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Article from Issue 247/2021
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In the news: Apple M1 Hardware Support To Be Merged into Linux Kernel 5.13; KDE Launches the Qt 5 Patch Collection; Linux Creator Warns Next Kernel Could Be Delayed; System76 Updates Its Pangolin Laptop; New Debian-Based Distribution Arriveson the Market; System76 Releases New Thelio Desktop; and AlmaLinux Is Officially Available.

Apple M1 Hardware Support To Be Merged into Linux Kernel 5.13

Hector Martin has merged the initial support for Apple M1 hardware into the Linux SOC (System On a Chip) tree. Martin is the founder of Asahi Linux, a project to port Linux to Apple Silicon Macs. The project was started in 2020, using the M1 Mac Mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro hardware. The Asahi goal is "not just to make Linux run on these machines but to polish it to the point where it can be used as a daily OS."

Now that M1 support has been merged into the tree, it should make it into the Linux kernel for the 5.13 release (which should come sometime this summer). That does not mean, however, you'll be able to run Linux on Apple Silicon this summer. In fact, at the moment there is no timetable for full support. The reason for this is porting Linux to Apple Silicon is a daunting task. Because Apple doesn't release any documentation for the M1 hardware, everything must be reverse-engineered and drivers must then be written.

But as of April 8, 2021, the arm/apple-m1 branch has been merged into Linux-next (the holding area for code expected for the next kernel merge window. To view the code that has been merged, take a look at this SOC commit (https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/soc/soc.git/commit/?h=for-next&id=0d5fe4b31785b732b71e764b55cda5c8d6e3bbbf). Although the Asahi Linux environment will now boot on the M1 hardware, it only provides serial and frame buffer console access. In other words, there's a long way to go. And, according to Martin, "we absolutely do not recommend buying M1 hardware for that purpose unless and until the Asahi project gets much, much farther down the road than it has managed so far."

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