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Linux on Apple M1 silicon is right around the corner

MacBook Pro with Asahi Linux logo
(Image credit: Asahi Linux)

Preliminary support for Apple M1-powered devices could potentially land in the next version of the Linux kernel, v5.13.

The efforts are spearheaded by Hector Martin’s crowdfunded Asahi Linux project. From the get-go, Martin’s objective has been to upstream his work to the mainline kernel for wider reach. He’s just submitted the final set of changes that’ll get the Linux kernel to boot on the M1-based devices.

“Finally! It's been a long time coming, but it's done! This is just basic bring-up, but it lays a solid foundation and is probably the most challenging upstreaming step we'll have to do, at least until the GPU stuff is done,” shared Martin on Twitter.

Just getting started

Martin’s initial Apple M1 support, centered around the M1 Mac Mini for now, is part of ARM SoC/platform changes planned for the Linux 5.13 merge window that should open up towards the end of April. 

Martin’s a prolific Linux porter and has been sending in his work to the kernel ever since he began working on the Apple Silicon port earlier this year in January.

The task of porting an operating system as complex as Linux to a system-on-a-chip (SoC) as closed as the Apple Silicon is a long winded process. In addition to the development work, Martin has been documenting details about the closed hardware as he learns them.

While turning in the pull request, Martin notes that the initial Apple M1 Linux port only offers basic functionality. Getting Linux to work flawlessly on the Apple M1 will likely take some time, with the SoC’s graphics being the biggest hurdle.

If you are looking for a quick and dirty way to get to a graphical Linux desktop on the M1, take a look at security startup Corellium’s work to get to a working Ubuntu desktop on top of the M1.

Meanwhile, unless Linus Torvalds, the kernel's head-honcho, thinks otherwise, the Linux kernel will officially be able to boot on Apple M1 within a handful of weeks. 

Via: The Register