Asahi Linux is a project by a developer community that has set itself the goal of getting Linux to work on Apple’s impressive M1 silicon. According to their September progress report (thanks Tom’s Hardware), the group has made significant strides on their mission by running Ahasi Linux natively as a simple Linux desktop on an Apple M1 Mac.
This is a big deal because Apple uses a number of proprietary technologies that won’t do you any good if you’re trying to run a non-macOS operating system on one of their computers. Some adventurous developers have been trying to open up Apple’s closed M1 ecosystem for a while, and Asahi Linux may have just cracked the code.
The M1 is Apple’s custom arm-based System on Chips (SoC) that was shown on Macs in 2020 after dumping Intel’s x86 silicon chip. The M1 is the most powerful chip Apple has ever made. So you can imagine why some people would run Linux and want to install Proton, for example, which would turn their Mac into a killer gaming PC.
This daunting feat was accomplished by merging (or reviewing) a number of drivers for Linux 5.16, including drivers for PCIe, USB-C PD, ASC Mailbox, etc. If you’re wondering if this is legal, don’t worry . As long as no code is taken from macOS to build Linux support, redistribution is legal.
“With these drivers, M1 Macs can be used as desktop Linux computers! GPU acceleration is not yet available, but the CPUs of the M1 are so powerful that a software-rendered desktop is actually faster on them than, for example, on Rockchip ARM64 computers with hardware acceleration. “wrote Hector” marcan “Martin, who leads Ashai Linux development.
Now that Linux is up and running, expect an official installer to download soon for anyone adventurous enough to try it out for themselves. Since some features are still missing, however, you tinker at your own risk.
“Remember, there are still many missing bits (USB3, TB, Camera, GPU, Audio, etc.) Don’t expect this to be anywhere near the polished experience that our project is aiming for. However, we hope this will allow those who are up to date to get a taste of how Linux runs on these machines. and for some this might be enough for production use. “
The next step for Asahi Linux is the GPU kernel interface as the current build lacks GPU acceleration. You can keep up to date with the team’s progress here, along with the GitHub page with all the tools and documents involved in the project.