back to article Asahi's plan for Linux on Apple's new silicon shows Cupertino has gone back to basics with iOS booting

The Asahi Linux project has published the first progress report detailing its effort to port Linux to the Apple Silicon platform. The lengthy blog post describes in extensive detail the challenges faced by the project in understanding how Apple’s home-grown proprietary chippery works on a fundamental level, as well as the …

  1. James O'Shea

    Serious questions

    1. Why would anyone spend the kind of money necessary to buy one of the M1 Macs and then nuke the warranty by erasing the drive and installing a Linux?

    2. Related to above... given the limited disk (really SSD) space (256 or 512 GB, expandable to a max of 2 TB very expensively at point of purchase, not expandable afterwards except by using external USB or Thunderbolt drives), is there a way to create a separate Linux partition and install a bootloader of some type so that users could dual-boot Linux and macOS? I rather suspect that Boot Camp ain't gonna work, and it wasn't that fond of Linux on Intel hardware in the first place. At least it wasn't fond of Linux on Intel hardware sometime after Apple started supporting Win 10 in Boot Camp, not in my experience, anyway.

    3. Allegedly there will be versions of VMWare and Parallels for Apple Silicon, Real Soon Now. (I'm not holding my breath waiting.) Wouldn't it be better to run a Linux in a VM? That's how I have Mint and Ubuntu running on various Intel Macs right now. Frankly, I got tired of trying to get Boot Camp to work properly with Linux (it has problems with Win 10, but at least Apple says they're fixing those, they're ignoring Linux in Boot Camp completely, so far as I can tell. Corrections welcome. Not holding my breath waiting for those, either.) and just lit up a VM. I did the same for Win 10. Dual booting is annoying, VMs are slower but more efficient unless I need the full power of the machine... and if I need the full power of the machine to do something macOS can't or won't do, getting a non-Apple system, usually by buying parts and building it myself for my personal use or speccing out a serious business system from a serious vendor (that is, not HP or Dell) for the office, would be more efficient. I'm currently typing this on a hand-built Win 10 system, which started as a Win 7 system in 2012. It was fairly powerful in 2012 but is starting to show its age and will be replaced by a new build system some time this year.

    4. What will they do when Apple changes the (undocumented) boot system, which I'm absolutely certain they will? I'll put up serious money that there will soon be a M2 or some other evolution of the M1, and that things will change re booting the new system.

    1. DS999

      Re: Serious questions

      Why does someone try to jailbreak a Wii, or run Android on an iPhone or a hundred other things that don't make sense? Same reason they climb Everest, because it is there.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Serious questions

        When the Wii was jailbroken, there were no devices which you could connect to the TV and use for homebrew, emulation, or media playing so it was a pretty cool thing to do. Now that the Pi, other SBCs, and NUCs are commonplace a decade later, you'd have to question whether doing the same today with an XBox Series S/X or PS5 is a worthwhile investment of time and effort.

        Jailbreaking the Switch however is still worthwhile as there aren't many open portable games devices, also it's fun and relatively easy as Nintendo never knowingly gets security right.

        As for an M1 Mac, Apple obviously doesn't want you to play with it and more open ARM computers are already, so again you'd have to question whether it's worthwhile or not. Why support a business that doesn't want to let you do what you want with your device when you could support one that does? But it's worth it if only to see Apple's marketing about security get taken down a peg or two.

        1. DS999

          Re: Serious questions

          How does it take Apple's marketing "down a peg"? They specifically made the bootloader unlockable by the end user, no jailbreaking is required to attempt to run Linux on it. The blocker is that they don't provide documentation on stuff like the GPU, so some reverse engineering is required.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: Serious questions

            Didn't you read the article and the blog post? The built-in bootloader is not documented, doesn't boot from external drives, doesn't boot non-MacOS kernels, and requires security settings to be turned off get the computer into a position where it can run an alternative bootloader which can do these things. The alternative bootloader takes a macOS install, installs it onto the internal drive, removes most things (but leaves enough so the built-in bootloader recognises it as macOS which it will boot), and adds the alternative bootloader. And at this stage we haven't even got to the GPU yet.

