Linus Torvalds has announced Linux 5.19, and this time released a version of Linux from an Arm-based Apple MacBook running Asahi Linux.
Torvalds says Linux 5.19 contains “nothing really interesting” and a “lot of random stuff”.
The most interesting thing about the release, according to Torvalds, is the fact he used an Arm64 development platform. Torvalds has been keen on using an Apple M1 MacBook Air, which he’s previously said would be “almost perfect, except for the OS.”
Last year the Asahi Linux project was working to bring the Arch Linux distro to Apple’s M1 architecture. But key Linux maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman (gregkh) predicted it would be difficult, as no one outside of Apple had the official specifications for its Arm chips.
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“For ten years or so I’d be complaining about the fact that it’s really, really hard to find ARM hardware that is usable for development. They exist, but they have certainly not been real competition for x86 so far,” Torvalds said shortly after Apple Silicon announced.
Apple’s Arm hardware and a viable Linux OS for it has changed the status of Arm as a development platform, according to Torvalds.
“It’s something I’ve been waiting for for a long time, and it’s finally reality, thanks to the Asahi team. We’ve had Arm64 hardware around running Linux for a long time, but none of it has really been usable as a development platform until now,” wrote Torvalds on Sunday.
“It’s the third time I’m using Apple hardware for Linux development – I did it many years ago for PowerPC development on a PPC970 machine. And then a decade+ ago when the Macbook Air was the only real thin-and-lite around. And now as an arm64 platform.”
Torvalds doesn’t clarify what Apple Mac model he’s currently using but does confirm it’s a laptop, so it’s possible he’s using Apple’s new M2 MacBook Air but also possible it’s the M1 MacBook Air.
He cautioned he hadn’t used the Apple hardware for “real work” yet, but would now get to try the Linux kernel on Arm64 the next time he’s on the road.
“Not that I’ve used it for any real work, I literally have only been doing test builds and boots and now the actual release tagging. But I’m trying to make sure that the next time I travel, I can travel with this as a laptop and finally dogfooding the Arm64 side too,” wrote Torvalds.
As for Asahi, the project last month released an update that brought support for Apple’s Mac Studio, Bluetooth and M2 support.
Torvalds notes that the next version of the Linux kernel will likely be 6.0 because he’s “starting to worry about getting confused by big numbers again.”