'Yes, Torvalds said he'd love to have one of the new M1-powered Apple
laptops, but it won't run Linux and, in an exclusive interview he
explains why getting Linux to run well on it isn't worth the trouble.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes via ZDNet:
Recently, on the Real World Technologies forum, Linux's creator Linus
Torvalds was asked what he thought of the new M1-powered Apple
laptops. Torvalds replied, "I'd absolutely love to have one if it just
ran Linux." You may think, "what's the problem? Doesn't Linux run on
practically every processor on the planet from 80386s to IBM s390x to
the ARM family of which Apple's M1 chip is a child?" Well, yes, yes it
does. But it takes more than a processor to run a computer.
Torvalds would like to run Linux on these next-generation Macs. As he
said, "I've been waiting for an ARM laptop that can run Linux for a
long time. The new Air would be almost perfect, except for the OS. And
I don't have the time to tinker with it, or the inclination to fight
companies that don't want to help." Aye, there's the rub. In an
exclusive interview, Torvalds expanded on why he can't see porting
Linux to the M1-based Macs. "The main problem with the M1 for me is
the GPU and other devices around it, because that's likely what would
hold me off using it because it wouldn't have any Linux support unless
Apple opens up."
Still, while Torvalds knows Apple opening up their chipsets "seems
unlikely, but hey, you can always hope." Even if that "wasn't an
issue," Torvalds continued, "My personal hope would be more cores.
Even in a laptop, I don't care about 20-hour battery life (and I
wouldn't get it building kernels anyway). I'd rather plug it in a bit
more often, and have 8 big cores." As for the Mac's limited RAM -- no
more than 16GBs on current models -- he can live with that. "16GBs is
actually ok by me because I don't tend to do things that require a lot
more RAM. All I do is read email, do git and kernel compiles. And yes,
I have 64GB in my desktop, but that's because I have 32 cores and 64
threads, and I do hugely parallel builds. Honestly, even then 32GB
would be sufficient for my loads." That said, other developers and
power users may want more from the new Macs, Torvalds thinks. "The
people who really want tons of memory are the ones doing multiple VMs
or huge RAW file photography and video." '
-- source: https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/20/11/24/2225209
Dept. of Computer Science
University of Waikato, NZ
+64 (7) 577-5304