No Linux on newer Macs?

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Swampthing
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No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by Swampthing »

I just watched WWDC 2020 Keynote(news from Apple) and they will ship Macs with their own "Custom silicon", so they are dropping Intel CPU's.
Do you think that the "Custom silicon" will lock the device to macOS only?
I certainly hope not, but that could be a problem when that device isn't supported by macOS any longer.
I know some are using MacBooks, Mac minis and iMacs with Linux and maybe that will only be possible with Macs using Intel CPU's.
I plan to buy an older MacBook and install Mint on it.
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Re: No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by deck_luck »

It is not only the new CPU, but the ancillary subsystems and interfaces supporting the new CPU. If they use all proprietary silicon, you can expect it to be difficult (forehead slap Nvidia) for Linux development as well as put a damper on the future of Hackintosh.

It might will be awhile before they drop the Intel line. After all, they recently introduced the long anticipated Intel based MAC PRO (outrageous price tag). If they are smart they will incrementally roll out the new ARM based toys. Hopefully, after correcting all of the bugs the ambiguous beta testers find, they will continue to incrementally roll out more advanced products. If the Apple computing products price performance begins to compete with Wintel, it would make them more attractive.
Last edited by deck_luck on Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by carum carvi »

I have never been an Apple user, but I am wondering what are the positives of using Linux on Apple hardware compared to using Linux on hardware preinstalled with Microsoft? I only keep reading about all the problems Linux users have with Apple hardware. So will we miss Apple hardware with it's 7% marketshare for desktops when Apple has got such a bad compatibility history with Linux?

I have read that one of the reasons that Apple switches to ARM processors instead of Intel processors is because ot the hardware related bugs like Spectre and Meltdown. Even Linus Torvalds once cried out in despair if we should be using ARM processors from now on, in order to protect ourselves against these hardware related Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities.
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Re: No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by Portreve »

I've been thinking about this for a bit, and I'll bet this is an issue that'll kind of split the opinion of the FOSS community. Half will say Mac using folk are valid users of the platform, and the other half will say "*#¥£ Mac users" since they're also kinda given very short shrift.

So yeah, I wanna see how this plays out.
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Re: No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by Pierre »

another Linux Users Group .. says, that "there will still be another Ten Years of Intel Hardware",
- that they will still be able to re-use that Intel Hardware, again & again . .
:mrgreen:
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Re: No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by Kadaitcha Man »

Swampthing wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 5:26 pm
Do you think that the "Custom silicon" will lock the device to macOS only?
I really doubt that there's any other reason. One only needs to know that the Apple business model, get people to pay big bucks and force them to keep coming back to pay more big bucks, isn't served by a compatible CPU that can have any OS flung at it.
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Re: No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by Portreve »

Kadaitcha Man wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:53 am
Swampthing wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 5:26 pm
Do you think that the "Custom silicon" will lock the device to macOS only?
I really doubt that there's any other reason. One only needs to know that the Apple business model, get people to pay big bucks and force them to keep coming back to pay more big bucks, isn't served by a compatible CPU that can have any OS flung at it.
My best guess (personally) is that at some point there will be efforts to port to Bionic. As there obviously are any number of GNU+Linux users who own Macs of various descriptions (in particular, Mac laptops) it seems almost inevitable there will be development efforts for all of Apple's new internal components and system architecture. The degree to which that will be insurmountable is, at this point, an unanswerable question.

I know Apple has gotten in trouble in the past over how they handle their hardware and OS requirements, etc., so it remains to be seen if anyone will decide to sue Apple again once they have fully embraced desktop (as opposed to smart phone / tablet "mobile") ARM. I mean, they will have effectively taken away the choice users can presently make to run Windows or any other OS on it, whereas at the moment Apple can still honestly state that it is possible to run OSs on it which are not macOS.
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Re: No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by deck_luck »

carum carvi wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:08 am
I have never been an Apple user, but I am wondering what are the positives of using Linux on Apple hardware compared to using Linux on hardware preinstalled with Microsoft?
...
The current MAC OS does not support the older (~pre 2012) machines. Some users resort to repurposing their Apple machines to run Linux. If the older machine still works for their needs, why not continue using it with an active Linux distribution receiving updates?
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Re: No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by Portreve »

deck_luck wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:52 pm
carum carvi wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:08 am
I have never been an Apple user, but I am wondering what are the positives of using Linux on Apple hardware compared to using Linux on hardware preinstalled with Microsoft?
...
The current MAC OS does not support the older (~pre 2012) machines. Some users resort to repurposing their Apple machines to run Linux. If the older machine still works for their needs, why not continue using it with an active Linux distribution receiving updates?
I would second what deck_luck said. Of course, that also really depends on what you're in the Mac OS X (a.k.a. "macOS") environment for to begin with. To be fair, Apple (and others) have some pretty cool and clever (though proprietary) software which is not at all represented in GNU+Linux (for example, their music education software, or Garage Band, etc.) and of course if you really need the high-end pro software for features just not available elsewhere, then you're going to have to run Mac OS X, or some versions of macOS, or buy a new Mac to run later and/or the current version of macOS.