            No normal user can boot an alternative OS on an M1 machine from either an internal or external drive. So Apple's design which is purpose-built to only boot macOS from an internal drive has been defeated.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Serious questions

      "1. Why would anyone spend the kind of money necessary to buy one of the M1 Macs and then nuke the warranty by erasing the drive and installing a Linux?"

      They might like Mac OS for some things, need native Linux for others, and want to have the ability to use one machine to do them both. If it turns out to be impossible, they'll deal with it then. Might as well try first before giving up.

      "2. Related to above... given the limited disk [...] is there a way to create a separate Linux partition and install a bootloader of some type so that users could dual-boot Linux and macOS?"

      Probably. If they can get Linux booting, they can also port a different boot system which can present a menu and launch each OS. More work certainly, but not more difficult work unless Mac OS has been written to break it deliberately.

      "3. Wouldn't it be better to run a Linux in a VM?"

      I wonder how well the VM hosts will work. If they're emulating X64 Linux, it will slow down quite a lot (Rosetta 2 isn't going to convert the entire VM to ARM-native) and stop working when Apple pulls Rosetta. Given they are already pulling it for unspecified reasons, it likely doesn't have a long life. If the VM hosts are now going to run ARM builds, that's nicer but most of them were not able to run them at all previously so expect bugs for a long time. Also, there are cases where native performance or access to hardware is necessary, and some may prefer to avoid a VM for that reason.

      "4. What will they do when Apple changes the (undocumented) boot system, which I'm absolutely certain they will?"

      Shout in annoyance. Then some of them will start reverse-engineering the new one and the others will curse Apple and run Linux on something else. Eventually, if Apple does it enough, there will be relatively few people willing to put up with it anymore and the prospect of actually running Linux on an ARM Mac might die. It mostly depends how often Apple does that.

    3. G.Y.

      VM Re: Serious questions

      a VM gives you half+- the RAM available native

    4. KjetilS

      Re: Serious questions

      Why would installing a different OS on a general purpose computer void the warranty?

      1. nijam Silver badge

        Re: Serious questions

        > ... a general purpose computer

        No, it's an Apple.

    5. Ace2

      Re: Serious questions

      What makes you think that installing another OS would void the warranty?

      1. VicMortimer
        WTF?

        Re: Serious questions

        Yeah, it's a completely ridiculous statement.

        Not only does installing the OS of your choice not void the warranty, it would be illegal for it to void the warranty. Apple couldn't void the warranty because you installed Linux even if they wanted to.

        I have to question the motives of someone spreading disinformation like that.

        1. mevets Bronze badge

          Re: Serious questions

          Suppose your linux driver failed to enable some thermal protection thus harming either the SOC or associated circuitry?

          You might try to say " but, but something should protect against that "; which should land on deaf ears - the kernel is precisely the thing to protect against that, and you are putting an experimental one on your shiny. Now, that isn't a carte blanche for {vendor} to dismiss claims, but if it was clearly showing thermal damage and no other returns are, you are likely on your own. You broke it you bought it goes a long way in common law.

    6. newspuppy

      Re: Serious questions

      Parrallels works on M1.. running ARM ubuntu 20LTS on 16 G 1TB macbook Pro M1. I am very impressed...

    7. chololennon
      Facepalm

      Re: Serious questions

      "1. Why would anyone spend the kind of money necessary to buy one of the M1 Macs and then nuke the warranty by erasing the drive and installing a Linux?"

      A new M1 today is an old M1 tomorrow... as everyone knows, lack of support after a few years is very common, so why not update it with Linux?

    8. needmorehare

      Huh?

      1. The warranty isn’t void. Apple allows disabling Secure Boot with this in mind. They want as many people as possible to buy their hardware regardless of the OS people choose to run on it. That could change in the future but I very much doubt it given Craig Federighi saying it’s up to Microsoft if people want to be able to use Windows on their Apple Silicon Macs.

      2. Apple already said they won’t support Boot Camp but who needs it when one can boot from an external drive anyway? Linux (or Windows) could go on a Thunderbolt drive.

      3. You can run Linux in a VM using the Apple Hypervisor API. QEMU works and virtualises everything using the proper Apple API already.

