back to article Progress report: Asahi Linux brings forth a usable basic desktop on Apple's M1

Efforts to bring Linux to Apple Silicon have resulted in a basic functional desktop, according to the Asahi Linux team. The project kicked off in earnest with a lengthy blog post earlier this year detailing the challenges involved in getting the OS onto Apple's latest and greatest. Since then Apple M1 support has been sidling …

  1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Looks interesting

    Has there been any comment from Apple people? It would be useful to know if they were supportive, hostile or just MEH

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Looks interesting

      I predict that they'll remain silent and feign total disinterest.

      Then, if at some point a fully working version gains traction and has the potential to dent app store revenue, they'll sue everyone involved and their families and dogs too.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Looks interesting

        Why would Apple be against it? It doesn't cost them App Store revenue because the store on the Mac is as ignored as the one on Windows.

        If anyone buys a Mac with the intention of running Linux on it, that's one more Mac sale than there would have been otherwise, so I have trouble imagining why they would do anything to hold this up. They aren't helping, because that's work and the number of sales they can expect from people wanting to run Linux is probably a few thousand at best so it isn't worth their time to support. But they'll take the revenue so long as someone else does the hard work of making Linux drivers for Mac hardware.

        1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

          Re: Looks interesting

          If anyone buys a Mac with the intention of running Linux on it, that's one more Mac sale than there would have been otherwise, so I have trouble imagining why they would do anything to hold this up.

          I thought that the point of buying a Mac is...well, because it's a Mac. If you want something that gives you the Linux experience, then that can be achieved on much more affordable hardware.

          Much of the Mac's appeal, for Apple's target market. is more aesthetic...and I don't see much cross-over between the "I like the shiny shiny" Mac crowd and the "I like the techy techy" Linux crowd.

          While this looks like an interesting project from a technical and intellectual viewpoint, I'm struggling to see what real world problem it's trying to solve

          1. Admiral Grace Hopper

            Re: Looks interesting

            Precisely so.

            My home setup is a healthy mix of Fruit and Penguins. Linux, because that's what I use professionally, Mac to run commercial software that doesn't have a Linux version. I used to get a steady supply of Linux platforms from Windows machines that were too old to run the current version of Windows, but since starting to use Apple their updates keep the machines running for much longer, to the point I have had to buy a Dell laptop for the specific purpose of loading Mint as there wasn't donor machine coming down the line any time soon. Would I load Linux on a Mac? I can't see why not, but why bother when there's a perfectly cromulent OS running on it already?

          2. DS999 Silver badge

            Why you'd buy a Mac to run Linux today

            1) it is BY FAR the highest performing ARM laptop or desktop available

            2) it is easily the highest performing laptop or desktop of any type available that is either fanless or has a fan that almost never runs

            That's today. If tomorrow competitive ARM alternatives (or more power efficient while still as high performing) x86 alternatives come to market, there would be less interest in this Linux porting project.

          3. Robert Grant

            Re: Looks interesting

            Best to not think there's only one point of buying a Mac. Then things will stop being confusing, although you trade this for the discomfort that comes from not oversimplifying.

        2. Tessier-Ashpool

          Re: Looks interesting

          I can think of one reason Apple might be against it; brand recognition. Just look at the efforts they go to on iGadgets to run Apple-approved apps.

          Frankly I’m surprised Apple ever provided BootCamp on earlier Macs. And just as surprised that they don’t have the ARM Macs locked down hard to prevent any OS installation other than one signed by Apple.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Looks interesting

      For now, they appear not to care. They've made it clear that they're not helping with driver support (Linux or Windows) or releasing the docs they already have. Neither have they been that active at blocking this from working. If at some point they're no longer happy with people running something other than Mac OS on their hardware, I have no doubt they'll release new firmware which breaks everything. Also, when they have new processors, it's almost certain they will have firmware changes which, intentionally or not, means this project has to start again for most components.

      1. Dave 126

        Re: Looks interesting

        One of the senior Apple execs said at launch that they weren't against Windows on M1 Macs, but gave impression it wasn't a priority for them. From this I infer Apple aren't bothered by Linux for M1.

        1. Matthew Elvey

          Re: Looks interesting

          Remember when Microsoft owned 10% of Apple? (Proof/TNW story you're skeptical)

          (No longer.)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Looks interesting

      Still not UNIX and MacOS is UNIX.

  2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    "not great, but usable"

    Gosh! I don't think I've seen that since the early 1980's ...

    MSDOS, CP/M and RSX11m were always quite easy to use and very efficient, OK so I couldn't post on social media while I was creating corporate documentation ... no wait, I could have done that on RSX11m by just putting two VT-100 terminals on my desktop. Back in those days systems were built to be usable, it wasn't always easy but it worked., ha ha ha.

  3. G.Y.


    Any chance of running it as a virtual machine under a Mac virtualizer?

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: virtual

      You should ask the dudes at Asahi.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Very encouraging

    I'll wait until the GPU drivers are done before installing it (I prefer my bleeding edge to be bandaged) but I'm really happy that this work is being done.

    Well done Asahi team.

    1. Matthew Elvey

      Re: Very encouraging

      Bandaged? Have you experienced the performance? It's more like a bionic upgrade than a bandage. And costs a lot less than Steve Austin's.


    You were so preoccupied with whether you could you didn't stop to think whether you...


  6. Omidia

    Why doesn’t apple just provide drivers and call it a day. They would be revered for it, and they still wouldn’t be doing the hard work.

    It boggles the mind.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Linux users buying a Mac?

    For any that do, welcome to the idiot taxpayers club

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