Apple hasn’t made it easy for other operating systems to work natively on their new Macs with the M1 chip, but it’s been a long time since the Asahi Linux project tries to make the Linux operating system installable and usable as is already done in conventional PCs based on various architectures.
Now those responsible say that their latest advances have paid off and it is now possible to have “a basic usable desktop”. Although GPU acceleration is not possible at the moment, the M1 chip is so fast that it doesn’t seem to matter as much. And this is just the beginning.
The M1s are so fast that hardware acceleration doesn’t matter that much for basic use
In their latest (and extensive) progress report, those responsible highlight how it is already possible to use a Linux system in a basic way on newer Apple Macs with the M1 chip.
They have already developed and integrated various drivers such as those of PCIe, or or USB-C ports with Power Delivery in Linux 5.16 kernel, and have also completed I2 controller support, power management, NVMe + SART controller for storage devices and DCP (for monitors) .
Hector Martín, project leader, explained that “with these drivers the M1 Macs are actually usable as Linux Desktop machines. Although there is no GPU acceleration yet, the M1 CPUs are so powerful that the software-rendered desktop is actually faster in them, for example, in machines with Rockchip’s ARM64 chips that do have hardware acceleration “, something confirmed by Alyssa Rosenzweig, another of the people in charge of the project’s progress.
Everything just happens… instantly? What?
Computers haven’t felt this fast since before I was born.
— Alyssa Rosenzweig (@alyssarzg) September 29, 2021
At the moment there is no installer as such to replicate that milestone, but in an interview with The Register Martín stated that “once we have a stable foundation for the kernel, we will begin to publish an ‘official’ installer with which we hope to see more use among adventurers.”
As we remembered months ago, the project is being paid for with the contributions of users, who can participate by supporting these efforts via Patreon.
Via | Tom’s Hardware