Developers finally get Linux running on an Apple M1-powered Mac

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Asahi Linux Apple’s impressive M1 is a project by a community of developers dedicated to running Linux on silicon. according to this September progress report (Thank you Tom’s Hardware), the group has made significant progress in its mission, operating Ahsi Linux originally as a native Linux desktop on an Apple M1 Mac.

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

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The M1 is Apple’s custom Arm-based SoC that started appearing on Macs in 2020 after Intel ditched the x86 silicon chip. The M1 is Apple’s most powerful chip ever, so you can imagine why some people want to run Linux and, let’s say, install protonhandjob Which will turn their Mac into a killer gaming PC.

This huge feat was achieved by merging (or in review) a bunch of drivers for Linux 5.16, which include drivers for PCIe, USB-C PD, ASC mailbox, etc. If you’re wondering whether any of this is legal, don’t worry. As long as no code is taken from macOS to build Linux support, it is legal to distribute it.

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

Now that Linux is out there, hopefully an official installer will be made available for download soon enough for any adventurer to try it for themselves. Since there are still some features missing, though, tinker at your own risk.

“Remember, there are still many missing bits (USB3, TB, camera, GPU, audio, etc.) as well as a bit too problematic to bundle the patchset (WiFi, which requires significant rewriting), so don’ Don’t expect this to be anywhere near the polished experience our project aims for. That said, we hope it will allow people who want to get a taste for Linux running on these machines. are willing to—and, for some, this may be sufficient for production use.”

The next step up for Asahi Linux is running on the GPU kernel interface as its current build lacks GPU acceleration. You can stay updated on the progress of the team right here, with this GitHub Pages of all equipment and documents involved in the project.

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