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Linux on Apple Silicon Gets Major GPU Driver Update

Big developments in Asahi Linux land as the project issues its first conformant OpenGL ES 3.1 driver for Macs powered by Apple silicon.

This driver drop is a major step forward for gaming on Linux on Macs1 equipped with Apple’s M-series SoCs, as well as for all other apps and workloads leveraging the standards-based OpenGL API.

“Conformant” drivers meet industry standards, and have been tested to handle a wide variety of applications and games. Khronos, the organization that oversees OpenGL standards, has certified this driver too — a bona-fide seal of approval.

“Achieving conformance is a win for our community, for open source, and for open graphics,” writes developer Alyssa Rosenzweig in a (thorough and recommended reading) blog post.

Incidentally, Apple’s own GPU drivers aren’t conformant for any standards-based graphics API, including OpenGL ES — making Asahi’s achievement all the more remarkable.

Early-birds testing Asahi Linux on Apple silicon can look forward to all-round improvement in performance when using graphics-intensive apps and playing games.

And the best bit: there’s no waiting!

Asahi Linux users can upgrade their system to automatically pull-in these spiffy new drivers and start using them.

But now I need to interrupt this good news to get something off my chest…

Asahi Why?

Whenever I cover Asahi Linux here (and on omgubuntu) some commenters will — well meaning, no doubt — question “why” the effort exists.

To them, reverse-engineering and retro-fitting Linux onto (expensive if best-in-class) hardware that doesn’t natively support it (or make it easy to support it) seems…


But honestly: the history of Linux is rooted in getting it to run on things it doesn’t already run on. So making Linux support swanky Apple hardware is every-bit as “worthy” an endeavour as efforts to support MIPS, SPARC, RISC-V and others.

So to those aggrieved that this effort exists: don’t be — the more things Linux runs on, the more choice we collectively have in our computing experiences.

*table thump*

via MacRumors

1 I had to re-read that line a few times myself!