The move to ARM-powered chips on Apple’s Mac PCs and laptops managed to turn their desktop platform into an iPhone-like closed garden, with owners of the hardware unable to boot alternative operating systems such as Windows or Linux.
Hackers have never been happy to leave well enough alone, however, and today we have news of the Corellium team managing to work around the new issues and boot Linux directly on the Apple M1 hardware.
Linux is now completely usable on the Mac mini M1. Booting from USB a full Ubuntu desktop (rpi). Network works via a USB c dongle. Update includes support for USB, I2C, DART. We will push changes to our GitHub and a tutorial later today. Thanks to the @CorelliumHQ team ??? pic.twitter.com/uBDbDmvJUG
— Chris Wade (@cmwdotme) January 20, 2021
The team managed to exploit their work on hacking the iPhone via the Sandcastle project to write Linux drivers for the ARM chipset and create a custom kernel for Apple M1 Macs, which fortunately is already allowed.
This allowed then to boot Ubuntu Linux on the M1 Mac Mini(below).
Installation is also relatively simple – users simply need to boot off an image on a USB drive via Apple’s recovery OS, install the custom kernel (Corellium has provided a setup script), and then log in using the default credentials.
The Linux community is already getting ready to build on the work. Read all the details at Corellium here.