Wednesday, January 20th 2021

Linux Gets Ported to Apple's M1-Based Devices

When Apple introduces its lineup of devices based on the custom Apple Silicon, many people have thought that it represents the end for any further device customization and that Apple is effectively locking-up the ecosystem even more. That is not the case we have today. Usually, developers working on Macs are always in need of another operating system to test their software and try it out. It means that they have to run some virtualization software like virtual machines to test another OS like Linux and possibly Windows. However, it would be a lot easier if they could just boot that OS directly on the device and that is exactly why we are here today.

Researchers from Corellium, a startup company based in Florida, working on ARM device virtualization, have pulled off an incredible feat. They have managed to get Linux running on Apple's M1 custom silicon based devices. The CTO of Corellium, Mr. Chris Wade, has announced that Linux is now fully usable on M1 silicon. The port can take full advantage of the CPU, however, there is no GPU acceleration for now, and graphics are set to the software rendering mode. Corellium also promises to take the changes it made upstream to the Linux kernel itself, meaning open-source and permissive license model. Below you can find an image of Apple M1 Mac Mini running the latest Ubuntu OS build.
Source: Chris Wade (Twitter)
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18 Comments on Linux Gets Ported to Apple's M1-Based Devices

#1
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
Imagine if some people managed to port Android over to it and turn their macbook into a chromebook.
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#2
londiste
Isn't M1 basically ARM, so they managed to get M1 to boot something custom (which is no small feat)?
If GPU does not work and there is no word on any additional ASIC support, then "ported" is a strong word.
Posted on Reply
#3
Mescalamba
londisteIsn't M1 basically ARM, so they managed to get M1 to boot something custom (which is no small feat)?
If GPU does not work and there is no word on any additional ASIC support, then "ported" is a strong word.
It is ARM SoC with x64 ARM extension. And yes, its ported when it actually is a system, not half of it (if its half even).

But it will probably happen, eventually.
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#4
windwhirl
I'm gonna be a party pooper and ask how long until Apple decides to lock down the whole thing for real...
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#5
piloponth
A screenshot of the Ubuntu desktop on a Samsung monitor proves it.
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#6
Prima.Vera
Android, OSX, are all Linux based anyways. What's the big deal?
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#7
pat-roner
windwhirlI'm gonna be a party pooper and ask how long until Apple decides to lock down the whole thing for real...
MacOS has never been very locked down, and the circlejerk that bootcamp was removed on M1 Mac's have nothing to do with Apple wanting to block windows from being installed, but rather a licensing issue from Microsoft's side as highlighted in this interview.

Snippet from the article;

As for Windows running natively on the machine, "that's really up to Microsoft," he said. "We have the core technologies for them to do that, to run their ARM version of Windows, which in turn of course supports x86 user mode applications. But that's a decision Microsoft has to make, to bring to license that technology for users to run on these Macs. But the Macs are certainly very capable of it."
Posted on Reply
#8
DeathtoGnomes
FreedomEclipseImagine if some people managed to port Android over to it and turn their macbook into a chromebook.
That would almost worth the price of admission
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#9
TheUn4seen
windwhirlI'm gonna be a party pooper and ask how long until Apple decides to lock down the whole thing for real...
It's not about a company doing good things for the sake of doing good things, it's about a small company getting on all fours moaning "buy us, oh yes please buy us, we will do nice things for you". This is the sad state of the market that corporate superiority brought us. Small companies exist for the sole purpose of exiting the market, as in, getting bought by a corporation. You can mark my words, in ten or twenty years there will be no small companies, only a select few corporations which will basically own everything.
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#10
windwhirl
Prima.VeraAndroid, OSX, are all Linux based anyways. What's the big deal?
Uh, wasn't OSX/macOS based on Mach NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP, which is itself based on Unix, and has apparently been influenced by Sun's Solaris and BSD? Or so I remember, at least..
pat-ronerMacOS has never been very locked down, and the circlejerk that bootcamp was removed on M1 Mac's have nothing to do with Apple wanting to block windows from being installed, but rather a licensing issue from Microsoft's side as highlighted in this interview.

Snippet from the article;

As for Windows running natively on the machine, "that's really up to Microsoft," he said. "We have the core technologies for them to do that, to run their ARM version of Windows, which in turn of course supports x86 user mode applications. But that's a decision Microsoft has to make, to bring to license that technology for users to run on these Macs. But the Macs are certainly very capable of it."
Ah. Point taken. Though I still expect them to impose some weird requisite like having their code signed by Apple for anything to boot.
TheUn4seenIt's not about a company doing good things for the sake of doing good things, it's about a small company getting on all fours moaning "buy us, oh yes please buy us, we will do nice things for you". This is the sad state of the market that corporate superiority brought us. Small companies exist for the sole purpose of exiting the market, as in, getting bought by a corporation. You can mark my words, in ten or twenty years there will be no small companies, only a select few corporations which will basically own everything.
I hope your prediction is wrong. That will make everything stagnate.
Posted on Reply
#11
lexluthermiester
londisteIf GPU does not work and there is no word on any additional ASIC support, then "ported" is a strong word.
But still accurate.

Linux ported to M1 should be a surprise to no one.
Posted on Reply
#12
InVasMani
FreedomEclipseImagine if some people managed to port Android over to it and turn their macbook into a chromebook.
I'd be much more keen on utilizing Linux with wine on the device.
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#13
Wirko
GPU? GUI? I thought Linux fans use command line.
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#14
R-T-B
Prima.VeraAndroid, OSX, are all Linux based anyways. What's the big deal?
OSX is not Linux based. It's Mach Based, which is a Unix derivative.
windwhirlUh, wasn't OSX/macOS based on Mach NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP, which is itself based on Unix, and has apparently been influenced by Sun's Solaris and BSD? Or so I remember, at least..
Good man, beat me to it.
lexluthermiesterBut still accurate.

Linux ported to M1 should be a surprise to no one.
It surprises me the M1 is not using a signature enforced bootloader.
Posted on Reply
#15
Mussels
Moderprator
Ooooh, this might make these machines less useless
Posted on Reply
#16
Laykun
FreedomEclipseImagine if some people managed to port Android over to it and turn their macbook into a chromebook.
ChromeOS is Linux, not Android. Would make much more sense just to port ChromeOS to the device.
Posted on Reply
#17
lexluthermiester
R-T-BIt's Mach Based, which is a Unix derivative.
I thought it was BSD based(which is itself Unix based)?
windwhirlUh, wasn't OSX/macOS based on Mach NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP, which is itself based on Unix
Or this.
R-T-BIt surprises me the M1 is not using a signature enforced bootloader.
Apple is in enough trouble with the feds right now. Pissing off the FCC is not a smart move.
Posted on Reply
#18
Wirko
windwhirlAh. Point taken. Though I still expect them to impose some weird requisite like having their code signed by Apple for anything to boot.
Apple does not have a history of this kind of bait-and-switch. If the bootloader is open now, it will remain open.

I also think they will release some more technical specifications over time. Not all but some of it, enough to allow Linux run smoothly and use most of the peripherals and power management.
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