I ran LM full time on my 2011 MBP for something like four years. I ultimately put macOS back on it, having to go through the multi-step upgrade process from 10.8 up through 10.13.6, once I got a proper desktop, and I did that mostly to study the changes and get familiar with significantly newer versions of it than what I used "way back when", and that's just because I want to be able to legitimately claim more up-to-date knowledge in tech job interviews.

Y'know, the funny thing is that even though it's a laptop and it's (obviously) highly portable and "convenient" to use at the drop of a hat anywhere, or take it out with me, I just hardly ever touch the thing. I just walk back into my office and power up my desktop. Which, of course, (mostly) runs LM. shhhh... it also runs Windows 10 when I swap M.2 drives, but don't tell anyone.
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Re: No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by absque fenestris »

Advanced RISC Machines Ltd. – Arm 6
In the late 1980s, Apple Computer and VLSI Technology started working with Acorn on newer versions of the Arm core. In 1990, Acorn spun off the design team into a new company named Advanced RISC Machines Ltd., which became Arm Ltd when its parent company, Arm Holdings plc, floated on the London Stock Exchange and NASDAQ in 1998. The new Apple-Arm work would eventually evolve into the Arm6, first released in early 1992. Apple used the Arm6-based Arm610 as the basis for their Apple Newton PDA.
...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_architecture
The connections between Apple and Acorn/ARM have existed for 30 years now.
It is rather surprising that after the rash abandonment of the PPC G5 processor in 2006, Apple switched to Intel. Even back then I would have expected more massive participation and development in ARM and its installation at least in the smallest laptops.
They were probably afraid to make a belly landing again, as they did with the Newton.

However, it remains to be seen whether the current decision is particularly wise.

On the remaining Intel Macs, Linux (Mint) should be a good (and the only ...) option for long-term use ...
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Re: No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by carum carvi »

In Bill Gates’s initial strategy, devised in the 1970s, Unix was to be the core of the Microsoft platform. Microsoft’s version of Unix, called Xenix, was first released in 1980 (before MS-DOS). It rapidly became the most popular variant of Unix
Microsoft used to use Unix and Apple used to use ARM architecture. Thank you for that post about Apple Absque Fenestris, that's an eye opener for me.

That Microsoft has recently bought Linux programmers and is using Linux now, THAT makes sense to me. That Apple will start using ARM processors again however, made me wonder what the Apple managers DO know, that I did not know:

https://www.quora.com/Why-will-Apple-no ... l-chip-now

Dont want to spoil the cliffhanger, but basically it is because of a the ever enduring, never dying PROFIT motive, why Apple will change back to ARM processors pretty soon. What else could the reason be :D The same profit motive extends to Microsoft buying up Linux programmers.

The original poster Swampthing asked if we wont be able to run Linux on those newer ARM powered Macs? Linus Torvalds in 2016 about ARM processors:
“What matters is all the infrastructure around the instruction set, and x86 has all that infrastructure... at a lot of different levels,” Torvalds said. “It’s opening a way that no other architecture is.”

A lot of application development happens on PCs with x86 chips from Intel or AMD. Compatibility matters for x86 chips and PCs, which have a unified model around hardware, development, and other infrastructure.

The same can’t be said about ARM. From hardware vendor perspective, that leads to a fragmented market, Torvalds said.
That leads to a FRAGMENTED market. I quote it again, so I guess the original poster is right about his question/prediction that we wont be able to use Linux on newer Macs. Does it matter? Nope. There are plenty of Windows computers with Intel hardware left. Plenty is an understatement. It will matter though to recycling older Apple hardware in the future, that cant be given a new life again with "Linux Inside".

I still wonder though what the difference is between using Linux on Microsoft based hardware (x86) compared to using Linux on Apple based hardware? What's the difference beside the good looks of Apple hardware? Apple had tons of hardware compatibility conflicts with Linux software before and now we are going back to that era. Apple, it was nice knowing you, but as a Linux user I now say: GOODBYE...
Last edited by carum carvi on Sat Jul 18, 2020 3:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by absque fenestris »

carum carvi wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 12:01 am
...
I still wonder though what the difference is between using Linux on Microsoft based hardware (x86) compared to using Linux on Apple based hardware?
...
Apple had tons of hardware compatibility conflicts with Linux software before and now we are going back to that era.
...
Apple computers are ordinary x86 Intel machines with ordinary innards that are sold as delicacies.