      4. Apple has a very big incentive to share as much code as possible and change it as little as possible due to committing to support every product they sell for 7 years. We can see evidence of how they adapted the M1 to avoid diverging from the legacy of iOS SoCs throughout this article. While it is a real possibility that things could change in a massively codebreaking way, Apple has a track record of designing their hardware to work with how they develop their software and not the other way around.

    9. mevets Bronze badge

      Re: Serious questions

      1) By many accounts, the M1 is amongst the fastest silicon you can buy; and you can literally get a whole computer (imac mini) for less that the cost of just a comparable intel cpu. You are in 3x for an actual system, especially by the time your electricity bill arrives.

      2), 3): if I don't want macos, why have it in the way? I wouldn't but others would.

      4) They may, but there will likely be other changes to support the M2,3,4. Since you are running linux on the machine, those pesky automated updates from apple won't apply, so your machine won't revert.

      1a) Why climb everest when there is a perfectly acceptable mound in the park, complete with a picnic bench? Ok, everest is a bit much, but that idea.

      1b) Those SOCs are packed with specialty processors which could make a great opportunity for making a system-wide edition of linux, rather than the current application-core ones. You could do the same with the Xilinx zcu or NXP Imx8, but weirdly these imac mini's are cheaper and better equipped than those dev boards. Also, the auxilliary CPUs in the M1, presumably following the Axx examples, run the same instruction set as the Application CPUs; that is not true of those embedded SOCs. So really, you have a cluster in a box, with all sorts of peripherals, and could do some pretty cool system-level things with that.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Serious questions

        But without any publicly available documentation I doubt anyone else could ever do it as well as Apple.

    10. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Serious questions

      "Why would anyone spend the kind of money necessary to buy one of the M1 Macs and then nuke the warranty by erasing the drive and installing a Linux?"

      Because, with the possible exception of a couple of very recent Ryzens with a TDP that is an order of magnitude higher than the M1, it has the fastest single-thread performance you can get anywhere at the moment.

    11. marcan

      Re: Serious questions

      1. Installing another OS does not void the warranty. Every Mac, past and present, has officially supported installing a third-party OS. Apple Silicon is no exception.

      2. Apple Silicon Macs natively support multi-boot. You can install as many instances of macOS as you care to partition your disk for, officially, and switch between them by holding down the power button at startup. Installing Linux instead is an analogous process. Our end-user installer will do the repartitioning for you (probably better than Apple's GUI-based Disk Utility, which is flaky :-) ), once it is ready. Our dev guide already tells you how to do it manually, and I have been dual-booting all my M1 machines from the beginning.

      Boot Camp isn't what you think it is. It is not an "other OS" feature. The first Boot Camp was a CSM module (BIOS compatibility) for the Mac EFI firmware, to make old versions of Windows work (which were not fully UEFI compatible), plus a GUI-based install assistant. Modern Macs no longer include CSM, and modern versions of Windows (and Linux) are fully UEFI-compatible. Nothing called "Boot Camp" is required to install Windows (or Linux) on a modern Intel Mac - the "Boot Camp" tool is just a stupid install assistant you can ignore. They are just UEFI machines. You plug in a USB stick with a Windows installer, add the Mac drivers, and just install it. Same for Linux. There is no it "not being fond" of anything; those Macs will boot any random UEFI executable placed in the standard path on any attached storage device's UEFI System Partition. Just like any PC. I am writing this comment on an iMac Retina 2015 running Linux. From a third-party NVMe drive even; the UEFI supports those fine if you plug it in via an adaptor. All this weird "Macs are special" mythology seems to come from slightly quirky/proprietary devices and hardware features that somehow people construct to be "Apple not liking third party software". What it actually is is Apple not *caring* about breaking compatibility with third-party software; when they put in the effort to support it (Windows Boot Camp drivers) it works, when they don't someone else can do it (Linux Intel Mac-specific drivers, and everything we're doing for M1). The whole point of our project is we are doing exactly this for M1 Macs, so they *will* work well. It doesn't matter what Apple does :-)

