ARM-based Macs

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ARM-based Macs

Post by Moonchild » 2020-12-06, 11:13

Since i'm not really "in the know" about the new ARM-based Macs I'm hoping someone with experience or first-hand technical knowledge about them can help evaluate whether it'll be something we can support with our current ARM targeting in the tree or not. If I understood correctly, some people have successfully built Pale Moon for ARM-based machines but those were older/different architecture and on Linux.
Would the new Mac ARM CPUs be comparable or require a completely different target?
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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by RealityRipple » 2020-12-06, 18:34

Arm64 should be Arm64 everywhere, though I can see Mac adding some unknown shenanigans into the mix just for fun - but something major like a swapped endian-ness shouldn't be on the table. Luckily, Rosetta2 should help tide things over until an official Mac-ARM version can be built, so I wouldn't stress too much about getting a new build target made immediately.

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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by vannilla » 2020-12-06, 19:07

I know it's probably meaningless since the two programs aren't even in the same category, but today I read a short article about GNU Emacs on the ARM Macs and apparently all you need is an ARM compiler to get it to work with no changes (aside from enabling the Mac-specific codepaths) compared to having it on any other architecture.

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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by New Tobin Paradigm » 2020-12-06, 20:39

Ok. I can tell you it will require a lot of work to support arm MacOS. We barely had theoretical support of the codebase being compiled for iOS embedding at our level which is not near the same thing as full MacOS arm which may not even truely be the same as the x86 product in many aspects.

We just don't know. I do know it will require a lot of build system work at minimum but also anything generated could be an issue, deep spidermonkey could be an issue, the widget code could be an issue. For all I know to make it possible could require almost as much work as adding a new OS proper.

Right now we barely have proper support for intel MacOS. So what does that tell you about the prospects? Unless I and Moonchild are able to get access to up to date build capable Apple hardware all you have is nuke (dbsoft) mostly on his own with what little hands off guidance I can provide with a sprinkle of adesh for good messure.

That is the reality here. That has always been the reality for Macintosh.
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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by Moonchild » 2020-12-06, 20:49

The iOS thing was completely different, I don't think you can compare it because iOS forces the use of webkit as an engine.

The point of this thread is that I want to get a handle on if we should consider Mac a viable target going forward or not.
I don't think Rosetta (on-the-fly transcoding of machine instructions) will work for something as complex as UXP, especially because of SpiderMonkey and the advanced rendering and compositing that happens. So to be a valid target we need to be able to rely on our current ARM support in the tree, as well as the Mac OS running on ARM Macs accepting the code we can produce with our ARM platform code. On top, as far as I understood the CPUs in ARM Macs are SoCs specific to Apple and not generic ARMs. Apple has indicated they want to transition fully to ARM over the course of 2 years, so if we can't reasonably target it within the next 6 months or so, then we shouldn't even try.
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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by New Tobin Paradigm » 2020-12-06, 21:05

Well the question of WE is moot until WE have up to date build capable hardware plus arm hardware. Nuke wants to do arm of course but I don't think he can without lots more prereq knowledge, experience, and intuitive feeling for this codebase on a build system level at the very least. Stuff you and I have to a great degree Moonchild as well as other longtime contributors.

If we could work together effectively I have no doubt we could accomplish it in two years with something to show in less than six months and the same goes for Intel Macintosh in release cycle or two for that matter. But we cannot at present so at this time I would say viability is wholey dependant on nuke and blocked by perpetual beta status of Intel Macintosh. Unless that changes then I wouldn't be holding your breath.

It is unlikely but not impossible for nuke to accomplish both those feats but if you and I were added to the equasion plus adesh for good messure then it goes from unlikely to why the hell not.

Basically, this is the ONE problem that throwing several thousand dollars at would solve. Might even theoretically include dragging Linux arm up with it depending on how locked down the physical arm device is.
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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by RealityRipple » 2020-12-07, 08:01

Off-topic:
Imagine if you could run os x on a raspberry pi. That'd be hilarious.

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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by New Tobin Paradigm » 2020-12-07, 08:16

One: How is that relevant?
Two: That hardware is not at all spec'd nor powerful to build on so how would that be helpful?
Three: Why the hell are you even in this conversation to begin with?
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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by RealityRipple » 2020-12-07, 09:00

Other methods of running OS X designed for Arm would be extremely relevant, in that you wouldn't have to spend thousands of dollars on Mac hardware. And since Pi's are the typical 'cheap arm' computer, it was a natural leap, despite being impossible, which is part of what makes it such an amusing notion, aside from the "apple pi" jokes.

