Developer seeks to crowdfund Linux for Apple Silicon project

Mac Mini M1 Chip
Mac Mini M1 Chip (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Developer Hector Martin has started a crowdfunding project to bring Linux support to Apple silicon.
  • Martin says it is possible to run Linux on an Apple Silicon Mac, but that the project needs a lot of work.

Developer Hector Martin (marcan) has started a crowdfunding project to bring native Linux support to Apple Silicon, an undertaking he says is a "massive project"

Announced on Twitter, Martin stated:

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The Patreon page has five respective levels of backing, and has already seen 409 people sign up to support the project, meaning the project is 39% of the way to its support goal. From the project description?

Apple just released a new range of ARM-based Apple Silicon Macs that blow every other ARM machine in the same class out of the water. Wouldn't it be nice if they could run Linux too? As it turns out, they can, but someone needs to do the work. Since these devices are brand new and bespoke silicon, porting Linux to run on them is a huge undertaking. Well beyond a hobby project, it is a full-time job.This is where I need your help. By becoming a patron, you will be allowing me to focus on this project as my primary job, and spend much more time on it that I ever could as a side project.The goal is to bring Linux support on Apple Silicon macs to the point where it is not merely a tech demo, but is actually an OS you would want to use on a daily driver device. To do this, there is a huge amount of work to be done. Running Linux on things is easy, but making it work well is hard. Drivers need to be written for all devices. The driver for the completely custom Apple GPU is the most complicated component, which is necessary to have a good desktop experience. Power management needs to work well too, for your battery life to be reasonable.

Martin says that no one will be charged the monthly Patreon fee until donations hit $4000 and that he will document the process to make it an educational endeavor, there will even be live streams!

You can see the full details of the project here.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9