      3. Linux (and Windows) *already* run in a VM just fine (under qemu; not sure why everyone is waiting for VMWare and Parallels when open source tools already work - google "mac getutm"), but Linux in a VM will never have the performance of Linux on bare-metal hardware (e.g. native accelerated graphics). In fact, Linux on a VM on *macOS* is slower than it needs to be, because Apple do not use the M1's virtual GIC support, so their Hypervisor.framework (which all third-party virtualization apps are required to use) has a larger performance overhead emulating interrupts. Linux VMs running on Linux will quite likely benchmark faster than Linux VMs running on macOS on these machines, because yes, we already support some M1 features that Apple themselves don't :-)

      4. Apple will iterate on their hardware and firmware just like they always have, and we will iterate with them. Some parts of the M1 hardware that we are reverse engineering have been unchanged since the iPhone 2G; some parts even came from PASemi chips, as I mentioned in the article. M2 is almost certainly going to be 90% identical to M1; in fact, those M1X leaks look like it's largely the same thing with another CPU core cluster tacked on and twice the GPU cores. Some chip generations will require more forward-porting effort than others, e.g. when they make a generational change to the GPU, but many won't. Apple don't go changing things up for no reason or just to spite third-party developers; all these changes are things *they* also need to support, and so they only do them when there is a good reason. I bet for a good fraction of Apple's silicon iterations, once we have the M1 baseline well covered, full support will take on the order of weeks, even perhaps a day or two in some lucky cases (just adjusting device trees, pulling out chicken bits, and perhaps a small handful of patches to fix things up - in some cases zero Linux kernel patches might be needed, just a few changes to our bootloader). A new GPU ISA will push the timeline to months, but they aren't going to do that every year, and that's just about the worst possible case.

      1. Falmari Bronze badge

        Re: Serious questions

        Thanks for taking the time to post. Interesting info.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is anybody honestly surprised that a new Apple product is full of undocumented features and breaks most of the standards we come to expect from similar hardware? This is how they operate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Breaks most of the standards"

      Apple is big enough to be a standard in itself. There is PC and Mac. This is the Mac standard.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: "Breaks most of the standards"

        The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from. —Andrew S. Tanenbaum

      2. alain williams Silver badge

        Re: "Breaks most of the standards"

        There is PC and Mac.

        Apple stopped selling servers some years ago, thus all Macs are PCs (Personal Computers).

        The "PC vs Mac" meme was something dreamed up by marketing droids who saw things is terms of Microsoft vs Apple operating systems.

      3. LDS Silver badge

        Re: "Breaks most of the standards"

        It's not a standard if it's not documented. This is the usual Apple proprietary implementation to build its walled garden.

        1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

          Re: "Breaks most of the standards"

          Theoretically, all standards are open and well documented. Then there is what people use. Arguably Windows, iOS and Android are standards, but all are, to some extent, proprietary with Android having the least proprietary software, and therefore being the most open (note: The OS itself *is* open source, but the software required to mange the phone hardware is likely proprietary. iOS and Windows are both fairly well documented from a software development point of view, but not everything is documented. Microsoft and Apple both use undocumented APIs for certain functions.

          Then, all three operating systems do rely on various open and document standards to allow their devices to interoperate, but Microsoft and Apple both have a habit of implementing their own extensions to those standards that are sometimes included in a future version of the standard. Google have also done this to a large extent, but they tend to offer the changes to things like HTML to the relevant authorities before implementing them in their software, so they are at least cooperating with the standards authorities more than Apple or Microsoft.

          It's also worth noting that while standards compliant OSes are good ideas, what gets used is what most people know, and can buy software for, and that OS may or may not implement standards well. That's why the code for a lot of webpages is still an ungodly mess full of hacks to enable Internet Explorer support.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Windows is not a standard - C/C++ are standards

            As per title. I would not say "WIndows is a standard" - it's a proprietary implementation of an OS, although to avoid anti-trust sanctions it had to document a lot of interoperability features.

            C/C++ are standards - they are fully documented, although some implementations could follow the standards exactly. POSIX is a standard, and Linux does not follow it completely as well.

            The x86 platform is fairly well documented, as both Intel and AMD wish as many software as possible running on it.

            Apple is of course free to hide its implementations as long as it doesn't break relevant anti-trust rules, just let's not call it a "standard", maybe calling it "standard Apple behaviour" to keep their systems as close as possible is better.

