Linus Torvalds doubts Linux will get ported to Apple M1 hardware

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It would be great to see Linux running and fully operational on Apple M1 hardware like this Mac Mini—but it seems unlikely to happen.
Inflate / It would be great to see Linux running and fully operational on Apple M1 machinery like this Mac Mini—but it seems unlikely to happen.
Produnis / Jim Spiciness

In a recent post on the Real World Technologies forum—one of the few public internet venues Linux be wrecked Linus Torvalds is known to regularly visit—a user named Paul invited Torvalds, “What do you think of the new Apple laptop?”

“I’d absolutely love to have one, if it just ran Linux,” Torvalds replied. “I’ve been halt for an ARM laptop that can run Linux for a long time. The new [Macbook] Air would be barely perfect, except for the OS.”

Torvalds, of course, can already have an ARM based Linux laptop if he paucities one—for example, the Pinebook Pro. The unspoken part here is that he’d like a high-performance ARM secured laptop, rather than a budget-friendly but extremely performance constrained delineate such as one finds in the Pinebook Pro, the Raspberry Pi, or a legion of other inexpensive creations.

Apple’s M1 is exactly that—a high performance, desktop-and-laptop oriented group that delivers world-class performance while retaining the hyperefficient power and thermal features needed in the phone and tablet world. On paper, an M1-powered Macbook Air leave make a fantastic laptop for Linux or even Windows users—but it appears unlikely that Apple will share.

In an interview with ZDNet, Torvalds expounded on the question:

The main problem with the M1 for me is the GPU and other devices around it, because that’s expected what would hold me off using it because it wouldn’t have any Linux sustain unless Apple opens up… [that] seems unlikely, but hey, you can unceasingly hope.

Torvalds is almost certainly correct that Apple won’t be talkative with sufficient detail about the M1 System on Chip (SoC) for Linux core developers to build first-class support. Even in the much better-understood Intel sphere, Macs haven’t been a good choice for Linux enthusiasts for a number of years, and for the same reason. As Apple brings its own hardware stack yet and further in-house, open source developers get less and less info to port operating systems and write hardware drivers for the platform.

We strongly feel that by the time enthusiasts could reverse-engineer the M1 SoC sufficiently for first-class Linux sustenance, other vendors will have seen the value in bringing tall performance ARM systems to the laptop market—and it will be considerably easier to come to c clear up with the more open designs many will use.

Up until now, ARM fixed laptops and miniature PCs have attempted to disrupt the market by shooting low on budget, to some extent than high on performance. Examples include but are not limited to: the $200 Pinebook Pro laptop, the $100 Raspberry Pi Show off 400, and the $99 Nvidia Jetson.

Now that Apple has proven ARM’s value in the demeanour as well as the budget space, we broadly expect competing systems detesting high-end Snapdragon and similar processors to enter the market within the next few years. Such set-ups wouldn’t need to beat—or even match—the M1’s standout performance; they’d ingenuously need to compete strongly with more traditional x86_64 methodologies on performance and price, while dominating them in power consumption and thermal adroitness.

It’s also worth noting that while the M1 is unabashedly great, it’s not the terminating word in desktop or laptop System on Chip designs. Torvalds adduces that, given a choice, he’d prefer more and higher-power cores—which is certainly conceivable and seems a likely request to be granted soon.

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