wackybacky
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Alpine aarch64 on M1

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I can run Alpine x86 in Fusion x86.

I can't run Alpine Aarch64 (M1) in Fusion (Aarch64).

I can run Alpine Aarch64 in UTM on M1 and I can run Alpine in home-rolled software on M1. So it can be done, but I don't consider either of these options a satisfactory solution for longer-term reliability.

I'm a little surprised the tech preview is so limited, but I appreciate it's about enabling processor-compatible editions. So leads me to ask... Why no Alpine?

Alpine has been both UEFI and Arm for years. It offers a rich set SoC supported processors and does indeed work on a Mac. It is a hardened useful distribution with repo's providing software for specialised and deployment focussed usage. It is primarily a command-line distribution, not a 'pretty' one. Perhaps that's why it's been neglected? 

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Technogeezer
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I've been able to get the Alpine Standard 3.14-2 aarch64 distribution up and running on the Tech Preview. I had to select "Other Linux 5.x kernel 64-bit ARM" as the VM type.  It will recognize both the virtual network adapter and the default virtual NVMe disk.

However, Alpine ships with a 5.10 Linux kernel. That's below the recommended 5.14 and 5.13 kernel versions that VMware discusses in the TP guide. For the tech preview, VMware seems to have focused on ARM versions that are more popular and have access to the latest Linux kernel versions.

With a 5.10 kernel, you won't have access to the VMware virtual graphics driver that will allow you to resize the screen resolution. And I've found that with this 5.10 kernel the VM will not power down when the system is shut down (even with the community provided open-vm-tools available from the apk community repository). It's usable in its basic form, but your mileage may vary...

Also, note that the boot order defaults to CD-ROM, PXE (both IPv4 and IPv6) then the hard drive. Which means that after installing to the hard drive you need to disconnect your ISO before booting from it, and waiting while the 2 PXE boots time out. You can change this behavior by changing the boot order. Start the VM using "Power On To Firmware" and then use the EFI menus to change the boot order.

 

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Technogeezer
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

I've been able to get the Alpine Standard 3.14-2 aarch64 distribution up and running on the Tech Preview. I had to select "Other Linux 5.x kernel 64-bit ARM" as the VM type.  It will recognize both the virtual network adapter and the default virtual NVMe disk.

However, Alpine ships with a 5.10 Linux kernel. That's below the recommended 5.14 and 5.13 kernel versions that VMware discusses in the TP guide. For the tech preview, VMware seems to have focused on ARM versions that are more popular and have access to the latest Linux kernel versions.

With a 5.10 kernel, you won't have access to the VMware virtual graphics driver that will allow you to resize the screen resolution. And I've found that with this 5.10 kernel the VM will not power down when the system is shut down (even with the community provided open-vm-tools available from the apk community repository). It's usable in its basic form, but your mileage may vary...

Also, note that the boot order defaults to CD-ROM, PXE (both IPv4 and IPv6) then the hard drive. Which means that after installing to the hard drive you need to disconnect your ISO before booting from it, and waiting while the 2 PXE boots time out. You can change this behavior by changing the boot order. Start the VM using "Power On To Firmware" and then use the EFI menus to change the boot order.

 

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wackybacky
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Could have sworn I tried the 'Other 5.x' option, but clearly, I wasn't doing something right.

Is there a particular version of the ARM downloads you picked for this?

I was using. the 'virtual' one as it seems appropriate.

Thanks for the advice, though, I'll give it a whirl. 🙂

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Technogeezer
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

I used the "Standard" ISO download for aarch64. 

I also installed open-vm-tools after installation on the hard drive. I used the instructions found here: https://wiki.alpinelinux.org/wiki/Open-vm-tools 

But, as I said, the ARM kernel version for Alpine is older and I bet there are things in later Linux kernel versions that VMware has contributed that makes ARM virtual machines work better. 

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wackybacky
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Looks like I picked the wrong version; the standard aarch64 edition worked fine.

It was installed in a couple of minutes.

So it works! Thanks, I'm up and running 🙂

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