            I wonder for how long software running on Macs can escape the Apple Store and its Apple Tax.

    2. gnasher729 Silver badge

      What standards exactly do you expect? I’m not aware of any.

    3. mevets Bronze badge

      By similar hardware, which arm-based (technically apple-arm-based, since they are independent of ARM) hardware are you referring to? A Raspberry Pi? Its obvious you hate apple; why try to bury it in subterfuge, when you could just post "I hate apple, and I hate that they keep making stuff people like". Try it, you might feel better.

  3. CrackedNoggin

    A long term issue is that if Asahi succeeds and flourishes with the ability to boot on a Mac, Apple will notice and move the goalposts on future hardware. That may not be a reason a not to try, but does interfere with the software principle of "write once, run on many".

    1. mevets Bronze badge

      Cracked indeed

      Why would apple want to move the goalposts? If people buy their gear, then become a zero support risk, wouldn't you want them as customers?

      Arm & Hammer Baking Soda ( no reference to the cpu designers ) once ran an ad campaign suggesting uses for baking soda, such as leaving an open box in the fridge to suppress odours ( does anybody really have this problem ), and to "freshen" your garbage pail by pouring some in. Marketing genius, buy our product, bring it home, and pour it into your garbage!

      In a not insubstantial way, that is what linux-on-m1 represents to apple; sell the gear and never hear from them again, until they come and buy a replacement.

    2. Ace2

      Why would Apple care? They’ve never tried to actively prevent other OSes from running. (Hackintoshes are a different matter.)

  4. Jason Hindle Silver badge

    This is the one negative side of M1

    I was hoping Apple would publicly document their new chip. The silence bordering on disdain, towards those porting Linux to the new hardware platform, demonstrates a closed mindset, I think.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is the one negative side of M1

      You need to think different, I think

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: This is the one negative side of M1

      Documenting the M1 and verifying the documentation against the actual chip would require a significant amount of effort, effort that's not cost effective unless Apple was planning to sell quantities of the part to what would then be potential competitors. As it is they can maintain their M1 developers and core OS developers as a close knit team, focusing on only the support that's necessary to keep the parts working satisfactorily while spending most effort on future developments.

      It sucks from a 'I'd like to use the part, too' but there's plenty of other processors around so playing with this part is more an academic exercise than a realistic option for new hardware. I don't think there's any magic to the processor, I'd guess any performance advantage would come from making the entire memory space the equivalent of L2 cache, something that would be entirely in keeping with Apple's philosphy of closed design of computing appliances.

      1. mevets Bronze badge

        Re: This is the one negative side of M1

        How many software devs work for Apple? How many on the kernel / device side of their SOCs? Do you really think that they don't have quality documentation produced?

        Publishing is a choice, not an obligation.

      2. Gary Stewart

        Re: This is the one negative side of M1

        "Documenting the M1 and verifying the documentation against the actual chip would require a significant amount of effort"

        Please correct me if I'm wrong but don't they do that when they design the chip?

      3. Adelio Silver badge

        Re: This is the one negative side of M1

        One would assume that apple DO have documentation for the M!, otherwise how would they be able to use it.

    3. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: This is the one negative side of M1

      Why would they bother?

      Seriously, what do they have to gain?

      A potential half dozen extra customers maybe?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: This is the one negative side of M1

        Apple don't have to publish docs for the M1.

        Let's say they did, and then a thriving community of Linux on Apple Silicon users grew over a few years. What then? It would mean fewer Linux users would have invested in open hardware, such as RISC V, over that time. That it turn might lead to less choice and control for users. Apple itself might get negative press if it then made a design decision that this hitchhiking band of Linux-on-Mac users didn't like. That's just a possible future, if Apple were to publish docs.

        It would seem that Apple's current policy of not encouraging, not blocking is as good as any other for most involved. Meh.

    4. Ace2

      Re: This is the one negative side of M1

      Have they ever documented anything? To me this just sounds like the 68K and PPC platforms all over again. The Intel days were different because it was all off-the-shelf chips.

      I guess it’s worse since there aren’t any logic gates or chip numbers to read anymore. Maybe there’s still a SWIM in there somewhere (Steve Wozniak Integrated Module, my favorite tech acronym).

