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Re: Debian on Apple M1 hardware

 On Sat, Mar 13, 2021 at 11:49 AM Wookey <wookey@wookware.org> wrote:
> On 2021-03-13 10:05 +0000, Pip Cet wrote:
> > On Sat, Mar 13, 2021 at 9:30 AM Paul Wise <pabs@debian.org> wrote:
> > > so this is likely to be superseded
> > > by the work Asahi Linux is doing within Linux mainline at some point.
> I hadn't realised there were two projects working on this. That is
> good. But I agree with Paul that Corellium are goig to remain
> irrelevant froma debian POV if they don't upstream their code (someone

I agree with that, too, but it's a big if. I think it's a bad idea to
assume the worst.

> else is welcome to try and do it for them, but if they don't engage
> everyone will choose the Asahi stuff - I would too).

Well, it's not clear to me whether Asahi is supposed to be a Linux
distribution, in which case "choosing the Asahi stuff" means not
choosing Debian.

> > AIUI, the boot process does not involve macOS; installing a
> > kernel/bootloader image is currently only possible from the recovery
> > OS included with macOS, but that's not that unusual. It does mean an
> > inconvenient extra step installing a bootloader for users, which I
> > believe is precisely what Apple intended...
> I've not looked into this, and clearly it's progressed far enough that
> I should. I have one of these machine and am very keen to see debian
> on it so I can use the damn thing without having to learn macos.

I agree, you should. I think I've got a reasonable good understanding
of what's going on with the boot process, by now...

> I'm happy to do some work on making debian work on this platform,
> although tuits are always in short supply...

If there's anything I can do to help, I'd love to!

> > I'm admittedly unfamiliar with how Debian does these things. Any hints
> > or pointers to relevant documentation would be appreciated.
> What we want is to be provided with the UEFI environment then we don't
> have to do anything special for the platform and debian will boot and
> 'just work' (insofar there is kernel support). The UEFI-a-like
> environment that u-boot provides more-or-less does the job (there was
> some issue with persistence of writeable variables IIRC) so if that's
> what's provided then we are fairly happy too (and that is what the
> Asahi linux people currently propose).

That would be wonderful. I don't think it's going to happen unless
there's a change of heart at Apple.

> We do have the facility to do special things for a platform (via
> flash-kernel) but it's much nicer not to have to: booting from a
> standard platform interface is a good thing that separates firmware
> development and distro development.

I don't see any way to avoid telling people how to boot into 1TR, run
bputil (which disables the "Trusted Computing" mode), run kmutil
(which installs a kernel other than macOS), and then boot an
environment which ultimately loads the right image of Linux. I do
think we can make the rest of the process easier than it currently is.

So the process is:

- grab a USB image
- flash it to a USB drive
- boot your Mac and keep holding the power button for twenty seconds
or so until "boot options" are being loaded
- click on "options"
- click (this doesn't work with the keyboard) the menu bar and select
Utilities / Terminal
- run a shell script off the USB drive
- enter passwords and username at the prompt, repeatedly

The other problem is that I do not think that we can repartition Apple
file systems yet, which adds a "play around with the Apple
repartitioning software until you finally have a linuxable partition"
step (I did that, and it made me hate macOS)...


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