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Developer Launched on Patreon Crowdfunding Platform Collecting Money for Linux adaptation for Mac on M1

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Developer Hector Martin (Hector Martin) launched a fundraiser on the Patreon crowdfunding platform to adapt Linux for Mac on Apple Silicon M1 with ARM architecture. He has already collected (and in less than a day) the first part of the required funds – $ 4000 per month. This amount will be enough to buy the necessary devices with an M1 chip for reverse engineering and research, as well as to pay for part of the working time that Martin will spend on this project.

On Patreon, project investors pay its initiator a certain amount every month or per unit of completed work, instead of transferring a one-time amount, as is done on Kickstarter.

Martin will begin full-scale work on the project in January 2021. Martin plans to primarily provide Linux support for Mac Mini with M1 chip. Further, his project provides for providing users with the opportunity to daily use Linux on other devices with M1 – MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

Martin explained that all his developments for this project will be open source, he plans to regularly upload them to GitHub. Moreover, the open source code will be dual-licensed under the GPL and MIT to ensure that its development can be reused in other operating systems where possible.

In addition, Martin reassured his employers about this project. He explained that its implementation is legal, and during development there will be no legal claims from Apple. So,
reverse engineering to ensure compatibility is permitted by law in many countries around the world. Moreover, Apple on its devices in normal mode allows downloading kernels that are not digitally signed without the need for jailbreak. Also, his project will not use code elements from macOS and Darwin.

Martin has experience in adapting Linux to Nintendo Switch / Wii, Microsoft Kinect and Sony Playstation 4. In describing his new project, Martin explained that it is quite possible to run Linux on Apple Silicon, although it will be difficult.

Linus Torvalds recently announced that he would like to purchase a new Mac with Apple’s Silicon M1 chip, but it won’t work with Linux. He explained that “Apple can run Linux in their cloud, but their laptops cannot.”

Torvalds also explained why he doesn’t see the possibility of porting Linux to an M1-based Mac: “The main problem with the M1 for me is the GPU and related devices, because it probably won’t have Linux support unless Apple makes a move in this direction”. That being said, Torvalds isn’t sure that Apple will open the chip up for third-party development.

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