    5. DevOpsTimothyC

      Re: This is the one negative side of M1

      If they documented their silicon then people could use that documentation to produce exploits like spectre, meltdown etc.

      Additionally people might find out if there is an equivalent of Intel's management engine in the M1

  5. Binraider

    OpenFirmware was lurking behind the G5 too. But Parts shared with AmigaOne? Is this a possible host for AmigaOS 4 that won’t break the bank? Nudge Hyperion.

    1. mevets Bronze badge

      Open Firmware originated in 1989 Sun SPARC machines, was continued across Apple and Sun machines for 30 odd years. Device tree was a derivative of the Open Firmware IEEE standard.

      If anything, it is the only *true* standard boot mechanism.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      It would be very Amiga-ish to depend on another manufacturer who doesn't play well with others and could easily wreck everything when the next generation (M2) comes along. You know, after looking at all possible decisions they choose the worst one, yet again.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There one law for Apple and ...

    If any other corporation other that Apple did something similar the Linux community would be up in arms and full of conspiracy theories. Remember the outrage when Microsoft had the temerity to do the sensible thing and abandon the old insecure and limited IBM BIOS and adopt Intel's UEFI Secure boot (something Apple had done years previously).

    Fast forward to today and we hear that the M1's boot mechanism is not only none standard but seems to be actively designed to shut out other OSes. And what do we get in the comments? More Apple apologists than complainers! Honestly, the double standard beggars belief!

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: There one law for Apple and ...

      I would agree with this sentiment if it actually held true. The problem is that there are relatively few Apple apologists here. The comments I'm seeing mostly either fall into the categories "Apple should have opened this more" or "Apple isn't going to open this more". How are either of those supportive of Apple's move? The "Apple won't open it more" people haven't said they're keeping things closed for our benefit, which is the most obvious Apple apology you could come up with. In fact, the most supportive comment I've seen so far basically says Apple won't bother because it won't add many customers, which seems only slightly supportive of their move.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There one law for Apple and ...

        Well the very first response was questioning the sanity of anyone wanting to run anything other than MacOS. Then someone chipped in Apple is so big they're their own standard. It doesn't really matter about numbers for or against. It's just that if any other company did this sort of thing there would be an almighty outcry. It's always muted with Apple; People just seem to love them no matter what just because they make nice shiny aspirational (i.e. expensive) hardware with that 'cool' Apple logo on it - I actually think Apple is seen more as a life style brand than an IT brand. But hats off to them, they're good at what they do, and the amount of money they've made is unbelievable! ;)

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: There one law for Apple and ...

          I disagree on most points.

          "Well the very first response was questioning the sanity of anyone wanting to run anything other than MacOS."

          No, it was questioning the sanity of buying a Mac to run Linux on. You can choose to view that as "only run Mac OS", a clear Apple fan, or "don't bother buying Macs", a clear detractor. Given that the comment also advocates ignoring Apple and building your own machine to run Linux, doesn't seem that one-sided to me.

          "Then someone chipped in Apple is so big they're their own standard."

          I'm not reading that as an Apple fan either. They're saying that Apple doesn't have to adhere to standards for business reasons, so it's unlikely they'll opt to do something in an open and standard way because they have market power.

          "It doesn't really matter about numbers for or against. It's just that if any other company did this sort of thing there would be an almighty outcry."

          Disagree. Basically every Android OEM has done this already. There was some annoyance and people circumventing it, but we don't think it's a conspiracy. We just don't like it. To some extent, it might be more muted with Apple just because we've come to expect it. They've always been less than thrilled with people messing with their products. They've locked down their mobile devices, soldered in everything on their computers, and have the only modern OS you can't run on something else (well, legally at least and it's hard). We're perhaps not surprised when they do something and it's not completely open.

    2. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: There one law for Apple and ...

      Interesting that according to your world view one is either a complainer or an “Apple apologist”.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There one law for Apple and ...

        Did I actually say that there weren't any other points of view? Are you familiar with the concept of 'mutual exclusivity'?

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: There one law for Apple and ...

      >If any other corporation other that Apple did something similar the Linux community would be up in arms and full of conspiracy theories.

