Linus Torvalds, the Linux principal developer, wants it to run on M1 Macs

Terminal on Mac
Terminal on Mac (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Linus Torvalds, the principal developer of the Linux kernel, says he'd like an M1 MacBook Air running Linux.

Linus Torvalds is the man behind the Linux kernel and it turns out he's a fan of the new M1-powered MacBook Air. So much so that he'd like to see Linux running on it.

According to a post on the Real World Tech forum that was picked up by TNW, Torvalds was actually an 11-inch MacBook Air user back in the day. But the famously bad screen was enough to make him move on to pastures new.

Macbook Air M1

Macbook Air M1 (Image credit: Daniel Bader / iMore)

I'd absolutely love to have one, if it just ran Linux.. I have fairly fond memories of the 11″ Macbook Air (I think 4,1) that I used about a decade ago (but moved away from because it took Apple too long to fix the screen – and by the time they did, I'd moved on to better laptops, and Apple had moved on to make Linux less convenient).

But while the idea of getting Linux to run on the new, powerful MacBook Air is something that appeals, the developer wants nothing to do with macOS. Or Apple, for that matter.

I've been waiting for an ARM laptop that can run Linux for alongtime. The new Air would be almost perfect, except for the OS. And I don't have the time to tinker with it, or the inclination to fight companies that don't want to help.

Even if Torvalds was in, Apple isn't going to make it easy for anyone to get Linux running on one of these things. Much to the chagrin of a whole ton of people.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

2 Comments
  • Not to nitpick, but a little depth would be nice here. Perhaps an explanation as to why Linux can't or won't be able to run on these new Apple systems? Is there an issue with the boot process or drivers or, etc. ? I know with bootcamp, Apple provides the necessary drivers to make sure its hardware is recognized and supported by Windows. So does this come down to whether Apple is willing to produce drivers for their custom hardware components?
  • Who cares what he wants? Macs already run MacOS, which is Unix. Which is far superior to Linux. Which also has far more software available than Linux will ever have. If the “Linux principal developer” wants Linux to run on ARM Macs, then he needs to get busy porting it. It’s not up to Apple, who could not possibly care less about Linux. Besides, no one buys a Mac to run Linux.