With Linux 5.15, the kernel improved support for the Apple M1. To refresh the memory a bit for those who do not remember or have been clueless, Tim Cook presented a little more than a year ago his first processor for computers, one they called M1 and that has ARM architecture. For that reason, the developers have had to work a little more to make their software compatible with the new hardware component of the apple.
What did not work on the new Macs was Linux, and not only that, since Windows was another operating system that could not be run even in a virtual machine. But with the passage of time the support is arriving, and Linux can now be run on computers with the M1 Apple… sort of. It can be used in a similar way that we can run some versions of Android on a Raspberry Pi: it works, things can be done, but for example there is no hardware acceleration.
Linux on M1 Macs works without hardware acceleration
The project that has been working on it for months is Asahi Linux, and they have already talked about their intentions in emails sent between kernel developers. Now, the word used to define how Linux works on a Mac with M1 is "usable", which means that it can be used. But not that it is perfect, since the no acceleration via the GPU It will, for example, make it impossible to watch videos or play video games smoothly. Or in the case of videos, it will simply look worse.
Asahi Linux has managed to put the necessary drivers in Linux 5.16, among which are PCIe, USB-C, Pinctrl, the power manager or the screen control:
“With these drivers, M1 Macs are really usable as Linux desktop machines. Although there is no GPU acceleration yet, the M1's CPUs are so powerful that a software-rendered desktop is actually faster on them than on, for example, hardware-accelerated Rockchip ARM64 machines. "
The problem or challenge is getting hardware acceleration to work in Apple's SoC using a proprietary GPU. Developers have to create a new driver from scratch, and that will take time. The next thing will be to launch a complete installer, something that only community members have access to at the moment.
According to many developers, and I agree, the future is ARMSo it's good news that software developers are working to improve support. When it is standardized, something that we do not know when will happen but it will happen, everything will be 100% supported and we will all win.