Earlier this month, Apple revealed its own ARM-based M1 processor, along with new MacBooks and a desktop Mac Mini powered by this chip. In a recent interview Apple's SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said that "running ARM Linux of many vintages runs great in virtualization on M1 Macs." Yet for Linus Torvalds, that's not the same thing as Linux being able to run natively.
Earlier this month at the 2020 Real World Tech forum, Linus Torvalds was asked: "What do you think of the new M1 Apple laptop?
Torvalds: "I'd absolutely love to have one, if it just ran Linux.. I have fairly fond memories of the 11" MacBook Air 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."
Torvalds added that Apple may run Linux in their cloud, but not on their laptops.
"I've been waiting for an ARM laptop that can run Linux for a long time. 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."
The latest operating system stats from statcounter shows that Windows has 76.32%, OS X with 17.65% and Linux at 1.5%. In 2019 261 million PC's were sold. Linux would be on roughly 3.9 million PC's. Is that a big enough niche for Apple to cater to?
While I'm doubtful it is, is it not up to Torvalds to do the work to bring it to the M1? He says he doesn't have the time. I guess if the Linux community wants it badly enough, they'll try to find the time. Whether Apple's Federighi will try to meet with Torvalds in the future to see if something could be worked out, is unknown at this time.