The “General Principle of Relativity” being “All systems of reference are equivalent with respect to the formulation of the fundamental laws of physics”. To my knowledge, this is related historically to Einstein’s perception of Mach’s principle, a somewhat ill-defined conjecture that seems to postulate the relativity of all forms of motion.
I understand that this is related to the idea of “general covariance” although given the different names i assume they are not synonymous. Along with that, i have also heard that even Newtonian Mechanics can be represented in a Generally Covariant form mathematically, yet Newtonian Mechanics needs an external cause in a non-inertial reference frame to explain inertial forces, which seems to violate the general principle of relativity as stated above as this distinguishes a non-inertial frame for an inertial one.
Am i missing something here? Does general relativity really follow this idea that the laws of physics are the same in every frame of reference, or does it merely have general covariance in a a way similar to newtonian mechanics?