What does Linus Torvalds use in his MacBook Air with Apple Silicon?

Linus Torvalds

The interest of Linus Torvalds for laptops with apple silicon It is no surprise and what is more, he himself admits that he now uses one of those teams. However, the distribution used was an issue that was somewhat up in the air, more than anything because Apple Silicon is supported mainly through Asahi, a project that, deep down, is not a distribution to use, but rather an attempt to make the Linux kernel work well on computers equipped with the bitten apple’s own processors.

Veteran journalist Steven Vaughan-Nichols, best known for his articles on ZDNet and covering Linux and open source news for decades, has been able to interview Linus Torvalds face-to-face for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. The opportunity presented itself with the Linux Plumbers Conference held recently in the city of Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland.

The interview touched on various topics, including the fact that after years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the top 20 kernel maintainers have been able to meet and see each other in person at the Linux Kernel Maintainer Summit, held on last day 15 also in the city of Dublin. Torvalds is expressed in the future because the interview was published on the 14th.

Since we’ve brought up the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown, Linus Torvalds has commented that it has barely affected kernel development. That was due to the fact that many of the main maintainers and developers, including Torvalds himself, work from home, so it is not possible to say that the circumstances have changed much.

Another interesting aspect is Oxide. On this subject, Torvalds explains that his inclusion in the stable branch of Linux does not seem that it will happen immediately:

I thought we’d have it for this one (Linux 6.0), but clearly that didn’t happen. I’m not going to say that it will make it to 6.1 (which will be out in October), but it’s been long enough that we just need to merge it, as not doing so isn’t helping anything. And it will happen, of course. Some people still think we might have a problem with that, but if there are problems two years from now, we can fix it then.”.

There is concern among kernel developers about the large number of extensions that are required to be able to implement Rust on Linux. An example of this is the new NVMe driver written in the aforementioned language, which needs 70 extensions to work.

MacBook Air

Source: Pixabay

Returning to Torvalds’ position, the creator of Linux acknowledges that for decades he has been using exceptions to the C standard: “I have been very eloquent in saying that the standard in this area is bullshit. And we’re going to ignore it because the standard is wrong. So the same will be true on the Rust side”. On the other hand, he is concerned about the stability and reliability of the Rust compiler, especially as it pertains to GCC, while things seem to be straightened out in Clang.

And to finish, we are going to solve the big question from the beginning: What distribution does Linus Torvalds use on his MacBook Air with Apple M2 processor? Well, there have been no changes here compared to previous machines, so still using Fedora Workstation, more specifically version 36. Torvalds was initially displeased to come across the Pacman package manager in Asahi Linux because he had apparently used it little to nothing, but he was able to master it in no time and then install Fedora.

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Linus Torvalds uses Fedora because it provides him with an easy-to-install and user-friendly environment for developing the kernel, but that’s not even remotely true of the MacBook Air with Apple Silicon, on which he has to juggle installing the system he’s running on. feel more comfortable.

The creator of Linux acknowledges that installing Fedora on a MacBook running Apple Silicon is a process he cannot recommend to mortals. On the other hand, and despite its progress, the work done by Asahi still has shortcomings such as the fact that it does not support the floating point unit of the Apple M2, so it cannot make 3D acceleration work and therefore it is unable to support all GNOME graphical effects. However, none of this seems to matter to Torvalds, who prefers to have the desktop like this, with fewer effects, noticing it more agile, and who also voluntarily applies the same to his other machines.

The web browser is another stumbling block. Torvalds likes Google Chrome, but it doesn’t yet have a build for ARM on Linux, so he has to settle for a Chromium build available for that architecture and port his passwords, which he stores in his Google account, to via mobile.

In short, Linus Torvalds remains faithful to Fedora, even if he has to complicate himself to use it on his Apple M2-based MacBook Air. The Asahi team is doing something really impressive considering the conditions and resources available to them, but it cannot be ruled out that their work will be merged in the future or that it will become a parallel line of the kernel that ends up being officially used by the distributions.