The developers of Asahi Linux have announced that the Linux distribution targeted to Apple Silicon CPUs now supports graphics acceleration natively. This is a major breakthrough for distro and Linux support on modern Apple hardware.
Asahi Linux brings 3D acceleration to Apple silicon
Asahi Linux announced support for 3D acceleration for Apple Silicon in an official blog post signed by developers Alyssa Rosenzweig and Asahi Lina, a VTuber who has attracted a following for livestreaming Asahi Linux development on YouTube.
“We’ve been working hard for the last two years to bring this new driver to everyone,” the blog post said, “and we’re really proud to be here.” It’s still an alpha driver, but it’s already pretty cool. For a smooth desktop experience and running some games.”
Porting Linux to different architectures is routine, with Asahi Lina being one of the first to do so with an audience, reaching over 12,000 viewers with his live streams on YouTube.
With what acceleration can Asahi Linux run?
While Apple Silicon graphics acceleration doesn’t work with some newer libraries, Asahi Linux can run some games like Quake 3 and Neverball. It can also take advantage of the acceleration features that Linux desktop environments use to make it look smoother and enable eye-candy-like transparency to work.
Asahi Linux currently supports OpenGL 2.1 and OpenGL ES 2.0 acceleration on Apple Silicon. The developers are working on adding support for later versions of OpenGL as well as Vulkan. This will open up new software on the distro for acceleration, including new games.
What does this mean for Asahi Linux?
The speed of development of Asahi Linux shows how flexible Linux is.
Developers cited the open-source nature of Linux as making it easy to port to new architectures. The blog post states, “Thanks to the power of free and open source software, we stand on the shoulders of the FOSS giants.”
While most Mac users, even developers, will be content to run macOS, Asahi will give Linux users an alternative to Apple’s OS. The developers’ work will also benefit other distributions in the future that make Apple Silicon ports.
Linux Development Speed With Asahi
Asahi Linux continues with its rapid pace. While many PC Linux users can dual-boot between Windows and Linux, the ability to do the same thing on a Mac is less well known. It is possible to dual-boot macOS and Linux on older Macs with the right know-how.
Whether you need a customizable operating system or a better environment for software development, you can have it by dual-booting Linux on your Mac. Linux is incredibly versatile (it’s used to run everything from smartphones to supercomputers), and you can install it on a MacBook, iMac, Mac mini, or any other type of Mac.
Apple added Boot Camp to macOS to make it easier for people to dual boot Windows, but installing Linux is another matter entirely. Follow the steps given below to know how to do this.
Why should you install Linux on Mac?
Your Mac delivers great performance, great battery life, and great durability. The hardware is hard to match on the Mac, which makes it an incredibly powerful machine to run Linux on.
What’s more, Linux breathes life into older Macs that are no longer eligible for macOS updates. Instead of letting your old Mac turn into an expensive paperweight, install the latest version of Linux and keep at it for years to come.
Ubuntu is our Linux distribution of choice
There are many different versions of Linux available, but for the purposes of this tutorial, we suggest installing Ubuntu on your Mac. Ubuntu is the best option for Linux newcomers. Because it’s so popular, there’s also a very active support community available if you ever need help.
To dual boot or not to dual boot
With a dual boot system, both macOS and Linux are installed on your Mac. You can just hold Option while your computer boots to choose which operating system to use. The main difference between a dual boot system and a virtual machine is that you can use only one OS at a time during dual-booting, but you get better performance.
If you never plan to use macOS again, you might want to switch to Linux entirely. This way, none of your storage is used by its system files. However, reinstalling macOS in the future is difficult and time-consuming if you ever change your mind. This is especially true because Linux writes to the macOS recovery partition.