Developers finally get Linux to work on an Apple M1 powered Mac

Asahi Linux is a project of a community of developers dedicated to running Linux on Apple’s awesome M1 silicon. According to his September Progress Report (Thank you Tom’s gear), the group has made significant progress in their mission by running Ahasi Linux natively as a basic Linux desktop on an Apple M1 Mac.

This is a big deal because Apple uses a bunch of proprietary technology that doesn’t work well with you if you’re trying to run an operating system that isn’t macOS on one of its computers. Some adventurous developers have been trying to open up Apple’s closed M1 ecosystem for some time, and Asahi Linux may have just cracked the code.

The M1 is Apple’s custom Arm-based SoC (system-on-chip) that began appearing on Macs in 2020 after it ditched Intel’s x86 silicon chip. The M1 is the most powerful chip Apple has ever made, so you can imagine why some people might want to run Linux and, say, install Proton, that would turn their Mac into a killer gaming PC.

This huge feat was achieved by merging (or revising) a driver set for Linux 5.16, which includes drivers for PCIe, USB-C PD, ASC mailbox, and more. If you are wondering if this is all legal, don’t worry. As long as no code is extracted from macOS to support Linux, its distribution is legal.

“With these drivers, the M1 Macs are usable as desktop Linux machines! Although there is no GPU acceleration yet, the M1’s processors are so powerful that a software-rendered desktop is actually faster on them than on, for example, Rockchip ARM64 machines with hardware acceleration. “wrote Hector” marcan “Martin, who heads the development of Ashai Linux.

Now that Linux is up and running, expect to soon see an official installer available for download for anyone who is adventurous enough to try it out for themselves. As a few features are still missing, tinker with at your own risk.

“Remember that there are still a lot of bits missing (USB3, TB, camera, GPU, audio, etc.) don’t expect this to come close to the refined experience that is the goal of that said, we hope this will give those who want to be at the cutting edge of technology to get a taste of what running Linux looks like on these machines – and, for some, it might. sufficient for use in production. “

The next step for Asahi Linux is to support the GPU kernel interface, as its current version lacks GPU acceleration. You can keep up to date with the team’s progress here, with the GitHub page of all the tools and documents involved in the project.

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Steven L. Nielsen

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