Does Linux cause my Macbook to overheat?


New Member
Mar 4, 2024
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Hi guys,

I recently had the oportunity to start experimenting with the Linux on a late 2008 MacBook Pro. I tried Elementary, MintXfce, Lubuntu and in the end stayed with Mint Mate because it gave me the best results. It looks pretty nice and although booting and starting the web browser takes a little longer, I can use it now. The problem is it turns very hot to the touch, always starting where the power cable is plugged in even when I don't do anything with it. With El Capitan it only got warm in the middle when it had many tasks at once.
In Elementary I had also issues with the desktop being black and the browser being black with only the cursor changing where links and buttons must have been. So it loaded the page but it was invisible. I tell you this because I don't know if maybe the nouveau driver for it's Nvidia GPU could be the problem.
I read about issues with the fans that don't turn on. But mine do and they are raging.

As you can see, I am a bloody noob. But everyone says Linux users are nice people and everyone should use the forums so here I am. I tried to provide you some useful hardware information. Please exuse me if it isn't enough.

Kernel: 5.15.0-97-generic x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc v: 11.4.0
Desktop: MATE 1.26.0 Distro: Linux Mint 21.3 Virginia
base: Ubuntu 22.04 jammy
Type: Portable System: Apple product: MacBookPro5,1 v: 1.0
serial: <superuser required>
Mobo: Apple model: Mac-F42D86C8 v: Proto serial: <superuser required>
UEFI: Apple v: MBP51.88Z.007E.B06.1202061253 date: 02/06/12
ID-1: BAT0 charge: 12.8 Wh (100.0%) condition: 12.8/56.2 Wh (22.8%)
volts: 12.2 min: 10.8 model: SMP ASMB013 status: Full
Info: dual core model: Intel Core2 Duo T9400 bits: 64 type: MCP
arch: Core Yorkfield rev: 6 cache: L1: 128 KiB L2: 6 MiB
Speed (MHz): avg: 1646 high: 1701 min/max: 1596/2527 cores: 1: 1592
2: 1701 bogomips: 10082
Flags: ht lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 ssse3 vmx
Device-1: NVIDIA G96CM [GeForce 9600M GT] vendor: Apple driver: nouveau
v: kernel bus-ID: 02:00.0
Device-2: NVIDIA C79 [GeForce 9400M] vendor: Apple driver: nouveau
v: kernel bus-ID: 03:00.0
Device-3: Apple Built-in iSight type: USB driver: uvcvideo bus-ID: 1-4:2
Display: x11 server: X.Org v: driver: X: loaded: modesetting
unloaded: fbdev,vesa gpu: nouveau resolution: 1440x900~60Hz
OpenGL: renderer: NVAC v: 3.3 Mesa 23.2.1-1ubuntu3.1~22.04.2
direct render: Yes
Device-1: NVIDIA MCP79 High Definition Audio driver: snd_hda_intel
v: kernel bus-ID: 00:08.0
Sound Server-1: ALSA v: k5.15.0-97-generic running: yes
Sound Server-2: PulseAudio v: 15.99.1 running: yes
Sound Server-3: PipeWire v: 0.3.48 running: yes
Device-1: NVIDIA MCP79 Ethernet driver: forcedeth v: kernel port: 41e0
bus-ID: 00:0a.0
IF: enp0s10 state: down mac: <filter>
Device-2: Broadcom BCM4322 802.11a/b/g/n Wireless LAN
vendor: Apple AirPort Extreme driver: wl v: kernel bus-ID: 04:00.0
IF: wls3 state: up mac: <filter>
Device-1: Apple Bluetooth Host Controller type: USB driver: btusb v: 0.8
bus-ID: 4-1.1:3
Report: hciconfig ID: hci0 rfk-id: 0 state: up address: <filter>
bt-v: 1.2 lmp-v: 2.1
Local Storage: total: 465.76 GiB used: 28.2 GiB (6.1%)
ID-1: /dev/sda vendor: Western Digital model: WD5000LPCX-24VHAT0
size: 465.76 GiB
ID-1: / size: 456.89 GiB used: 28.19 GiB (6.2%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda2
ID-2: /boot/efi size: 511 MiB used: 6.1 MiB (1.2%) fs: vfat
dev: /dev/sda1
ID-1: swap-1 type: file size: 2 GiB used: 0 KiB (0.0%) file: /swapfile
System Temperatures: cpu: 51.0 C mobo: N/A
Fan Speeds (RPM): N/A
GPU: device: nouveau temp: 55.0 C device: nouveau temp: 55.0 C
Processes: 218 Uptime: 8m Memory: 3.57 GiB used: 1.57 GiB (44.1%)
Init: systemd runlevel: 5 Compilers: gcc: 11.4.0 Packages: 2155 Shell: Bash
v: 5.1.16 inxi: 3.3.13

Thanks for reading this!

there are several possible reasons, the most common are it needs a service [check fans working and all vents and tubes are clean] CPU frequency and GPU, and browser, so
Dont use Chrome browser unless you disable acceleration in the browser settings
if its has a Nvidia GPU, do not use the Nouveau drivers use the Linux Nvidia drivers
CPU frequency control is not in my area of expertise but is less common problem
Wow thanks for the quick reply!
Mint came with firefox but I mostly use brave. I will take a look on the settings there.
Will installing a different driver be the same as in other systems or do I have to learn some of the Linux magic first befor I try?
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Many thanks to both of you. I will follow these instructions and see what happens.
There are no steps for conky install so here are some hints:

Install conky-all to be able to monitor temperature for your Nvidia card.
To monitor SSD or HDD temps you'll need to add drivetemp module to auto start in /etc/modules-load.d/modules.conf

Then reuse my conky setup, the file should be placed into ~/.config/conky/conky.config
Add the following command to auto start in your desktop environment:
conky --daemonize --pause=1 -c ~/.config/conky/conky.config

Run modprobe drivetemp

Then log out and log in again to start conky as shown in my post.

