Need a challenge? Reverse engineer Apples M1 / M2

Need a challenge in life,
Some choose to reverse engineer Apple tech…

Got to hand it to the people who actually do it.

Given that this has taken years for the team over at nouveau, the Asahi crew are doing surprisingly well.

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Apple hardware is quite pricey. It’s sort of boutique hardware, for the fashion-conscious computer user. Too rich for my blood. Apple has many ways to confound the efforts to port Linux to their hardware, if at any time they wish to pull a nasty move (not unlike how how Microsoft busts an ACPI, UEFI, or Pluton maneuver, to make Linux-installation much harder).

My sense is that the impact on the world would be much greater in the opposite direction - towards the cheaper hardware like the Raspberry Pi 4 (and Linux is very well supported there, comparatively speaking, by the vendor).

I would argue that strides towards making the Raspberry Pi ecosystem better will open the door to huge numbers of people in less rich countries.

Here’s an example: how about adding new or more convenient language support, like making fcitx5 easy to install and set up in Raspberry Pi OS Desktop?

Here’s what it looks like, for example, to enable fcitx5 support in Ubuntu (to get “Intelligent Pinyin” Chinese, where the complex Chinese symbols “auto-complete”, see the blue text editor window at the top, where fcitx5 input is shown working):

Good luck similarly enabling fcitx5 in Raspberry Pi OS!

Yes, you can install Ubuntu on a Raspberry Pi 4 with 8GB of RAM, but as to a Raspberry Pi 400, with only 4GB of RAM? Forget Ubuntu, as it’s such a RAM hog.

So for users who would want to write in Chinese (vast numbers of them), a Raspberry Pi 400 would not be appealing for them (even if so much more affordable than, say, a Mac M1 or M2), because fcitx5 is very nasty to set up.

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but there are several arm distros (cough cough like EndeavourOS Arm) that provide lightweight DEs like LXQt and WMs that can run well on 4 GB ram

Worth reading to understand the progress Asahi is making on working GPU performance on M1 / M2.

Real linux desktop use already looks a real possibility, if you don’t need to run Steam or the latest Games.

The progress they are making, makes it look like they have a chance of competing against Nvidia sooner then I thought.

If you wrote off Apple hardware for running Linux, then think again.