1) The input devices are on SPI, not USB. Apple's ACPI tables don't provide the GPIO mappings for these things via the standard mechanisms, so the chipset driver won't bind. You then still need another driver for the SPI controller, and there's an out of tree one at https://github.com/cb22/macbook12-spi-driver/ . Longer term, the kernel needs to be able to parse Apple's ACPI tables and that driver needs merging.
2) Apple's NVME hardware uses the wrong PCI device class, possibly because it's not entirely NVME compatible (trying to read 64 bits of mmio register space in one go will fail, for instance). Linux has a specific entry for the older Apple NVME devices, and that may need to be broadened.
3) Having source ID checking enabled when doing IRQ remapping results in the system hanging on boot. It's unclear what the underlying problem is.
Windows works fine because Apple provide drivers for (1) and (2). (3) is unclear - Windows may be setting up interrupt remapping differently, or it may never enable source ID verification. These issues are far from unusual when dealing with Apple hardware ((1) was true for the new Macbook, (2) has been true since Apple introduced NVME, (3) is the kind of weirdness that we've seen on Apple hardware ever since they went Intel), and this particular set of breakage is unsurprising.
I spend some time while I was at Red Hat trying to keep Apple hardware working (https://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/12037.html is an example of what we had to do), but I don't know that anybody's really working terribly hard on it these days.
Things like this make me wonder if Apple is deliberately going for proprietariness as a sort of vendor-lock-in, because I can't see any other compelling reasons for coming up with a completely different interface for such basic and existing devices. USB and PS/2 are standardised to the point that hardware and software for them are widely available and cheap. They're also extensible, so one does not have to reinvent everything to add additional features.
I still remember when the first "Intel Macbooks" came out with nearly identical hardware to a PC laptop of the same era, i.e. keyboard and trackpad looked like standard PS/2 devices. Later models of PCs and Macs started using USB internally (which is in some ways more complex, since the existing PS/2 interface was provided by the EC via LPC whereas USB may require an additional controller and definitely requires routing additional signals between it and one of the USB ports on the chipset), but at least they would still work relatively standardly.
Personally, I'm all for new features but implemented in backwards-compatible or relatively standard ways. Apple doesn't seem to be a fan of that.
I don't know enough about the implementation to speak to why they made this choice, but for what it's worth, SPI is a standard - and a quite old one. I suspect, were we to follow this down the rabbit hole, that we'd find it's related to power management.
The PS/2 interface saves power due to its interrupt-driven nature compared to USB which requires periodic polling, so it is a popular interface for laptops' internal keyboards and pointing devices
The major difference is that PS/2 is a de-facto standard up to the application layer/software interface, while the MacBook SPI protocol is unique to Apple.
You argument in this case is very similar to defending use of custom TCP protocol for web browsing. While TCP is standard, there is nothing standard about it to browse the web, we have HTTP for that
PS/2 is too slow for the volume of data coming out of a modern touchpad. USB is a lot more hardware, though that is small in the context of a CPU. It may just be that with I2C running around the motherboard for all the miscellaneous devices it just makes sense to use that.
It's not like USB which defines device classes and the higher-level layers of the stack, or PS/2 where e.g. all PS/2 keyboards or mice are expected to have an identical basic set of functionality and behaviour. There are certainly proprietary "vendor-specific" extensions to those, but e.g. it's almost a given that if you plug in a USB keyboard, all the standard QWERTY keys should work effortlessly; and while there may be extensions like displays and touchbars that require specific drivers, the core functionality doesn't change.
If I understand correctly, what Apple did here is invent their own protocol for the keyboard which is completely different from what any PC or earlier Macs have, thus the lack of any functionality from Linux. And given how crucial a keyboard is to being able to do anything with the computer, it's no wonder this has caused much consternation.
I think many people are used to the idea that even if the OS does not provide drivers for specific devices, basic functionality like keyboard, mouse, and video (even if it's something like a VGA 640x480 16 colours mode) should still be present --- partly to enable "bootstrapping" into more functionality by installing and troubleshooting the drivers.
Then I think people need to step back and appreciate that this "basic functionality" is actually really expensive in terms of price, space, power and performance.
Would they really pay more for Apple hardware if it booted up with a full internal USB or a PS/2?
What if it made the laptop heavier? Shortened the battery life? These things are very important to me: I wouldn't buy a heavier Mac.
Could this be mitigated with custom ASICs? Or a new power switch and some extra power controllers (e.g. a soft switch to turn off the fallback 8042 and start using the faster more sensible SPI interface)? Perhaps, but someone has to pay for it.
Moaning about things that don't make sense to change -- that someone just doesn't like, just makes that someone unhappy.
PS/2 has not been implemented with a real 8042 for a very long time. Standard laptop ECs which are cheap and widely available have optimised dedicated hardware to handle the protocol. Speed is not a problem either, because this doesn't need to be a physical PS/2 interface with a separate keyboard on the end of it --- in the designs I've seen, the EC scans the key matrix itself and just provides a PS/2 software interface. It really doesn't matter what the physical interface on a laptop is, since the software interface is what's important here; Apple could've used something similar to PS/2 but increased the clock rate to whatever they needed, and it'd still look the same and be compatible to existing software.
USB is not a good idea from a power perspective since it is a polled bus and there's plenty of additional unneeded complexity throughout the whole stack, but PS/2 is interrupt-driven and extremely low-power.