As for nvidia drivers, if you do gaming make sure to install 32 bit libs during installment process,
if you need help installing nvidia drivers let us know.
I tried to figure out how to install a driver that I download from Nvidia but it seems to be sorcery I am not able to perform at the moment. In the synaptics package manager I can not figure out what I have to pick for my GPU. Maybe I should open up the laptop and use the vacuum cleaner first. Seems to be more suitable for my current knowledge.
I would strongly recommend using the driver you already have.

If you want to monitor temperatures, install psensor.
I would strongly recommend using the driver you already have.

If you want to monitor temperatures, install psensor.
Hi! Thanks for the reply. I will take a look at that. I decided on staying with the nouveau driver for now because I don't want to break anything. However, it's really fun to learn from all this even if I can't figure out everything yet.
It does, thank you :) Reading the forum is also very rewarding. Think I want to know more than just how to use the Linux as an alternative for windows. You guys are great.
We're a wee bit more "hands-on" and creative in the Puppy community, so rather than simply use existing packages to inform us about system temps, etc, we've built many of our own. We have a small army of extremely knowledgeable, creative coders - including, to a steadily-increasing degree, myself - and we like putting original stuff together that will benefit the whole Puppy community.....on top of which, because of the somewhat unique way in which Puppy works many of the 'standard' packages don't function as they should.

Mick Amadio - our current head honcho - who took over as 'Puppymaster' when Barry K. stepped-down to pursue his own projects, in his own early days with the community (some 15 years ago) wrote a tiny utility called pmcputemp....."Poor man's CPU temperature". It's a simple auto-updating icon, sitting in the system 'tray', that merely displays the current CPU temp as two digits in °C, measuring between 10°C and 99° addition to which, the icon changes colour as the temperatures rise. It gets its information from two of the items in the kernel modules directory. Here it is:-


.....the blue square in the middle. In addition, by hovering the cursor over the icon, you can obtain a real-time readout of your CPU core speeds:-


This has been a standard, OOTB item in all Puppies for several years.


The 3rd icon to the right from the temp icon is one I put together myself. Having had an Nvidia GPU for about 3 years now - and not being enamoured of needing to dig around in the Nvidia control panel every time to find the temps readout - I wanted a tray icon which with a single-click would deliver a real-time readout of the GPU core temps. Moreover, this not only works with the official driver, but also with the 'nouveau' driver as well.

It checks for the presence of the 'nvidia.ko' module, by setting the output of

uname -r a variable, then looking in

/lib/modules/$UNAME/kernel/drivers/video see if the 'nvidia.ko' module is there. If it is, it then consults the 'nvidia-smi' CLI utility which comes as part of the official driver package, to whit:-

nvidia-smi --query --display=temperature | grep "GPU Current Temp"

The output from this gets written to a text file in /tmp, which is then parsed by the gtk-dialog 'banner' code present in all Puppies.

If the 'nvidia.ko' module is NOT found, it knows the nouveau driver must be in use.....and looks in


.....instead for the readout from


.....and this gets parsed by the gtk-dialog 'banner' code instead.

The end product looks like this:-


....and shows at the top of your screen. Just for fun, I included a GIF of a modern 3-fan GPU with built-in RGB lighting, which I found on Giphy! In addition, as the temps rise, the text colour changes, providing a purely visual clue.....from green, thru yellow and orange, and finally red once you hit 81°C or higher. Once it turns red, you KNOW things are "gettin' 'toasty'"!

Right-clicking the icon gives the following options:-


  • Gives a continuous, repeating/refreshing display​
  • Lets you reset back to on-demand​
  • Allows personalizing the banner by adding your GPU name/model​
  • Displays the 'About' splash screen​
  • Displays the 'Info' panel​
  • Lets you 'Quit' the utility​

In practice, you won't perform this last action; if you DO forget yourself & accidentally hit 'Quit' in the middle of a session, a convenient Menu entry under 'Utility' will allow for an immediate restart...and it auto-starts at boot anyway.

It all works rather nicely. In practice, regardless of the driver configuration, you will always get a readout. And that was the whole point of the exercise.

Mike. ;)
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This was again so beginner friendly, I want to follow the instructions just to see something hapen on screen :D Thank you.
The fact that you made this yourself (I am assuming everyone here can do cool stuff like that) made me have a very long chat with AI. I let it explain the basics of how to set up an operating system and honestly, I have been playing games for years but it is a new world now I understand what happens when one clicks a fancy button.
Maybe learning a programming language will be fun, too.
Hi! Just to let you know, the Macbook is now working without any issues. After cleaning it and finally taking care of the driver it is now below the critical temperatures shown in your tools. Thanks for the support:)

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