Fedora Approves Exception for macOS Binaries in Asahi-Installer

Fedora FESCo grants an exception for shipping prebuilt macOS binaries to support Apple Silicon. Here's more on that!

The Asahi Remix project is crucial for Fedora as it helps spread the operating system more broadly, allowing anyone with an Apple Silicon device to install Fedora Linux on it.

In light of this, the asahi-installer is essential for allowing this to happen. It is divided into two segments: a macOS tool that facilitates the actual installation and a Python module responsible for extracting and correctly placing firmware.

However, due to technical constraints, the macOS tool requires prebuilt binaries of Python and libffi, both of which are available as prebuilt binaries outside the Fedora ecosystem.

In light of this, FESCo (Fedora Engineering Steering Committee), a key governing body within the Fedora Project, which oversees various technical decisions related to the development of Fedora, was petitioned to make an exception, allowing these binaries to be included in Fedora’s package repositories.

However, Fedora’s official packaging guidelines clearly state:

“No inclusion of pre-built binaries or libraries. All program binaries and program libraries included in Fedora packages must be built from the source code that is included in the source package.”

The binaries in question, python-3.9.6-macos11.pkg (from the upstream Python project) and libffi-3.4.6-macos.tar.gz (Homebrew) are sourced from reputable projects and meet open-source licensing requirements; Python is covered under the Python License and libffi under the MIT License.

In the end, FESCo decided to permit the inclusion of these binaries specifically for loading the installer on macOS devices. The decision passed with a vote of 5 in favor, 0 against, and 4 abstentions.

This decision has both pros and cons. On one side, it helps Fedora reach more Apple Silicon users easily. On the other hand, it sets a precedent that might lead to similar future decisions that go against the principles upon which the Fedora ecosystem is built.

Detailed information about the proposal to including prebuild external binaries into the asahi-installer can be found here.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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