FreeBSD on MacBook Pro (15", 2017)


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Hi everyone! This will be my first post on the FreeBSD forum (and, in fact, any forum anywhere). I've used Linux (mostly Debian and later Arch Linux) for most of my life on the computer, but for the last two years or so I've been using a Mac. I've become increasingly unhappy with the attitude of Mac OS X, assuming that I don't know what I'm doing and that I only want to write Apple applications or websites. I recently decided to try out FreeBSD, since it seemed to have all that great stability and integrated-ness that Mac OS X has, but with the open-ness and dev-focused design of Linux.
Anyway, I'm trying to install FreeBSD 11.1-RELEASE on my 2017 MacBook Pro (15", the touch bar one). It boots the bootloader screen fine, and the keyboard works perfectly there. However, as soon as I select a boot option (single- or multi-user), my keyboard stops working, not responding to any keypresses. I really want to install it, instead of just using a VM (VirtualBox makes life really hard because of it not really emulating real hardware.)
Any help would be welcome!



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It seems that the question has already been submitted on this forum regarding a quite recent Apple.

And it seems that question has not been solved, even trying to use

sysutils/uhidd but you can try again, this won't hurt, eventually remove it after.

We don't know why in boot menu swap, the access to the keyboard is not available.

First we can expect that your keyboard is an usb driven keyboard and not a PS2 keyboard.
You can check that going in /dev. If you don't find any psm device, this means all your HID peripherals are USB driven

It could be a problem linked to the USB HUB driving the keyboard that is declared to the system later in the boot process.
Eventually I have some vague souvenirs of some USB Hub not available at early startup on some very old machines at the beginning of USB standard.

One should have to connect the keyboard on some specific USB port of the machine to access the BIOS for example.

Try with an external USB keyboard and tell us if you can get the keyboard work.

On some computer, not specifically Apple, we sometime loose the USB keyboard to access BIOS, but keyboard starts well when Windows OS is up. Generally we remove the backup BIOS cell button, we remove battery/electrical power cord and we wait 24H to be sure that motherboard is fully clean of electricity, and generally it comes back.

In some other cases some functions in the BIOS may interfere with USB.
Recently, I understood that if Intel AMT is not configured of badly configured on some HP Desktop Business Machine, it causes such problems... loosing keyboard repeatedly at early boot stage, but working well when OS is up.

Now that I have set up AMT, there seems to be no problem.
Just check in your BIOS if there are some advanced functions that could interfere with USB

Also read this thread, for some keyboards adding an usb_quirk can sometimes solve the problem. This thread explains how to test the quirk and how to apply it permanently. But in case of the Apple, I don't think it will change anything, as I think it had been tested. But anyway one should try to setup the quirk at early boot stage, so this require to setup loader.conf, see this thread.


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Thank you. I was actually talking about the internal keyboard, since I only have one USB-C to USB adaptor (which I have to use for the USB boot stick itself). However, I'll try out your advice if I can get my hands on another one.


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I'm extremely happy with Apple: excellent support people and service, BSD userland, great multimedia and games*, free X-code iPhone development (pro versions not home versions come with), and GNU compilers too.

I really don't think they are preventing you from doing anything - it's just that they cannot do everything for you. They have a great desktop (much more than most BSD installers ever get). But they have to support all (many models, and their support bends over backwards to keep older apples running), a yet compete new features with Microsoft: and often are left out of getting apps ported to them. They simply don't have time and likely need people to (ie, write a DirectX equivalent that would attract those wishing to sell such games on the App Store).


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Any updates on this? So, is it possible to install and use FreeBSD on MacBook Pro 2017 (with touch bar), with internal keyboard and without other big problems?