      ...

      Honestly, the double standard beggars belief!

      No double standards, the Apple platform has always been totally proprietary: they have always built Apple hardware to run Apple software.

      Microsoft never owned the IBM PC platform and neither do they now, so there was, quite rightly, an outcry when MS with UEFI tried to make it proprietary and prevent it from running anything other than Windows.

      You'll find that the vendors of proprietary hardware also don't publish information necessary to facilitate a port of a third-party OS to their Unix platforms and yes the replacement model may have a totally different architecture, yet still run Unix - just not the binaries that came with the old model.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There one law for Apple and ...

        "Microsoft never owned the IBM PC platform and neither do they now, so there was, quite rightly, an outcry when MS with UEFI tried to make it proprietary and prevent it from running anything other than Windows."

        Haven't you just illustrated my point: When MS was perceived to be doing something proprietary, there was an outcry. Where's the outcry here over Apple's rapacious proprietary behaviour?

        For the record, I never believed the UEFI conspiracies and it turned out not to be true there was always the option to disable UEFI and it was quickly supported by Linux distros in any case. Similarly with the Office XML standards furore - all a load of hot air. Fast forward to today; just about every popular dev language (eg Python) has open libs for reading and writing Office docs.

        1. ppTRA

          Re: There one law for Apple and ...

          Apple is no Microsoft nor like any other PC manufacturer... It neither sells components nor licenses Operating Systems to other companies. It vertically integrates hardware and software and as such it not bound to every single standard that other companies need to follow in order to integrate different components. It would be ridiculous to assume that a completely different platform must follow all standards and direction of another competitor and that there shouldn’t be any variation or independent innovation. Does smartphone hardware follow the same design rules and standards of a PC?

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: There one law for Apple and ...

          >Haven't you just illustrated my point

          No - Apple have never shipped anything other than proprietary hardware with their proprietary OS already installed and have never provided any way to use that hardware other than via their proprietary OS.

          In my book, Microsoft could have made the Surface, like the Xbox, proprietary, since they build and ship that hardware with their proprietary OS pre-installed.

          However, much will depend on what MS decide to do with Windows on ARM - will they contribute an open ARM systems platform to the community, like IBM did with the PC or keep it proprietary and licence it to OEMs. It will be interesting to see if MS decide to stop supporting the IBM PC platform...

    4. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: There one law for Apple and ...

      > M1's boot mechanism is not only none standard but seems to be actively designed to shut out other OSes.

      If Apple had actively designed the M1 to lock out other OSs, this Linux team would not have got as far as they have this quickly - as we can learn from the history of iPhones.

      Everything obstacle the Linux team describes appears to be the merely the result of Apple actively designing a chip to run their OS using components they are experienced with. Which makes sense.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There one law for Apple and ...

        And conveniently, makes it very hard to boot anything other than MacOS! ;))

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: There one law for Apple and ...

          >And conveniently, makes it very hard to boot anything other than MacOS

          That is only because Apple don't publish the platform specifications (or can you point us at the relevant documentation?), just, like Android mobile phone makers make it very hard to install and boot anything other than their variant of Android...

    5. ppTRA

      Re: There one law for Apple and ...

      UEFI was originally developed by Intel for its own processors so why would Apple keep using it with a completely different architecture developed by Apple which already has roots in another type of booting process?

      It wouldn’t make any sense, it would mean trashing more than a decade of work in the secure boot process used in Apple SoCs and add extra difficulties to develop all Apple SoCs in tandem. It would also mean a lost opportunity to rethink the Mac!

      As for "actively designed to shut out other OSes", that is not true! A Apple didn’t lock the boot-loader. What Apple doesn’t do is give a lot of documentation about the SoC. Considering that the SoC can be a competitive advantage over other manufacturers one can understand that Apple isn't willing to give too much information away.

  7. usariocalve

    The one level interrupt is probably a legacy holdover from PPC, where there was only one interrupt level. When Apple transitioned to PPC they synthesized the 8 levels of 68k interrupts, just like these guys did.

    Interrupt levels are always iffy, because everyone always wants the highest priority one. So why bother with multiple levels when they all have to be arbitrated anyway?

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