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Linus Torvalds uses an Arm-powered M2 MacBook Air to release latest Linux kernel

Expanding / Slowly but surely, the Asahi Linux team is getting Linux running on Apple Silicon Macs.

Apple/Asahi Linux

We generally don’t cover individual releases of the Linux kernel. This is because most updates are routine. The Linux kernel update fixes some bugs, improves support for existing hardware, and makes some forward-looking changes in anticipation of new hardware. Kernel version 5.19 is no exception. Pholonics and OMG! Ubuntu! Both give a good overview of the changes.

However, there is one interesting note about this release that Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds mentions in the release notes. In particular M2-equipped version of Apple’s MacBook Air.

“That’s what I’ve been waiting for long [sic] Torvalds wrote: “Thanks to the Asahi team, it’s finally a reality. We’ve been using arm64 hardware for running Linux for a long time, but until now none of them were really usable as a development platform.”

Torvalds runs Linux on his M2 MacBook with help from Asahi Linux. Asahi Linux is a distribution that has worked hard to reverse-engineer Apple’s hardware. Asahi and his team’s goal is to feed all this work into the main his Linux kernel so that all distros can benefit. Asahi has been relatively quick to add support for new Apple chips such as the M2 and M1 Ultra as they are released. .

In November 2020, Torvalds wrote that the then-new M1 version of the Air “would be nearly perfect” as an Arm Linux laptop, but “I don’t have the time to mess with it and I don’t want to fight the companies that do it. ‘ said. I don’t want to help ”

On one level, this news is just a rather interesting trivia. For most Linux users, it doesn’t matter which computer Torvalds is using now. Also, Asahi Linux is still in its rough nascent state, with many features half-functional or non-functional. -functional.But as Asahi contributor Hector Martin Note“real people…using Linux on real modern ARM64 platforms” with the latest version of the Arm instruction set and “near-upstream kernel” has ripple effects that benefit the rest of the ecosystem effect.

More people using the Arm version of Linux means more people fixing Arm-related bugs that benefit all distributions, finding and fixing Arm-specific issues in their software. It means more people (“dogfooding,” as Torvalds notes in his notes). Ultimately, the experience of using Linux on Arm hardware should improve for everyone, but it could take years for these benefits to wane. But combined with hardware initiatives such as Qualcomm’s upcoming high-performance Arm chips and Microsoft’s commitment to Arm hardware and software, Arm-powered PCs are more attractive than traditional Intel- and AMD-powered x86 PCs. It can be a competitive alternative.

Also worth noting is that Torvalds believes that the 5.20 release of the Linux kernel will eventually become version 6.0. This is not because of a specific feature update, but because “I’m starting to worry about getting confused by big numbers again.” Kernel his versions 3.x and 4.x also rolled over to the next major his version number around the 20th release.

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