Asahi Linux is the first Linux distribution to support Apple Silicon

Asahi Linux for Apple Silicon has spear for the public. It is the first Linux distribution to offer native support for the Apple M1 chips. As this is an alpha release, please be aware of the likelihood of easily encountering bugs and some important missing features. However, with this critical milestone now passed, “things will go even faster in the future,” promises the Asahi Linux development team.

Asahi is not just a beer. It’s the Japanese word for ‘morning sun’, so it’s a fitting name for a pioneering Linux distribution for M1-powered Apple Macs. “We are really excited to finally take this step and start bringing Linux on Apple Silicon to everyone,” the development team wrote in a blog post. It is important to note that installing Asahi Linux on your Mac does not require a jailbroken device. Also, it won’t affect the security level of your macOS installation, so Mac features like FileVault, running iOS apps, and watching Netflix in 4K can continue.

Although the team has shared a list of system requirements, an installation guide, and a list of (in)compatible features, this alpha release is primarily intended “for developers and power users.” In other words, “expect things to be a little rough,” the developers candidly admit.

To use Asahi Linux Alpha today, you need an M1, M1 Pro, or M1 Max machine (Mac Studio excluded) with MacOS 12.3 or later, and at least 53 GB of free space for it. office setup. After running the installer – which will guide you through tasks such as resizing your macOS partition (if necessary) and installing your new operating system – you will have access to the Asahi Linux desktop. The description is a “custom remix of Arch Linux ARM that comes with a full Plasma desktop and all the basic packages to get you started with a desktop environment.” Plus, it includes a setup wizard to get your system ready. There are also installation options for a minimal Asahi Linux environment and a UEFI-only environment (so you can boot an OS installer from a USB-connected drive). By default, the installer sets up dual boot mode so you can switch back to macOS as you wish.

Naturally, and given a big red flag by the developers, there are some significant wrinkles with Asahi Linux Alpha. There are a lot of Mac I/O and hardware features that don’t work yet, and the most important of these are:

  • Display Port
  • Thunderbolt
  • HDMI on MacBooks
  • Bluetooth
  • GPU acceleration
  • Video codec acceleration
  • neural engine
  • Deep CPU Idle
  • Standby
  • Camera
  • Touch bar

However, the above is weighed against the excellent work of the developers to make this Linux distribution work with support for essentials such as Wi-Fi, USB, NVMe, screen, power supply, keyboard, Ethernet (computers desktop), battery information, etc.

Some applications also have difficulties with this alpha version of the operating system. For example, Chromium does not work and Emacs has problems. However, a patch is already in the works and other applications using jemalloc and libunwind will not work properly in this initial Alpha release.

For more information on Asahi Linux Alpha, installation notes and FAQ, please visit the linked blog post, from which you will find lots of help and further reading. It is also worth following the official Asahi Linux Twitter accountwhich will keep you up to date with all fixes and features as they are released.

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Steven L. Nielsen