Linux now officially supports Apple silicon.
Well, kind of.
See, the latest Linux 6.2 kernel release is the first version to ship with a hefty chunk of mainline support for devices powered by the Apple M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra chips.
“Mainline” is an important qualifier here as it’s been possible to run custom Linux kernel builds on Apple silicon for a while, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Asahi Linux project.
But though this is a notable first step, Linux Apple silicon support remains a work in progress.
Not all devices using M-series chips are supported by Linux 6.2, and a sizeable set of core features lack anything but rudimentary support, or in some cases, like speakers & touchpads, absolutely no support at all.
Yet this formative arrival in mainline Linux is significant milestone for Linux on Apple silicon.
That Linux is able to run at all on Apple’s new-fangled hardware is testament to the kernel’s adaptability and to the ingenuity and talent of Linux developers and the Asahi Linux project.
After all, Apple doesn’t directly support, document, or provide drivers to let alternative operating system run on its hardware. All of this effort is after-the-fact.
When the kernel carries support directly users won’t (technically) need to use Asahi Linux to run Linux on M1 computers in the future.
However the reality isn’t quite so simple — not yet.
For the moment, using an Asahi Linux build remains the only real way to get a practical, usable Linux experience on Applie Silicon. But these improvements are being upstreamed and will, in time, benefit all Linux distros.
Plus, with growing support from app makers for Linux on ARM in general, and hints that some major Linux distributions are prepping Apple Silicon builds, the viability of Linux on these devices is only set to improve over the coming year.