot can happen in the 17ish years since I saw you last!
    Hope all is well and great to see Linux working on hardware from the dark side.

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