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Nintendo Switch has been hacked to run full-fat Linux

NOT CONTENT with simply getting Linux to boot on the Nintendo Switch, the hacker folks over at fail0verflow have managed to get the hybrid console to behave like a full-fat Linux PC.

Taking to Twitter, the best place for public bragging, fail0verflow posted a video of the Switch running the Linux OS, which looks rather slick and nippy on the console’s tablet display.

The fail0verflow nerds got Linux running on the Switch by using code execution, though they didn’t say how they got around Nintendo’s own operating system and boot process to load up Linux.

Given that a flaw in the boot ROM of Nvidia’s Tegra X1 chip, which forms the hardware heart of the Switch, was exploited to boot up Linux, we expect the same flaw has been used to get the open source operating system up and running on the console.

The flaw is hard-coded into the current crop of Tegra X1 chips, which makes patching them pretty much out of the question.

Nintendo takes a rather dim view on people messing with the firmware of their consoles, but to fix the hardware-level flaw, it would likely need to recall Switch consoles and then persuade Nvidia to equip them with a new batch of Tegra X1 chips with flaw-free ROMs.

We’d bake a pastry hat and eat if it that happens, as the cost and hassle for both firms would be bloody enormous.

And we doubt Nintendo would want to do anything to put the success of the Switch at risk since its flogging of the hybrid console had helped wash away the stench of the Wii U failure that had hung over the Japanese games giant.

But going back to Linux loading, you may ask why would you want to risk borking your Switch and potentially invoking Nintendo’s wrath, just to load up Linux? Well, the answer could be the potential to open up the Switch to emulators and homebrew games and software.

Currently, there’s no Virtual Console option for the Switch to run retro Nintendo games, despite it being on other Nintendo consoles and something fans are clamouring for. But with the use of legally grey emulators, classic games from Nintendo and other could be made to run on the Switch.

And as games platform Steam can also run on Linux, there’s scope for PC games to be run on the console, though compatibility issues with the Tegra chipset could throw a spanner in the works there.

At the time of writing, fail0verflow has kept its hack under wraps, so even if you’re enthusiastic about getting Linux on your Switch, you’ll have to wait for a rootkit to be released or get your coding hands dirty and figure out the hack for yourself.

Either way, there’s clearly a lot more potential to the Switch than Nintendo’s Labo. µ

Source : Inquirer

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Founder and Editor-in-Chief of 'Professional Hackers India'. Technology Evangelist, Security Analyst, Cyber Security Expert, PHP Developer and Part time hacker.

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