In fact, it is a synchronous serial protocol just like SPI, so what appears to have happened with these MacBooks is that Apple basically reinvented PS/2 in their own "Think Different" way.
If you deliver a byte per interrupt to be compatible with PS/2 then your system has to wake up more frequently than a DMA/SPI interface.
> USB … is a polled bus
> PS/2 is interrupt-driven and low-power enough for me.
This is wrong.
USB and PS/2 both deliver an interrupt when there is data available.
USB can be configured to directly store the data in memory, so that in the ISR the operating system simply scans memory.
PS/2 on the other hand has to be polled inside the ISR, whether there is data available or not. Not a problem for a keyboard, but touchpads send a lot of data (of course, this is why everyone uses SPI for touchpads)
> It really doesn't matter what the physical interface on a laptop is, since the software interface is what's important here
This is a common, but fundamental misunderstanding of how software and hardware work.
Hardware is not mere programmable matter, it has wires and current, and those wires take up space, and that current draws down your battery.
A lot of laptop vendors have to include "compatibility chips" that take up space and draw down battery because they don't control the software, but if they did control the software they could make their users happier.
Nothing says Apple couldn't just add DMA capabilities to a PS/2 controller, sort of like how bus-master IDE works.
That's just DMA, but the USB controller itself has to physically poll the bus. (Excepting some features in USB 3.x, which I don't think I've seen any use of currently for keyboards or mouses.)
If I remember correctly, the polling is only necessary for writing commands to the controller+device, and not the usual reading of data. There are plenty of touchpads that use PS/2 as well, and they usually appear to be mouses until switched to a different protocol mode.
"compatibility chips" - such as?
The amount of processing required for a USB stack is far greater than for PS/2 and presumably Apple's custom SPI solution. I think the main point to take away from all this discussion is that although Apple could've taken an existing widespread and compatible interface with similar characteristics and enhanced it to fit their requirements, they didn't.
...and that obviously many users here are not "happier" because of it, but Apple doesn't care.
> That's just DMA, but the USB controller itself has to physically poll the bus.
Who cares? The USB controller requires a fraction of the power that the CPU does.
If I have to choose between a microcontroller polling for "interrupt endpoints" and the CPU, you know what I'm going to choose.
> If I remember correctly, the polling is only necessary for writing commands to the controller+device, and not the usual reading of data.
No. You must wait for inb(0x64) & 1 before reading from 0x60. Note this dance is actually quite long:
It's probably okay for a keyboard and a low-resolution mouse. Maybe. It's definitely not okay for a touchpad.
> There are plenty of touchpads that use PS/2 as well, and they usually appear to be mouses until switched to a different protocol mode.
With extra chips.
I think the main point to take away from all this discussion is that although Apple could've taken an existing widespread and compatible interface with similar characteristics and enhanced it to fit their requirements, they didn't because it was more expensive.
You might think some people want Apple laptops to be hacker friendly, and you might be right, but my point is that you should consider that some people would rather they be cheaper and lighter and more power efficient.
The code clearly shows that all the ISR does is read from the status port, and if there is data available, read it from the data port. It only does nothing in the unlikely case that no data is available (could be a spurious interrupt.) I have written code like this before. There is no waiting, no polling. Receive an interrupt, read a byte. Some devices will actually let you read multiple bytes (just keep reading until one of the bits in the status register goes off.)
You're claiming it would significantly increase cost to enhance an existing interface (as opposed to redesigning everything and the nontrivial NRE of that?), on a laptop that itself costs far more than the majority of others using a standard or slightly enhanced standard interface.
Ugh. Almost everybody uses SPI for touchpads these days, although they frequently also provide a PS/2 compatibility mode. Apple don't care about working with stock operating systems other than their own (the Bootcamp installer injects additional drivers for Windows), so they decided not to bother.
My recollection was that the transition to using USB as an internal protocol came slightly before the PPC->Intel transition, and that the first several generations of X86 Mac laptops used USB internally for trackpads and keyboards. You sure there were ever any using PS/2? Seems unlikely.
1. What's the __1e6 alignment?  I've never heard of that.
2. How is the driver author going about writing that driver? Some of the comments seem to allude to analyzing what the Windows driver is doing. Do you think they're disassembling the Windows driver and trying to re-implement a Linux compatible driver in C? I don't see how anyone could implement a driver like this off the bat without some data sheet or existing code to look at.
Edit: thanks to people pointing out it's __le16, not __1e6. I need to change my font; even now I can barely tell the 1 and l apart.
Little endian 16 bit
As for the driver itself, the spi interfaces are not too hard to understand.
It's unlikely anyone is disassembling anything.
The normal way to figure out the packets the touchpad uses are to look at the datasheets/etc you can find on whoever made the touchpad.
In this case, it's a bcm5974, and if you look at that driver, you'll see the packet format is the same.
Otherwise, you write a packet dumper and start pushing things
As I've posted before, I am so happy now the Macbook Pro is out because we desperately need help on this issue.
Any of the problems that you usually hear are typically on their non-Thinkpad lines.
For the X260, for example, it has these links:
No, not on Thinkpads.
Fedora, given its leading edge nature, will have better hardware support than RHEL as the latest firmware will always come first to the former.
The ThinkPads are an semi-independent division within Lenovo.