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Linux founder Linus Torvalds longs for Apple’s ARM-based Mac

Linux founder Linus Torvalds longs for Apple’s ARM-based Mac

Linux founder looks forward to a powerful ARM desktop system that will ease ARM software development

Linus Torvalds

Linus Torvalds

Credit: Linux

Apple’s plan to build Macs featuring its own chips with an ARM-based instruction set is getting a thumbs-up from Linux and Git creator Linus Torvalds.

Speaking during last week’s online Linux Foundation Open Source Summit and Embedded Linux Conference, Torvalds said he believes Apple’s moving to ARM will help the ARM ecosystem from a software development standpoint.

He said he has been disappointed with previous ARM laptops, which have not been competition for Intel x86 systems. Torvalds said he is hopeful that, in a few years, there will be an ARM desktop system powerful enough to be used for development.

So far, ARM development has been done in the cloud, said Torvalds, citing Amazon Web Services' cloud ecosystem. But cloud development is not preferred, he said, at least not by kernel developers, adding, “You don’t want just to develop for ARM, you want to actually use ARM in your day-to-day work on the desktop.”

Torvalds said he was more interested in an eventual Apple ARM desktop system over a laptop; he sees laptops as primarily something to use when travelling.

The main selling point for ARM thus far has been low power, not performance, making the laptop space the more natural fit, Torvalds said. But ARM has the potential to grow beyond the low-power realm, a direction he expects Apple to take.

Apple’s plans to build ARM-based systems were detailed at the company's online World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June.


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