Apple Intel Macs from 2007 can be operated under Linux without any problems. At least not more complicated than other brands.

Apple PPC Macs up to 2005 are more picky ...

Only the first Intel models from 2006, which some people want to run as 64-bit machines - at the expense of their nerves - are cumbersome ... ... they are set up as 32-bit machines in no time.
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Re: No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by carum carvi »

absque fenestris wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 3:00 am
Apple PPC Macs up to 2005 are more picky ...
With the future development of Apple ARM processors it seems like we are going back to that more "picky" kind of era, in which Apple computers wont cooperate well with Linux software...

BUT, what if ARM processors became a MASS product? What if Windows decided to change towards ARM processors as well, that would be a great thing! Because what I have read about ARM processors is that they are much more friendly to our batteries. Longer battery life, less energy consumption. And there is no suffocating Intel monopoly, which is profitable for anyone, that's why Apple is switching to ARM processors; PROFIT. Why doesnt Microsoft make the same change? Of course Microsoft already has a monopoly situation from which it profits abundantly. Why change a winning team...?
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Re: No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by absque fenestris »

Well, ARM is already a mass product. Which smartphone and which tablet wouldn't have been built around an ARM licensed processor?
OK, there are some ...

https://www.theverge.com/2019/5/29/1864 ... ouncements
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Re: No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by carum carvi »

Well that's beating around the bush. The desktop market is completely VOID of Arm processors. The mobile phone market is ARM dominated though, you are quite correct about that. That mobile phone market for Apple is another reason WHY it is profitable for Apple to switch to ARM processors on their laptops and desktops as well. All the apps on their popular Iphones will be interchangeable with desktops software when they have switched to ARM processors. My young cousins and nieces snob / disregard anything else but an Iphone. Who wouldnt want to use the exact same apps on their phones as well as on their desktop/laptop? It's the PROFIT motive again and again....
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Re: No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by absque fenestris »

Apple has been doing this for a long time. iOS is and was always a slimmed-down OSX / macOS and meanwhile everything is called macOS (correct me ...).
And yes, if you look into a MacBook, you have the feeling that an iPhone would have got megalomania.
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Re: No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by Portreve »

carum carvi wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 3:24 am
With the future development of Apple ARM processors it seems like we are going back to that more "picky" kind of era, in which Apple computers wont cooperate well with Linux software...
If you go back to the 1980s, just about everybody was building their own hardware. IBM built their home PCs around the 8088 (and later the 80286, from which we get the term "x86"), the Apple II series used the 6502, Macs used 68000s — as did the Amiga — and so on. It was all a jumbled mess. And that doesn't even begin to address the multitude of other architectural differences between all the platforms.
BUT, what if ARM processors became a MASS product?
It would depend upon how similar the rest of the systems were. If the chipsets are different, if other system resources are different, if any/all of it is unpublished, then that would cause some very serious problems, maybe even (as a practical matter) the death of the GNU+Linux platform itself, though obviously libre software itself wouldn't die since that's not a technological thing, but a licensing thing. So, that means if ARM were to be adopted generally, then we need to also see a pretty much one-to-one replacement for all the current x86-centric bits.
What if Windows decided to change towards ARM processors as well, that would be a great thing!
Microsoft isn't in charge of the hardware they run on. They've always been dependent upon hardware vendors, and they've always had to make their stuff work on others' hardware. So, the correct question is: how do you encourage a bunch of computer makers, who in truth are for the most part nothing more than bandwagon hangers-on and not developers or pioneers at anything, to move away from the hardware their business model is based around? None of them want to be the tall poppy, and most of them are in no position to "be the one who reinvents the wheel".

Oh, and lastly, ARM isn't some kind of open standard where anybody who wants to can build the CPUs, etc. So, how does this actually benefit the whole of the tech industry? Seems like they'd go from being beholden to Intel to being beholden to Apple/Acorn. I see little point (from a business standpoint) in making a move. If anything, they could use this as a means of getting rid of one industry competitor — Apple.
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Re: No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by farkas »

Ubuntu already has an Arm version. I'm running it on a Rasbberry Pi4, Ubuntu-20.04-server-arm64 with mate desktop.
It "might" be possible to run Linux on Apple's new arm based PCs.
If and/or when mother board manufactures would make and Arm based mother board, there would be another choice besides Intel or AMD. A little more competition would be nice.
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Re: No Linux on newer Macs?

Post by deepakdeshp »

I use the default Raspbian on my raspberry. The pi is a beast with so many real time possibility, strong community and extensive documentation.
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