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New Patches Posted For Bringing Up The Apple M1 SoC On Linux

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  • New Patches Posted For Bringing Up The Apple M1 SoC On Linux

    Phoronix: New Patches Posted For Bringing Up The Apple M1 SoC On Linux

    Security firm Corellium has been working on enabling the Apple M1 SoC under Linux and last month they posted initial Linux kernel patches for the Apple M1. Meanwhile independent developer Hector Martin has also been working on Apple M1 enablement via crowdfunding and today he posted his initial set of Linux kernel patches for bringing up the Apple 2020 hardware under Linux...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...-Linux-Patches

  • #2
    Isn't running unauthorized software against the eula or something?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ddriver View Post
      Isn't running unauthorized software against the eula or something?
      Nah apple allows booting custom OS. As long as it's clean room reverse engineering, it's ok.

      But bundling macOS binaries wouldn't be allowed for example.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by kvuj View Post

        Nah apple allows booting custom OS. As long as it's clean room reverse engineering, it's ok.

        But bundling macOS binaries wouldn't be allowed for example.
        Dunno, doesn't seem like them to allow their hardware to run an os that is not their walled garden...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ddriver View Post

          Dunno, doesn't seem like them to allow their hardware to run an os that is not their walled garden...
          How so? Their current hardware has semi-official Windows support with Bootcamp. Yes the iOS devices don't but those are in a different market segment.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by thunderbird32 View Post

            How so? Their current hardware has semi-official Windows support with Bootcamp. Yes the iOS devices don't but those are in a different market segment.
            Well, it is intel hardware really. It is all about business model. Bootcamp windoze support is a legacy remnant of the times they were fare more a hardware company than they are today. They make the bulk of their profits on software and services.

            They are poised to lose all of that if it suddenly becomes possible to get the benefits of their brand new soc outside of their walled garden ecosystem.

            Well, all that provided the soc can offer the same performance without leveraging their specific code, which I personally seriously doubt.

            But nonetheless... and in any case, it doesn't strike me as the company that offers options, especially independent ones... heck they even solder the ssd onboard, rendering a wear-off-able component practically non-replaceable.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ddriver View Post
              They are poised to lose all of that if it suddenly becomes possible to get the benefits of their brand new soc outside of their walled garden ecosystem.
              They would probably face some legal trouble if they prevented any sort of unsigned OS to run (on a pc. I'm still uncertain how the general public accepted that phones were somehow different than computers).

              They probably decided that not providing documentation for their SOC would kill any attempts while avoiding that trouble.

              Originally posted by ddriver View Post
              Well, all that provided the soc can offer the same performance without leveraging their specific code, which I personally seriously doubt.
              Considering custom instructions were found on the M1, that is a real possibility. However, other than some specific vector/matrix stuff I'm not sure how they could implement that.

              They do have a history of making their apps behave like special snowflakes though. Remember when their system apps completely ignored macOS' firewall?

              Originally posted by ddriver View Post
              But nonetheless... and in any case, it doesn't strike me as the company that offers options, especially independent ones... heck they even solder the ssd onboard, rendering a wear-off-able component practically non-replaceable.
              That's the worst thing about Apple. They make really good stuff (mostly because of their budget), but they are actively crippling user freedom. Just let your engineers have fun, I'm sure there are many at Apple that would love to release their internal documentation.
              Last edited by kvuj; 04 February 2021, 09:42 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ddriver View Post
                Well, all that provided the soc can offer the same performance without leveraging their specific code, which I personally seriously doubt.
                What the hell is this magic "custom code"? If a benchmark shows that a third-party game is running very fast, how can it be about Apple's code? Apple didn't write that game, they didn't write the benchmarks.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by curfew View Post
                  What the hell is this magic "custom code"? If a benchmark shows that a third-party game is running very fast, how can it be about Apple's code? Apple didn't write that game, they didn't write the benchmarks.
                  It is a very hybrid soc, it has a lot of black box asic modules. Of course, it would be too laborious to expect developers to dive into using that directly, plus it is a bit too open and low level than a company of that grade would be willing to offer.

                  The acceleration is baked into their SDK APIs, if you use their platform APIs you get the performance, you don't need to do anything special, just relink your code against the new code.

                  Needless to say, this won't work if you are linking against libraries that use general purpose code all the way down. As far as I know, they haven't released a specification of all the extended functionality of the soc, and they likely never will, after all that will all but dispel all the hype they build around the m1. Idiots out there genuinely believe they've build some amazingly magical cpu cores, when in reality their actual cpu cores are fairly average, it is the unprecedented amount of purpose specific hardware they managed to cram into the soc thanks to the 5nm process.

                  The 8 core m1, which is really more of a 4+1 core, as the 4 small cores roughly sum up to a big core performance, that chip has about twice the transistors of a true 8 core zen2 apu. Twice the transistors, because they are put into transistor count inefficient purpose dedicated hardware, which is also where the power efficiency comes from. Yet people don't seem to be able to put 2 and 2 together... In fact having full control over both software and hardware is what enabled them to make such a custom and optimized platform with relative ease - it is easy when all the software has to run against just one specific architecture. ASIC support comes to windoze and linux too, but with so many hardware and software vendors in the pot, support will be scarce and limited to a small subset of common functionality, with leveraging full support requiring explicitly targeting each and every specific architecture and its capabilities.

                  Anyway, given that both performance and power efficiency will most likely suck without their software stack, they might be willing to let people try and run alternative operating systems just for the sake of showcasing "how much they suck compared to the engineering prowess of crappul".

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ddriver View Post
                    Isn't running unauthorized software against the eula or something?
                    Apple doesn't really care whether you run unauthorized software, so long as it doesn't break their DRM and cause monetary losses. And this, is exactly how M1 macs are set up - you are free to disable system protections, if you are willing to disable DRM, and iOS application support. Linux is literally the least of Apple's concerns, since AppStore does not deal with command line tools. In fact, having a somewhat (very slightly) open hardware can be beneficial to bring more users over to the optional walled garden.

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