Linux on the iPhone: penguin poop in Apple’s walled garden

by admin December 1, 2008 at 6:17 pm

An iPhone hacker has successfully ported the open source Linux kernel to Apple’s popular mobile device. Although the port is still at a very early stage of development and currently only supports a slim subset of the iPhone’s capabilities, it demonstrates the versatility of the Linux kernel and the ingenuity of iPhone modding enthusiasts.

The port was announced in a blog entry last week. The post also includes a link to a video that demonstrates the software booting on an actual iPhone. The lead developer, who writes under the pseudonym “planetbeing”, says that the port has a framebuffer driver and support for serial-over-USB, but still lacks critical features such as touchscreen support, sound, baseband and WiFi support, and accelerometer drivers.

The port includes a custom bootloader that enables users to choose whether to boot Linux or the iPhone’s own operating system at startup. The code is distributed under GNU’s General Public License (GPL) and is available from a GitHub repository. Instructions that describe how to install it from an Ubuntu Linux computer are also available.

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