Eric D. Schabell: Installing or Upgrading to Fedora 37 on Macbook Pro 13 inch (late 2011)

Monday, January 2, 2023

Installing or Upgrading to Fedora 37 on Macbook Pro 13 inch (late 2011)

This weekend I decided to update my old Macbook Pro 13 inch from late 2011, with 125GB SSD and 8GB RAM. 

It's a machine I've taken on trips around the world and back in the day ran many a session, workshop, or demo on sharing all that developer goodness.

Last time we checked, this was installed using Fedora 36, so how about an update to Fedora 37?

Below the steps and adjustments needed to get Fedora 37 working on this laptops in under an hour.

fedora 33
Get Fedora 36

Yes, you read that right. 

You need to first install Fedora 36 and then I'll share with you how to update to Fedora 37 afterwards. The reason for this is that the current Fedora 37 ISO you would use on an USB stick with the Fedora Media Writer is broken. During the install you will be presented with the following error message:

Bootloader installation has failed: Failed to set new efi boot target. This is most likely a kernel or firmware bug.

For a complete guide on the Fedora 36 installation, see my previous article in this series.

Updating to Fedora 37

This part is best done on the command line to ensure each step of the process is run without problems. Log in and open a terminal to start (note, you might need to set a new root user password with 'sudu passwd root'):

$ sudo dnf --refresh update
$ sudo dnf upgrade

Now reboot your system to start the upgrade:

$ sudo reboot

Install the upgrade plugin using the dnf command:

$ sudo dnf install dnf-plugin-system-upgrade

Download all the latest packages for Fedora 37 using this command:

$ sudo dnf system-upgrade download --releasever=37

Once the download finishes, the following will cause a reboot and the actual upgrade starts. Note this take some time:

$ sudo dnf system-upgrade reboot

You will see a reboot and then upgrading tasks will commence. Once completed, your machine will reboot automatically into Fedora 37.

Now let's see what the deal is with our missing wifi card as we've been doing this install from a wired network line and the upgrade lost our Fedora 36 wifi setup.

Wifi setup

Now the only thing missing is a wifi driver so there are a few things to be done that require that network cable to be connected as we install the development packages for the kernel we are running and then build the broadcom-wl driver for that kernel.

Let's verify the actual card we need for wifi in a terminal:

$ lspci -vnn -d 14e4:

The output will be several items, one of which should be listing something like:

Network controller [0280]: Broadcom Inc. and subsidiaries...
Subsystem: Apple Inc. AirPort Extreme...

We now need to install a few repositories to pull all the broadcom stuff from:

$ su -c 'dnf install -y$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm'

And also the non-free version:

$ su -c 'dnf install -y$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm'
We are going to need the development kernel packages to build our broadcom wireless driver, so lets explore the available kernels:

$ sudo dnf list kernel

kernel.x86_64            5.17.5-300.fc36
kernel.x86_64            6.0.15-200.fc36
kernel.x86_64            6.0.15-300.fc37
Install the development packages with the following:
$ sudo dnf install -y akmods kernel-devel

You'll see a lot of packages scroll by and then the development kernel package install, which is the kernel-devel-6.0.15-300.fc37 package:

Now install the Broadcom Wireless package:

$ sudo dnf install -y broadcom-wl

Now build the kernel module:

$sudo akmods

Checking mods exist for 6.0.15-300.fc37.x86_64    [OK]

Now reboot your machine and you should be able to view the wireless driver (wl) with the following:

$ lsmod | grep wl

Now set up your wireless connection in Fedora in the top right drop down menu.

A bit of a different type of installation if you were following along the last time, but we still made it to Fedora 37. I hope you enjoyed this starting the year update to the latest Fedora on your old Macbook Pro 13 inch from late 2011!