And I'm here because it's an open discussion and I've messed with OS X enough to install 10.6 in a VM on older AMD hardware, and have been using it to keep a program updated for the last half a decade. Keeping an eye on Apple's changes is kind of a minor requirement for me to support the few Apple users I have. Though I guess that will likely come to an end with this...

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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by New Tobin Paradigm » 2020-12-07, 09:08

So you are back to being a moron.. How disappointing.

One, we need hardware that can build not just run.

Two, hackintosh is extremely hard to get right and still does not provide a real environment.

Three, your citing of 10.6 is irrelevant as we don't even target it.

Four, Arm Macintosh wouldn't be running OS X it would be a newer version of OS 11 which I expect to devolve into a service rolling release like everything else.

And five, running Apple's software on non-apple hardware is a violation of whatever Apple's eq of a EULA is.

So your musings are uninformed, wholesale irrelevant, and promotes software piracy.

Stop before you dig yourself deeper.
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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by RealityRipple » 2020-12-07, 18:23

Off-topic:
I was talking about my firsthand experience working with Apple & software development, not its direct usefulness to the present situation. Someone who's spent years working on vintage cars from the middle of the last century is gonna be better equipped to work on a hybrid today than someone who hasn't ever done a day of mechanic's work, even if they'll still be off by half a century.

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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by New Tobin Paradigm » 2020-12-07, 19:03

I think that argument is even flawed.. Do you have any idea how different mid-20th century cars are vs today's computer controlled almost un-serviceable throwaway luxury items that are the cars we have today?

Why don't you do something useful instead of wasting time in this thread like expanding your extension offerings. No one is going to use Pale Moon on an ARM device without extensions.
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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by vannilla » 2020-12-07, 22:29

Well, for the same price of an Apple device you could get, like, 5 or 6 RasPi and distribute the compilation among them :P

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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by Lunokhod » 2020-12-10, 20:31

An Apple Mac Mini 2020 M1 CPU is possibly the most cost effective build platform from the current models, a mini desktop computer. About $800 US at present and only just released so there aren't many about yet.
They are Apple Silicon CPU's and not ARM anyway, there is some discussion here:
https://www.macworld.co.uk/feature/appl ... -3790784-1
Quote from that link:
Apple is calling its architecture Apple Silicon, but it will be the same, self-developed Ax chips, that have featured in the iPhone and iPad for years.
At their core these processors are based on the ARM architecture, but that doesn't mean that Apple is using ARM processors in the sense that they were using Intel processors.
ARM provides Apple with the instruction set architecture, not the chip design. Apple's doing its own custom chip design. The ARM instruction set is a very small part of Apple Silicon - add to that Apple's expertise in performance and efficiency that Apple's chip design team has developed while designing chips for the iPhone and iPad (e.g. machine learning capabilities) and you get something far removed from an ARM Mac.
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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by Moonchild » 2020-12-10, 21:10

I guess you missed what I already said earlier:
Moonchild wrote:
2020-12-06, 20:49
On top, as far as I understood the CPUs in ARM Macs are SoCs specific to Apple and not generic ARMs.
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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by Lunokhod » 2020-12-11, 02:22

No - but it looked like some others had, plus I didn't see any reference to "Apple Silicon" and thought it would be helpful for passers by to have some expansion on the subject, given the title ARM-based Macs sort of suggests otherwise. Perhaps if people understood the nature of the problem they could assist towards a solution? As these CPU's are an extension of existing Apple designs rather than a switch to "ARM" it may be an easier transition. Other than that point - my only Mac is waterproof - :silent:
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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by New Tobin Paradigm » 2020-12-11, 02:25

Well we would likely have to cross-compile anyway so the arm machine would not need to build quality only run quality. The Intel Mac would have to indeed be solid enough for building the source.. I dunno if a mac mini really has sufficent cooling for a 30-50 minute buildtime at full balls to the wall operation.
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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by Isengrim » 2020-12-11, 04:29

New Tobin Paradigm wrote:
2020-12-11, 02:25
The Intel Mac would have to indeed be solid enough for building the source.. I dunno if a mac mini really has sufficent cooling for a 30-50 minute buildtime at full balls to the wall operation.
If I can build UXP applications on my 2012 Linux Thinkpad at -j1, surely you can do it on a Mac Mini. I can't imagine the thermal regulation being any worse than a MacBook.
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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by New Tobin Paradigm » 2020-12-11, 04:37

So are you gonna fund the second round of hardware after a year of thermal damage?
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Re: ARM-based Macs

Post by Isengrim » 2020-12-11, 12:42

Not if you can prevent that thermal damage in the first place. There should be some way to monitor the CPU temperature. Babysit the build and watch that temperature; as long as it does not exceed the safe maximum operating temperature (usually 80-85 C) then there's no reason to fear thermal damage.
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