Nintendo Switch running Linux will get homebrewers excited

Eric Abent - Feb 20, 2018
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Nintendo Switch running Linux will get homebrewers excited

Even though the Switch is still a relatively new console (it isn’t even a full year old yet), modders and hackers have been hard at work trying to bend it to their will. Modding communities always pop up around new consoles, but it’s particularly exciting with the Switch because of its portable nature. Those modders have made some progress with the Switch in the time since launch, but today we’re seeing the most impressive development yet.

First, a little background: a few weeks back, modding group fail0verflow shared an image of a Switch console booting Linux. At the time, the group said that the exploit took advantage of a bootrom bug in the console. Even more impressive were claims that Nintendo would be unable to patch that bug in existing Switches.

Fast forward to today and fail0verflow is back, this time with something even more impressive. In a video shared to fail0verflow’s Twitter, we see the Switch acting as a full blown Linux tablet, complete with a desktop that plays nice with the touchscreen, a functioning web browser, and even a GPU demo.

While most people probably don’t have much use for a Linux desktop environment on their Switch, this is good news for the modding community as a whole. Though it does open the platform to running cracked Switch games – something you can bet Nintendo is going to try to stop – this also allows Switch owners to turn their console into a tablet that has other uses beyond simply playing games.

Of course, exploits like this also open the door to homebrew development, so the hope is that we’ll eventually see healthy homebrew communities like the ones that developed around the Wii and Wii U. We’ll see where this leads as time goes on, but for now, it’s just cool to see Linux running on the Switch.


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