Linux is now Usable As A Basic Desktop for M1 Macs, almost a year after the news about a project to port Linux to M1 Macs. Earlier in June Linux Kernel was available to Macs with Apple’s proprietary processor.
September progress reports for Asahi Linux suggest it is running better than ever. It does lack the GPU acceleration on M1 Macs as the team approached version 5.16 software. The team was able to accomplish the task of merging some drivers such as PCIe bindings, PCIe drive, and USB-C PD drive. While the Princtrl drive, I2C driver, ASC mailbox driver, IOMMU 4K patches, and Device Power Management are still in review.
The report further suggests, “On typical SoCs, drivers have intimate knowledge of the underlying hardware, and they hard-code its precise layout: how many registers, how many pins, how things relate to each other, etc. This is effectively a requirement for most SoCs, because hardware tends to vary quite a bit from generation to generation, so drivers always require changes to support newer hardware.”
“However, Apple is unique in putting emphasis in keeping hardware interfaces compatible across SoC generations – the UART hardware in the M1 dates back to the original iPhone! This means we are in a unique position to be able to try writing drivers that will not only work for the M1 but may work –unchanged– on future chips as well. This is a very exciting opportunity in the ARM64 world.”
The team suggested in the report it needs to wait for the M1X/M2 chips launch to make sure if they succeed in making enough drivers forwards-compatible to boot Linux on newer chips. Currently, though Linux on M1 Macs looks promising as the operating system gets faster in these machines, thanks to the new drivers:
You can read the entire report on how the progress of Linux on M1 Mac is going, here.