Nintendo Switch on Linux: you dreamed of it, a hacker did it!

by Jerry

Can the Nintendo Switch run Linux? fail0verflow, a hacker already known for putting Linux on PS4, managed to bypass the security of the portable console by exposing UART/JTAG contacts on a Joy-Con, and exploiting a flaw in the SoC Nvidia Tegra X1. The hacker says it will be virtually impossible for Nintendo to prevent hackers from doing the same thing. In the long run, being able to run Linux on the machine paves the way for playing games that were not even intended for the console!

The failed0verflow hacker announces on his twitter account photo in support having managed to run Linux Debian on the Nintendo Switch. In the image shared by the hacker you can see the online interface of Linux Debian commands on the console screen. On the right we can see the remains of a Joy-Con still attached to the console. From there two data cables depart to a UART to USB converter. You learn more technical details by reading the comments in the post.

Nintendo Switch: a hacker managed to run Linux!

To achieve this, the hacker seems to have analyzed in detail the operation of the Nintendo Switch's SoC Nvidia Tegra X1, before succeeding in installing Debian. The trick would come from a bootrom bug, which is rather good news, because it does not change whatever the firmware. This means that Nintendo will not be able to prevent others from using this technique or a variant to break the security of the console.

At the moment, there is no step-by-step guide to do the same thing at home – it's still just Linux… online orders. Nevertheless, this is already very promising as it seems that it will soon be possible to install alternative operating systems on Nintendo Switch. What to play games that were not intended for the console, not to mention other possibilities – after all why not imagine a dual boot through which one could either play normally or use its Switch as an extra computer?

???? #switch

— fail0verflow (@fail0verflow) February 6, 2018

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