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Early Work Is Underway On Reverse-Engineering The Apple M1 GPU

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  • Early Work Is Underway On Reverse-Engineering The Apple M1 GPU

    Phoronix: Early Work Is Underway On Reverse-Engineering The Apple M1 GPU

    Alyssa Rosenzweig who is known for her work on reverse-engineering Arm GPUs and in particular the multi-year effort so far working on the Panfrost open-source driver stack has taken up an interest in Apple's M1 graphics processor...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...pple-M1-GPU-RE

  • #2
    tbh that sounds very risky. and it will probably take too much time.
    but kudos for the effort. hope there will be some interesting findings

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    • #3
      An interesting effort. I wish them well.

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      • #4
        Stop helping apple.

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        • #5
          I can never understand why people waste their time on trying support something that was designed to not be supported like stuff from Apple and Nvidia.
          If users want to use hardware with Linux, they should just buy Linux and open source friendly hardware.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Danny3 View Post
            I can never understand why people waste their time on trying support something that was designed to not be supported like stuff from Apple and Nvidia.
            If users want to use hardware with Linux, they should just buy Linux and open source friendly hardware.
            Because people want or need the features of this hardware on their Linux system. Linux as a whole only benefits from supporting more hardware. Although I hope more companies open source their drivers, being able to use hardware is a core reason to choose an operating system.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by flower View Post
              tbh that sounds very risky. and it will probably take too much time.
              but kudos for the effort. hope there will be some interesting findings
              Originally posted by flower View Post
              I can never understand why people waste their time on trying support something that was designed to not be supported like stuff from Apple and Nvidia.
              If users want to use hardware with Linux, they should just buy Linux and open source friendly hardware.
              I had much the same first impression (as did half the internet, apparently). It's worth reading through the actual site (https://asahilinux.org/about/) and the project lead's Q&A (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMTfPSzrjXs, 3 hours!) because they address most of these comments.

              At the end of the day, it's worth noting that this project effectively got a bunch of people that would usually not contribute monetarily to linux stuff to sponsor upstream kernel and userspace development. In other words, something that a lot of linux on desktop and linux on ARM people could only dream of before this. Not saying you should stop ragging on Apple and its rabid fans, but 95% of this effort is going to help open hardware as well.

              Also if anyone can reverse engineer and port an ARM SoC GPU to linux, it's going to be Collabora.

              Edit: The part from the FAQ people here seem to care about:
              Does Apple allow this? Don’t you need a jailbreak?

              Apple allows booting unsigned/custom kernels on Apple Silicon macs without a jailbreak! This isn’t a hack or an omission, but an actual feature that Apple built into these devices. That means that, unlike iOS devices, Apple does not intend to lock down what OS you can use on Macs (though they probably won’t help with the development).

              Is this legal?

              As long as no code is taken from macOS in order to build the Linux support, the end result is completely legal to distribute and for end users to use, as it would not be a derivative work of macOS. Please see our Copyright & Reverse Engineering Policy for more information.
              Last edited by StillStuckOnSI; 07 January 2021, 02:18 PM. Reason: RTFM

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Danny3 View Post
                I can never understand why people waste their time on trying support something that was designed to not be supported like stuff from Apple and Nvidia.
                If users want to use hardware with Linux, they should just buy Linux and open source friendly hardware.
                I must disagree with lumping Nvidia and Apple together. They are actually very different. Nvidia fully supports Linux and works very hard to ensure their hardware works with it... what they dont do is fully embrace the open source religion.

                On the other hand Apple supports no one and actively works hard to ensure no one can support them. Apple and Nvidia are very different beasts. I would say dont wast your time reverse engineering Nvidia because they already support Linux... I would also say dont bother reverse engineering anything Apple because they will probably sue you.

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                • #9
                  Back when no hardware vendors supported Linux, reverse engineering stuff seemed like not just a worthwhile effort, but a necessity. Today however, I'd think these young developers would be doing a much greater service if they focused on improving software for the hardware from manufacturers that are friendly to Linux and open source, such as Raspberry Pi or AMD, etc...

                  But this is free software, and beggars can't be choosers. If reverse engineering Apple's hardware is what tickles these kids' gourds into action, that's what we'll get. Oh well. Hopefully Apple doesn't sue them into destitution.
                  Last edited by ed31337; 07 January 2021, 02:03 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Nothing wrong with trying to reverse engineer things for fun, but I agree that chasing after Apple in this case is probably a waste of time if you expect a working solution. Still, kudos to Alyssa!

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